The Smears Against Bernie Must Be Stopped — Here’s How to Do It

A rapid response guide to 28 classic anti-Bernie smears.

This is a handy guide to beating back the ridiculous and vile smears that are being leveled at Bernie Sanders, and in particular those that may compare him to Joe Biden.

*UPDATED: February 25, 2020

This is a handy guide to beating back the ridiculous and vile smears that are being leveled at Bernie Sanders, and in particular those that may compare him to Joe Biden.

Contents hide

Smear #1: “Bernie is just a bad person.”

It must be noted that many centrists, like so many diehard Hillary fans, is deeply mired in the muck of Neoliberal-fuelled Identity Politics. Roy himself essentially admits this in his latest fusillade of baseless ad hominem trash bombs:

“I’m just sick of Bernie. This isn’t because of policy disagreements, or lingering bitterness from the primary. I just think he’s a thoroughly awful man.”

After such an introduction, I honestly don’t know why anyone would read further, but then I, like most Bernie supporters, reject any argument based solely on Identity Politics in favor of a more comprehensive view that Identity and Class are inextricably linked, and that Economic Justice is the pathway to Social Justice.

Nonetheless, the defenders of the Establishment and Hillary Clinton always use personal smears when “punching left.” They dare not oppose Bernie or any other real progressive on policy, because that would expose their own corruption. Yes, Hillary did literally shout that Single Payer would “never, EVER happen” and yes, that did put her at odds with 81% of Democrats (not to mention FDR, Truman, etc.), but this is something that most establishment Democrats will not want to bring up when attacking Bernie. They prefer to attack Single Payer on the basis of “I support it in theory but it is just not practical or affordable now” (translation: “The Republicans won’t let us.”).

Clinton supporters had almost a cult-like fixation on Hillary as a person, her CV, her personal story, the religious belief that she was indeed “the most qualified candidate ever to run for President.” It was and remains all about HER.

Hillary supporters thus think that they can nullify the progressive revolt they face by denigrating what they consider to be its “leader”. Get rid of Bernie, they think, and the movement for change and reform within the Democratic Party will wither and die.

They are wrong.

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Smear #2: “You think you know the truth about Bernie, but you don’t”

“Gaslighting” is the process by which politicians and/or the media try to influence public opinion by convincing people that what they think they know isn’t really correct.
In other words, gaslighting is the political equivalent of the old Marx Brother wag, “who you gonna trust, me or your own eyes?

In attacking Bernie as a “bad person” we are being asked to reject decades of given thought and opinion. We are being asked to mistrust our own evaluation of the man, and we are being asked to believe that the voters of Vermont are completely ignorant about the man who was mayor of their largest city for 8 years and has served them in Congress since 1990.
Bernie’s popularity in his home state is simply unprecedented. In the 2006 Senate election, which was the most expensive in Vermont’s history, Bernie defeated his Republican opponent by 33%. He then won re-election in 2012 with an astounding 71% of the vote. Bernie has repeatedly won the title of “America’s Most Popular Senator” and in a 2015 Morning Consult Poll he was found to have an astonishing 83% approval rating by his constituents in Vermont.

Anti-Bernie gaslighters would have us believe, however, that the people of Vermont are either stupid, naive, or ignorant — or all three. They attack him not only ad hominem as a “bad person” disliked by his Congressional colleagues, but also as an ineffective legislator who has never accomplished anything. In other words, they say his sky-high popularity with Vermonters is based on nothing.

Again, they are wrong.

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Smear #3: “Bernie is insufferably self-righteous, with nothing to back it up”

This argument is dual pronged, and meant to depict Bernie as someone whose “holier-than-thou” attitude has alienated him from other members and made him completely ineffective in passing legislation.

First, let’s tackle the cynical claim that Bernie is too self-righteous. This attack is actually an analogue to the general argument being levelled against Progressives by establishment Democrats, namely that insisting on “purity” is counterproductive, alienates “potential allies”” and will lead to legislative losses.

Let’s be clear: this argument about “purity” is really about corruption. Bernie and his Progressive base oppose taking money from Wall Street, Corporate America and billionaires. People like Mayor Pete Buttigeig maintain that this is part of the game, and by adopting a “holier than thou” attitude towards this systemic corruption we are putting Democrats at a disadvantage, or as Tom Perez said, “you don’t bring a spoon to a knife fight.”

Obviously people like Buttigeig and Perez fail to realize that when you have two sides fighting with knives, the only real winner is the guy who sells them the knives.
I would also mention that this argument was completely debunked when Hillary Clinton outspent Trump literally 2 to 1 and still lost.

But let us look at the examples they give of Bernie’s “fellow Congressmen” claiming that he was unable to get anything done because people didn’t like his purist attitude.
Many Sanders detractors like to point to Congressman Barney Frank, who was a rabid Hillary supporter in 2016 and a major critic of Bernie’s anti-corruption stance.

