Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Long Read: Tools Of The System

Bernie Sanders supporters do not come off looking very credible in this Buzzfeed News article from Evan McMorris-Santoro about the conspiracy theories some of them have involving Black Lives Matter activists, when the reality is a lot more easily explained.

At a recent Bernie Sanders event, Dave, a white fiftysomething in a Grateful Dead hat, offered an explanation for Black Lives Matter, the activist group that had interrupted Sanders just hours earlier in Seattle.

They weren’t activists. They were “agent provocateurs,” Dave said, sent by the Democratic establishment to quash the Vermont socialist’s message.

His mother, who was standing next to him across the temporary fence separating the press from the crowd at a large Sanders rally on the University of Washington campus, interrupted. “He’s a conspiracy theorist,” she said.

He’s not the only one. The conspiracy theories are hiding in plain sight at Sanders’ giant rallies. The crowds are mostly white and mostly frustrated by the confrontations with black activists some Sanders supporters say are doing nothing but tearing down the only candidate who truly believes in the Black Lives Matter cause. But some of Sanders’ backers even take it a step further. Online and in person, this set of white Sanders fans wonder aloud if there’s some outside force causing the protest movement to target the senator. 
The basic mythology is that someone — maybe frontrunner Hillary Clinton, maybe the Republicans, maybe her billionaire backers, maybe even the FBI — is using Black Lives Matter to tear Sanders down, to diminish an insurgent candidacy that, the supporters say, is viewed as a real threat by the establishment.

It's a ridiculous notion, but there you have it.  And the great thing is that the conspiracy itself is tailor-made to split the Obama coalition and help the GOP win in 2016.  It's amazing how obvious that is to any objective observer, but hey, it's not like this kind of nonsense didn't happen before.

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