Something -- we cannot say what -- inside certain corners of the ostensibly progressive and overwhelmingly white ranks of Sanders voters is amiss. There is a pattern -- demonstrated time and time again -- by both Sanders and some Sanders supporters of racial cluelessness, an infantilizing and almost colonial kind of condescension about policy, and a tendency to react to anyone who points that out by, well, supplying even more evidence of racial tone-deafness, self-ordained intellectual superiority and sometimes completely open displays of various forms of outright bigotry.
That's right. We said it. In trying to make their case, Sanders, and far more often some subset of his supporters, behave in ways that are difficult to square with their claims to progressive politics and building a more inclusive and egalitarian society.
One final note before we get to a few examples of the behavior characterized above: The portion of Sanders supporters who read the paragraphs above and began to compose their tweets, emails and below-story comments, we are aware of that Intercept piece that argues that the "Berniebro" and his alleged public misbehavior is media-generated fiction.
But the emails, Twitter messages and comments I have received tell a different story. They use a variety of curse words and insults typically reserved for women. More than one has suggested that I deserve to become the victim of a sex crime. They critique the "objectivity" of what is clearly political analysis based on polling data and other facts; they insist that black voters are dumb or that I have a personal obligation to help black voters see the error of their Clinton-voting ways. It is vile. And it stands in sharp contrast to the claim that no portion of Sanders supporters are angry people who sometimes engage in or embrace bigotry.
We could print the emails. But those of you who sent them know who you are and the horrendous things said. We doubt that this would do much for your progressive street cred.
And it's important here to note that this kind of thing was happening long before Bernie's 2016 run and that it's not endemic to him, and it's what has bothered me about the "progressive" movement in America for a long time.
There's a group of mostly white progressives who really do have awful misconceptions about black and Latino Democrats in this country, that we're stupid and will pull the lever for any D no matter how vile, that we're not really liberal at all, that we're anti-LGBT bigots who despise atheists, and that we're really the unwashed masses in the Democratic party and have to have a white liberal savior to lead us, who knows better.
None of that is true, but the people who perpetuate the monolith of the dumb black voter who needs the smart white guy to organize them got a nasty wake-up call in 2008 when Obama came along. They've hated him ever since. Clinton was acceptable to them in 2008. Now it's Bernie. These folks were obnoxious eight years ago and even more annoying now.
So yes, there are racist assholes on the left, the folks searching for the new Great White Hope and while the vast majority are hanging out with Trump and friends, some are in Bernie's camp (and a few Hillary fans to boot).
This does happen, and it's good to be reminded of the damage they can cause. Look no further than the obscene, punishing response to this article.