From Roy Delfino’s Medium piece:

Said Rep. Barney Frank, in ’91: “Bernie alienates his natural allies. His holier-than-thou attitude — saying in a very loud voice he is smarter than everyone else and purer than everyone else — really undercuts his effectiveness.”

From Frank’s 2016 interview with Slate:

“Bernie Sanders has been in Congress for 25 years with little to show for it in terms of his accomplishments and that’s because of the role he stakes out.”

But the idea that Bernie is disliked among his colleagues is pure bunk and is belied by the fact that Bernie was indeed a highly effective legislator and one who was able to work not just with Democrats but also Republicans.

I will “back up” this claim in the following section.

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Smear #4: “Bernie was not an effective legislator and he never accomplished anything in Congress”

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. As explained in this article in AlterNet, and even confirmed here in PolitFact, Bernie was known as the “Amendment King” in Congress.

People who do not understand how Congress works may tend to downplay the importance of Amendments. This is wrong. Just ask any abortion rights activist what they think about The Hyde Amendment.

Moreover, what the AlterNet article makes clear is that Sanders managed to pass very progressive Amendments that helped working families and the poor, and he did so in a Republican controlled Congress.

This last fact is also important, because one of the biggest attack lines against Bernie is that he cannot work “across the aisle” to garner GOP support for his issues. As both the AlterNet and PolitiFact articles point out, Bernie was extremely effective at rallying bipartisan support for progressive legislation.

Sanders did something particularly original, which was that he passed amendments that were exclusively progressive, advancing goals such as reducing poverty and helping the environment, and he was able to get bipartisan coalitions of Republicans who wanted to shrink government or hold it accountable and progressives who wanted to use it to empower Americans.

OK  -Some Examples

If someone presses you for a concrete example of actual bills passed, feel free to point them to this page on Bernie’s website:

There you will see some concrete examples such as this one:

Screen shot from Bernie’s Senate website.

There are several others to be found on that web site.

Another good example is this one, which was taken from a town hall in West Virginia, and shows Bernie’s popularity in “Trump Country”:

“I’d never dreamed I’d get a chance to thank you personally for the bill that you cosponsored,” a retired coal miner told Sanders on Monday during a televised town hall event hosted by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.

The coal miner was referencing the Miners Protection Act, a bill introduced by Sanders, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and 24 other lawmakers from both parties. The bill would shore up health benefits for over 12,000 retired mine workers whose benefits are set to run out at the end of April. It would also help save their flagging pension plans.

And here is first person testimony from Robert Reich:

The Origin of this Smear

So where does this “holier-than-thou” smear come from? Well, let’s take a closer look at Barney Frank, the powerful Chair of the House Banking Committee, who was instrumental in designing the Dodd-Frank financial regulations bill that bears his name. He is also one of the most vocal proponents of the “Bernie was isolated and ineffective” smear campaign.

Here is a 2012 quote from Barney Frank that you will NOT find in an article in which he attacks Bernie for insisting on so-called “purity”:

“People say, ‘Oh, it doesn’t have any effect on me,’” [Frank] says. “Well if that were the case, we’d be the only human beings in the history of the world who on a regular basis took significant amounts of money from perfect strangers and made sure that it had no effect on our behavior.” — Barney Frank to NPR

Immediately upon retirement from Congress, Barney Frank was given a cushy job on the Board of Directors of a $24 billion Wall Street Bank. This seems strange, when we are always told how strict and “tough” Dodd-Frank supposedly was on the banks, and what a great piece of “progressive” legislation it was.

In reality, Dodd-Frank was a watered-down bill that did nothing to reduce the size of the banks or keep them from posing a renewed danger to the world economy. Passing such faux-reforms is what gets a Congressman a seat on a Board of Directors once they leave what they cynically refer to as “public service.”

Suffice it to say, when people like Barney Frank criticize Bernie Sanders for being “holier-than-thou” about money in politics, there is a very good reason for them to do so.

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Smear #4-A: “Bernie only passed Amendments and no real bills”

This is a follow on or come-back smear that ignores the oligarchic reality of Congress and the bills that are passed there.

First, someone who makes this argument has little knowledge of (1) how Congress works, and (2) for whom it works.

First, let’s look at how congress actually works, and what kinds of bills are passed. A recent Princeton study found that the political priorities and goals of ordinary Americans have NO impact on what Congress does, and what bills they pass.


The only direct correlation they found was that the ruling elite regularly had their policy priorities reflected in legislation, and that the extent to which those preferences were reflected in laws was directly proportional to how rich they were.

What does this mean?

This means that the bills that get passed through Congress are designed to benefit the very wealthy and the Corporations. They are NOT written to benefit average citizens.

So anyone who is “successful” at getting bills through Congress should immediately be suspect. Because the Princeton and other studies prove that such “success” is only in doing the bidding of wealthy donors and the Corporate Elite. Unlike Bernie Sanders, they are NOT doing what will help the 99% of Americans.

How does Bernie do it?

Bernie has been called the Amendment King because he is very adept at writing progressive legislation that actually helps working people, and then tacking that legislation onto a bill as it goes through Congress.

As Politifact stated:

Out of 419 amendments Sanders sponsored over his 25 years in Congress, 90 passed, 21 of them by roll call votes. Here’s a breakdown (bold indicates Republican Congresses):

Alternet also published a piece that analyzed Bernie’s success in getting things accomplished for working people amid the bills passed to benefit the top 1%.


From the above article:

Amendments in the House of Representatives are often seen as secondary vehicles to legislation that individual members sponsor, but they are an important way to move resources and build bipartisan coalitions to change the direction of the law. Despite the fact that the most right-wing Republicans in a generation controlled the House of Representatives between 1994 and 2006, the member who passed the most amendments during that time was not a right-winger like Bob Barr or John Boehner. The amendment king was, instead, Bernie Sanders.

So there you have it.

  1. Amendments are critically important to getting progressive legislation through a Congress that is by design set up to cater only to the priorities of the rich and powerful, and
  2. Bernie is the Amendment King.


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Smear #5: “Bernie is a hypocrite”

There are several attacks of this genre. Let’s address them one by one:

“Bernie railed against superdelegates, but then tried to court their votes”

This argument is almost too stupid to bother rebutting. Superdelegates were always a part of the Democratic Primary process, but SDs don‘t get to cast their vote until the Convention. What Bernie and his supporters “railed against” were what they perceived to be two unfair circumstances:

The vast majority of superdelegates had declared for Hillary before Bernie had even announced his candidacy;
The media continuously counted the presumed (but unconfirmed) superdelegate count in all their reporting on the state of the race.

Bernie, like many in the Democratic Party, does not support the idea of superdelegates, but no one was ever suggesting that the superdelegates were not going to be part of the primary process. Bernie was simply calling for a bit of fairness to be applied to how the superdelegates acted, and how they were treated in the media.

As the race wore on, Bernie then tried to exhort the superdelegates to:

  • Vote for the candidate who stood the best chance against Trump, which he believed himself to be, and which is the stated purpose and raison d’être for superdelegates in the first place;
  • At the very least, vote in accordance with the majority of the Primary participants in their State — which should already be policy for a Party that calls itself “democratic”.

These are not unreasonable requests, and cannot be construed as a reversal of position or a cynical backtracking or betrayal. It is called “campaigning.”

“Bernie attacked others for having a SuperPAC, but then took PAC money himself”

These PAC attacks refer to National Nurses United, the nation’s largest nurses union, with over 155,000 members. The union has a SuperPAC, called Fund for a Healthy America, whose express mission is to support candidates who promote “Medicare for All” and “Holding Wall Street accountable” (you can read their full mission objectives here).

In addition to Bernie Sanders, the NNU PAC during the 2016/16 cycle contributed to 16 other candidates, as well as other Democratic causes and organisations, including a $1,000,000 donation to the Senate Majority Fund. They even gave to the Democratic Party in Illinois and Nevada, as well as Democrat-led campaigns such as Million Hoodies, Reclaim Chicago and Color of Change.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the NNU PAC does not take money from millionaires or from corporations or industry groups. The PAC is 100% funded by the nurses themselves. Obviously this makes it a very different animal from the “Ready for Hillary” PAC or the “Hillary Victory Fund,” which took in money almost exclusively from corporations, industry groups and especially from wealthy millionaires and billionaires.

“Bernie is a hypocrite because he won’t release his tax returns”

This one really is too silly to answer. I will simply say that Bernie did release tax returns in April 2016 and they showed he made just $205,000 in income.
I never understood this line of attack. All Bernie’s official Senate disclosures and other financial records shows him to be one of the poorest people in Congress, with a Net Worth equal to about 10% that of the average US Senator. I mean, what do they hope to find?

Also, he could not even be a hypocrite in this case because he never called for Hillary to release her tax returns.

I think it is also important to know why the Clinton campaign started calling for the returns — it was a direct response to the Sanders campaign calling on Hillary to release the transcripts of her speeches to the Wall Street banks. During 2012 to 2014, Hillary Clinton made $13 MILLION giving speeches to Goldman Sachs and other banks. Bernie called on her to release the transcripts. Clinton refused, and that’s when her campaign started demanding to see the Sanders’s tax returns.

As if it were somehow justified to compare asking about $13,000,000 in services rendered with demanding to see how Bernie spent his $205,000 a year.

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Smear #6: “ Bernie ran a negative campaign in 2016 and attacked Hillary unfairly”

This accusation actually makes me angry. Again, this accusation takes many forms, so I will deal with these one by one as well.

“Bernie retreated from his “damned emails” comment and went on to attack Hillary about her emails”

This is nonsense. Yes, in the first debate, when pressed by the moderators to comment on the growing email scandal, Bernie said: “I think the American people are sick and tired about hearing about your damned emails.”

However, it is true that Bernie was not downplaying the importance of the email issue, He just did not want to make it a major point of debate in the campaign. When pressed about the matter by the media (and of course he was constantly pressed about it) he answered, as he did to Jake Tapper, that his debate comment did not mean that he thought the email scandal was a “nothingburger.” Indeed, Bernie stated:

“That is, I think, a very serious issue,” Sanders said. “There is a legal process taking place, I do not want to politicize that issue. It is not my style.”

This comment is depicted by Bernie critics as a reversal, a backing away from the “position” they thought he took in the debate.

But that is not the case. In the minutes following the debate that night, Sanders was interviewed by CNN and asked to explain his “damn emails” remark. He replied:

“Well, what motivated that is that I think the American people want substantive discussions on substantive issues,” Sanders said. “There is a process in place for the email situation that Hillary Clinton is dealing with. Let it play itself out. As a nation, let us start focusing on why it is that so few have so much and so many have so little.”

So Bernie’s position on the email scandal was always consistent.

And yes, the email scandal was indeed a serious issue.

We know from Comey’s statements and other leaked information that the FBI conducted a CRIMINAL investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server. Moreover, we now know that this criminal investigation was launched in July 2015 — a full year before the DNCC. This means that during the entire Democratic Primary, one of the candidates was the target of an active FBI criminal investigation — a situation unprecedented in US history.

Unfortunately, Loretta Lynch used her position as Attorney General to force the FBI and other spokespeople to avoid using the word “criminal” and “investigation” when describing the email investigation. Rather, Comey said, they were ordered to use the word “matter” when referring to the Clinton emails. This in turn allowed the Clinton campaign, its surrogates and even Hillary herself to spin all sorts of yarns during the ensuing year, calling the FBI investigation a “security inquiry” and basically obfuscation the true nature of the investigation.

Many Hillary supporters were tricked by the smokescreen and really did believe it was non-issue, and that the FBI was conducting a security review rather than a criminal investigation. This despite Comey having gone on national television to say, “We’re conducting an investigation. … That’s what we do.” Indeed, he said he had no idea what a “security inquiry” even was.

Bernie has been attacked by Clinton supporters for implying that the American people would need to make a judgment about Clinton’s emails. But think of this:
What would have happened if every Democratic Primary voter knew that Hillary Clinton was the target of an ongoing FBI criminal investigation that had started in July 2015?
Only a blatant and blinded partisan would insist that such knowledge would not have had an effect on the Primary election.

When one considers the true nature of the investigation that Hillary was under for an entire year, and the fact that criminal charges could have easily resulted therefrom, the actions of Comey related to that investigation seem almost inevitable — and one might well make the case that had the Democratic Primary voters — including the superdelegates — known of the true gravity and danger of the situation, they might have acted differently.

Indeed, Bernie’s mentions of the email “matter” were extremely bland and almost benign in light of the actual nature of the situation.

“Bernie attacked Hillary for her Wall Street speeches and implied she was corrupt for taking money from corporations and wealthy donors”

Here we revert to the old “holier-than-thou” attack line. By asking to see Hillary’s transcripts, by contrasting his views on money in politics with those of Hillary Clinton, Bernie was somehow making the case that Clinton was corrupt.

The Bernie attackers maintain that by pointing out the fact that Hillary had SuperPACs and he didn’t, he was attacking her. This is simply not the case. He is simply stating what every sentient person knows to be true.

Does the money from Wall Street influence the people who accept it? Of course it does. This is not news, and it is not a personal attack — it is a plain and simple fact.

And if you don’t believe me, then believe that paragon of Congressional virtue, Barney Frank.

Barney hates Bernie’s “holier-than-thou” attitude about money in politics.As Laurence Koltikoff of Boston University described in an article in Forbes called “Financial Reform R.I.P.”:

“Dodd-Frank is not just a prescription for regulatory sclerosis. It is a bonanza for Wall Street lobbyists and lawyers, who will help determine what this law’s 283,985 words actually mean.
“In 1990–2009 Wall Street and its friends in the insurance and real estate industries spent an average of $2,973 (in 2010 dollars) per congressman and senator per day on campaign contributions and lobbying. All this spending kept full financial disclosure off the table and helped today’s top 10 financial giants to dominate the industry.”

Yes, Barney, your point is well taken, and good luck in your new career on Wall Street. Don’t let the revolving door hit you.

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Smear #7: “Bernie stayed in the 2016 race too long, and he used his campaign to damage Hillary and the Democrats”

This line of attack is especially pernicious, because it seeks to somehow place blame for Trump on Bernie and his supporters. That because the Sanders campaign went all the way to the convention, it left the Democrats divided and weakened.

Poppycock. This assumes that the Democrats were not already divided and weakened. The Democratic Party had been fractured and had been losing members steadily for years.
Moreover, Bernie cannot be blamed for losses at the ballot box. The Democrats had been in a death spiral at the polls since Obama took office:

As far as staying in the race as long as he did, Bernie had several reasons for doing so, and — contrary to what his detractors may say — they were all for the good of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton.

Hillary supporters frequently say that Bernie did not campaign “hard enough” for Hillary, and that he did not do enough to convince his supporters to vote for Hillary. This is bullshit.

Let’s not forget that it was a very hard-fought campaign, and the WikiLeaks email revelations did not make Bernie supporters feel very loving or appreciative toward either Clinton or the DNC.

By staying in the race, Bernie kept his followers engaged in the political process. By fighting for every delegate, he was able to get some of “his people” on the Platform Committee. And by having at least some influence in that committee, he was then able to go to his supporters and claim that he — and they — had been instrumental in forging the “most progressive party platform in history.”

This was an important part of his message to his base. There was no way he could get them to love Hillary and suddenly be “with Her.” Sanders voters were and are totally issues-based. And so Bernie was able to appeal to that preoccupation with issues by pointing to the Platform document and asking them to “vote for the Party that supports these things.”
The result was that 88% of Sanders supporters voted for Hillary. Jill Stein, in the end, garnered only about 1% of the vote.

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Smear #8: “Bernie “stole” and misused his supporters’ money”

This is a particularly egregious attack because it smacks so openly of antisemitism. The main attack line here is that Bernie “played” his supporters, treated them as suckers, kept his campaign going longer than he should have, just so he could fleece his unwitting, starry-eyed idealistic supporters for more of their $27 donations. This is disgusting.

Roy Delfino particularly takes aim at Bernie for his supposed mendacity.

“Let me remind you that Bernie has a history of funneling campaign money to his wife, and that Tad Devine was cashing in to the tune of $810,000 a month. Does dragging a lost cause on for four pointless months, using false promises of victory to extract money from “struggling students”, “seniors on Social Security” and “workers earning starvation wages”, seem like something an honest man would do?”

As I said, you can almost smell the antisemitism in this one. Anyway — let’s debunk this piece of garbage as follows:

“Bernie has a history of funneling campaign money to his wife.”

Lets see what the truth is, from that same article:

in 2005, Vermont Republicans accused Sanders of having steered campaign contracts to members of his family during his 2002 and 2004 House campaigns. According to a 2006 article in Roll Call, Bernie Sanders’ wife, Jane Sanders, and stepdaughter, Carina Driscoll, were paid $95,000 for ad-buy placement, database administration, and miscellaneous consulting services during those campaigns. Such arrangements are legal, but … when it became an issue in 2006, Jane Sanders stopped taking commissions.

Full disclosure: I had a friend who ran for Senate in 1990, and he “funneled” money to me in return for writing press releases and handling his PR. So string me up as well.

Tad Devine was cashing in to the tune of $810,000 a month

When Bernie bashers say “Tad Devine” he really mean “Devine, Mulvey, Longabaugh Inc.” (that is what is on the FEC records). DML is a media production and design house. They were the ones who produced Bernie’s amazing commercials, including the famous “America” campaign ad, which became so famous it even has its own Wikipedia page. Indeed, a study showed that the commercial that Tad Devine‘s company produced “moved people the most” and “made viewers feel happiest” according to a study by Vanderbilt U.

Best of all, according to an email published by WikiLeaks, the America ad made Jennifer Palmieri, Hillary Clinton’s Communications Director, break down and cry. She then watched it repeatedly, and each time it gave her “chills”.

Hell, I’d say that makes Devine’s company worth the money all by itself.

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Smear #9: “Bernie hyped the WikiLeaks scandal to his own advantage”

Now this attack is one of the ones that makes the least sense. And in order to make it, the Anti-Bernie Tr🍩lls need to do some pretty impressive mental gymnastics.
First, they must make the difficult, schizophrenic argument that:

    1. The WikiLeaked emails were totally “banal” and proved nothing, yet
    2. The release of those emails cost Hillary Clinton the Presidency.

Indeed, the entire Russian hacking story was predicated on the idea that the DNC emails were hacked by Russian operatives, then passed to WikiLeaks in order to damage the Clinton campaign.

This story has since been debunked and proven to have been a hoax that was “cooked up” by John Podesta and Robby Mook on the night of the election. Still, the Anti-Bernie crowd still want to believe it, because to not do so would be to place blame somewhere else (like at on the candidate), and they feel that Bernie played a role in this.

The proof? Bernie said things like:

“I mean, there’s no question to my mind and I think no question to any objective observer’s mind that the DNC was supporting Hillary Clinton, and was at opposition to our campaign.”

Well, duh. This is milquetoast. And yet in the mind of the Bernie attacker, this is heresy, this is outrageous calumny worthy of condemning.

The mere fact that Debbie Wasserman Schultz had been National Co-Chair of Hillary’s 2008 campaign was highly problematic. It indicated a very strong relationship between the two, and one can imagine it was only natural that DWS would want to “make up” for the failure of 2008 by guaranteeing her good friend the 2016 nomination.

Add to this the fact that virtually all of the superdelegates had pledged to vote for Hillary before the Primary even started, and these are clear indications of the bias that Bernie mentions.

I will not get into the fact that the debate schedule was minimized and planned to the detriment of the newcomer, the fact that there was clear manipulation of the Primary process in places like NV, NY and CA — these are arguments for another time and place.

For this attack, however, it is sufficient to mention the mental gymnastics and schizophrenic argument above, and couple it with two clear points:

      1. If there were no evidence of DNC bias, why did Debbie Wasserman Schultz (plus 4 other top DNC heads) have to suddenly announce her resignation on the day before the convention?
      2. Why is there currently a lawsuit charging the DNC with fraud, currently making its way through the courts? (Note: at a hearing in April, a federal judge refused to grant the DNC’s request to dismiss the suit)

For a long time, no Hillary supporter had been able to give me a straight answer on that one. They mostly said it was to “save face” or “just for optics”.

But now, with this new Anti-Bernie attack line, they can explain that she was “forced” to resign because of Bernie’s “vicious attack.” Apparently, phrases like “the DNC was supporting Hillary Clinton” and was “at opposition to our campaign” was just too much for poor little Debbie to take. Please.

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Smear #10: “Bernie is a sleazy, dishonest campaigner and he is abusive to his staff and the media”

This is just another collection of ad hominem attacks that have nothing to do with policy, and the attacks often rely on very anecdotal and anonymous information.
Bernie lied to his supporters in Nevada, causing a riot to break out

This is laughable. It has been well-documented that the Sanders delegates were misled and mistreated by the NV Democratic Committee, and that a fraud was perpetrated at the convention. The plain fact is that Sanders had 2,124 delegate slots to the State Convention and Hillary Clinton had 1,722 delegate slots to the State Convention. And yet Clinton ended up with 33 more delegates actually being seated. The Bernie side maintained that 64 Sanders delegates were improperly denied seating, which tipped the balance to Clinton. This caused a nonexistent riot that was reported by one biased reporter to discredit Sanders and the sanders supporters.

The charge that Sanders himself was responsible for the “fracas” is one based on an allegation that it was a group of Sanders supporters who filed a so-called “minority report” claiming that the 64 Sanders delegates were denied seating illegitimately.

The fact that it was a Bernie supporter who filed the report somehow blows back to Bernie, and so, the attack goes, he should be responsible.

Except, the minority report in question was actually filed by Leslie Sexton, who is a member of the Nevada State Democratic Central Committee and was a Co-Chair of the Credentials Committee responsible for seating the delegates.

Bernie has nothing to apologize for in Nevada.

Bernie’s campaign acted fraudulently

This attack is a wide-ranging one, and goes back to all manner of accusations about Sanders campaigns having misrepresented endorsements they did not have, and so on. This is very small beer. To condemn someone for reprinting an article praising the candidate, calling it an “endorsement” when the publication had not officially endorsed Sanders — well, that is a pretty small thing to hang your hat on.

And in the case of the 2016 race, there is only ONE lawsuit alleging fraud committed in a campaign, and it’s against the DNC.

There were also allegations of FEC violations because some people may have contributed one too many $27 installments, or — like me — they contributed from overseas. This is also small potatoes, compared to the massive fraud and collusion that was committed by the DNC and the Clinton campaign systemically and nationally and over the course of a full year.

I would rebut all of these charges with the simple fact that the ethics complaints (3 of them) filed against the Sanders campaign were all field by David Brock, a well-known Clinton partisan and someone who was paid handsomely by the Clintons for running one of Hillary’s PACs (Correct the Record) and now Shareblue, which runs what the Seattle Times calls a “Twitter army to voice outrage on Clinton’s behalf”. Indeed, Vanity Fair and even Brock himself describe Shareblue as “The Breitbart of the Left”.

So when it comes to these types of attacks, one really should “consider the source.” And if anyone disses you for referencing an article in, point them to that Vanity Fair piece.

Bernie is not just a “grumpy grandpa” — he is harsh and abusive

This is one more baseless ad hominem attack, and one that dovetails with the “holier-than-thou” theme — and it is one that is really based on some pretty thin evidence, such as the following:

“He yelled in meetings all the time,” says one of Sanders’ former Senate staffers. “He’d yell, ‘I don’t want to hear excuses! I want to get it done!’”

Oh, that poor, poor snowflake. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would consider such an “outburst” to be inappropriate. And if that poor delicate flower of a staffer cannot realize that ”politics ain’t beanbag,” then s/he needs to find another profession.

Sanders is also accused of being rough with the media, hanging up on reporters or ending interviews when they refuse to discuss the things he wants to talk about. As you might guess, Bernie always wants to talk about the issues, and he accuses the media of talking about “the horse race.” I say, good luck making that argument — we know how everyone LOVES the media.

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Smear #11: “Bernie is Pro-NRA, Pro-Gun, voted 5 times against the Brady Bill, etc.

First, let’s be clear: Bernie is no fan of the NRA. Moreover, Bernie is by no means the most pro-gun Democrat out there.

Indeed, throughout most of his career, Bernie has had a solid “F” from the NRA.

Still — the anti-Bernie crowd prattle on so let’s take the charges one buy one:

“Bernie voted against the Brady Bill 5 times”

This is a particularly cynical attack that was hatched by the Clinton campaign in 2015. It is the quintessential political smear in that it takes votes out of context and makes it appear that Bernie opposed the provisions of the Brady Bill on principle or as a matter of conscience. This is not the case.

Bernie won his first term in Congress in 1990 by promising to oppose mandatory waiting periods. It was part of his platform, and he ran on that pledge; it was a promise he made to his constituents, 35% of which said that the waiting period issue was a “major reason” for voting for Bernie.

As Jeff Weaver explained to PolitiFact:

“He wasn’t opposed to states having (waiting periods) if they wanted to. The Republicans wanted to repeal waiting periods in states that had them, and Bernie voted that down,” Weaver said. “He said he would be against waiting periods, and he kept his word to the people of Vermont.”

The Brady Bill would have mandated a federal background check and a federally mandated waiting period for people buying handguns. The waiting period was vehemently opposed by the people of Vermont, a state which has NO gun control at all, and whose citizens (and voters) oppose gun control measures as a matter of dogma.

Many say that Sanders has a “mixed” record on gun control, but in reality, his record as a Congressman and a Senator is 100% consistent with those of his constituents. Bernie is known for his integrity, and part of that integrity is to vote the way the people who elected him want him to.

Despite opposing the federal mandate for waiting periods, Bernie opposed Republicans trying to force states that did have waiting periods to repeal them. Moreover, he has always supported background checks (the other part of the Brady Bill), and he voted for the Assault Weapon Ban.

“Bernie voted to allow guns on Amtrak”

This is a really stupid accusation. Yes. Bernie voted for Senate Budget Amendment Nr. 798, worded as follows:

“To ensure that law abiding Amtrak passengers are allowed to securely transport firearms in their checked baggage.”

That’s right: so people can carry their guns in CHECKED BAGGAGE only.

All this bill did was give Amtrak passengers the exact same rights to travel with firearms that airline passengers already had under TSA guidelines §1540.111.

“Bernie voted to protect firearm manufacturers from liability”

This refers to Bernie’s support for the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which protects gun manufacturers and sellers from lawsuits that hold them liable for dealing in firearms that end up in criminal hands.

This is a philosophical vote that Bernie has explained often, and it is a vote he stood by until recently. He used to defend his vote as follows, from his conversation on Meet the Press:

“If you were a gun shop owner in Vermont, and you sell somebody a gun, and that person flips out and then kills somebody, I don’t think it’s really fair to hold the [gun shop owner] responsible. … On the other hand, where there is a problem is there is evidence that gun manufacturers do know that they’re selling a whole lot of guns in an area that really should not be buying that many guns — that many of those guns are going to other areas, probably for criminal purposes. So can we take another look at that liability issue? Yes.”

So Bernie was always willing to revisit the liability issue. But since then, Bernie has gone from wanting to tweak the PLCAA to actually wanting to repeal it altogether.

Indeed, when Democrats introduced a bill in January 2016 to repeal the PLCAA, Bernie supported it.

So, yes, Bernie has “evolved” on this particular issue, and has been in favour of repealing immunity for gun manufacturers since at least January 2016.

“Bernie is supported by the NRA, owes his career to the NRA, etc.”

Indeed, it was his full-throated support for the Assault Weapon Ban that earned him the ire of the NRA, who then poured money into his opponent’s 1994 campaign to unseat him, popularizing the bumper sticker slogan “Bye Bye Bernie”.

As mentioned above, throughout most of his career Bernie has had a solid “F” from the NRA. His grade rose slightly when he did not vote to repeal the PLCAA, but that will now change as Bernie joins Democrats to repeal those protections for gun manufacturers.

Here is a great video that explains Bernie’s views on gun control.

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Smear #12: “Bernie voted to give the Minuteman Militia immunity”

This is a VERY weak attack, and has to do with an extremely inconsequential amendment which Sanders voted for. Essentially, it forbade the US Federal Government from giving the Mexican Government information about the (private) Minuteman Militia roaming the Southern Border.

The vote was largely symbolic, because the Feds don’t share that info anyway.

Rep. Olav Sabo, a Minnesota Democrat and ranking member on the Homeland Security Committee, was the sole member of his party to speak on the amendment … He said Customs officials had told him they already didn’t share information with the Mexican government except for where required by treaty.

“If people want to put it in the bill, I guess that is okay because it apparently does nothing,” he quipped.

So all sides agree that the vote was largely symbolic. Bernie’s vote was probably based on his suspicion of government tracking/spying and sharing of personal information. Certainly there was nothing nefarious or even remotely racists about this vote.

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Smear #13: “Bernie voted against Immigration Reform”

This is another extremely cynical attack because it glosses over or omits many important factors that were at play in the subject bill.
Yes, the 2007 Immigration bill did offer 12 million undocumented immigrants a chance to enroll in a “guest worker program”, but such programs are what Bernie Sanders calls “semi-slavery” and highly exploitative of the immigrants while at the same time very destructive to overall wages for working Americans.

During debate on the bill, Bernie said this:

“It is not about raising wages or improving benefits. What it is about is bringing into this country over a period of years millions of low-wage temporary workers with the result that wages and benefits in this country, which are already going down, will go down even further.”

In short, there were some very unsavory aspects of this bill that a pro-labor union supporter like Bernie Sanders, along with labor organisations and immigrant rights groups, simply could not accept:

AFL-CIO opposed guest-worker programs, which were expanded in the bill to win Big Business and GOP support. More strikingly, it lost the support of several pro-immigration groups, such as the League of United Latin American Citizens.

“LULAC cannot support a bill that will separate families and lead to the exploitation of immigrant workers,” said Executive Director Brent Wilkes in a May 2007 statement. In June 2007, the American Immigration Lawyers Association said it “cannot support enactment of the Senate bill in its current form,” citing no fewer than six major problems.

In general, Bernie has consistently opposed “open borders” because he sees it as a Reagan era (neoliberal) initiative to exploit poor foreign workers while driving down wages at home. So he was already predisposed to oppose the 2007 bill, which allowed for such exploitation.

The fact that AFL-CIO, LULAC and AILA all opposed the 2007 immigration bill means that Bernie did the right thing in voting against it.

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Smear #14: “Bernie is a Russian Stooge, a Putin Plant, a Kremlin Puppet, etc.”

This is an extremely unhinged attack that seeks to paint Bernie as some sort of pro-Putin anti-American who colluded with Russia to win, or whatever.
I suppose it was only a matter of time before the “Russia-Gate” hoax spread to Bernie Sanders. Apparently Putin was not just working overtime to get Trump elected, he was already hard at work in 2015 sending out his flying monkey trolls to support Bernie Sanders. Sigh.

The Russia-related attacks on Bernie are multivalent, but I will address each attack line below.

“Bernie spent his honeymoon in the USSR”

This is a very old smear. And given the fact that the USSR no longer exists, it’s surprising that people still use it. But then again, we have seen Democrats and others refer to today’s Russia as “Soviets” and “Communists”, so it is not surprising that the most ignorant will still pull this chestnut out of the bag.

Here’s the real story:
In 1988, when Sanders was mayor of Burlington, the city formed a “twin” city relationship with a Russian city called Yaroslavl — Remember, this was one year before the Berlin Wall fell, at the height of Gorby’s Perestroika and the thawing of East-West relations. The sister-city program was a total success and is still going on today — see

That year Sanders traveled on an official trip to meet his counterpart, the mayor of Yaroslavl. The trip, which was made with 10 other people, including prominent business people and city officials, was scheduled for the day after his wedding, so he invited his wife to come along. Now, you can say that maybe he should not have taken his wife on a trip for official city business, but you cannot make any more out of it than that.

“Bernie voted against increased sanctions on Russia”

Peter Daou on twitter:

“So Bernie Sanders was 1 of 2 (out of 100) senators to vote against Russia sanctions. And 1 of 4 to vote against the Magnitsky Act.”

There were two reasons to vote against the sanctions that Congress sought to impose on Russia in 2017.
First, these were simply not good for US relations with our Allies. The EU was virulently opposed to these sanctions, and threatened retaliation. Jean-Claude Juncker, EC President, decried the sanctions saying “‘America First’ cannot mean that Europe’s interests come last.”

Second, and more importantly, the sanctions bill targeted not just Russia but also Iran, and threatened to undo the Iran Nuclear Deal — arguably the greatest achievement of Barack Obama’s Presidency and one which Hillary Clinton gladly took credit for. Bernie was and is a staunch supporter of Obama’s Iran deal, and he refused to vote for anything that threatened to destroy Obama’s — and Clinton’s — signature achievement.

“Bernie voted against the Magnitsky Act”

The Magnitsky Act was a horrible piece of legislation that sought to impose sanctions on specific Russian individuals. In this it was a new sort of blacklist and violated US and international laws as well as human rights protocols. According to The Nation, it also brought us closer to World War III:

Congress has recklessly and needlessly jeopardized US-Russian cooperation in vital areas from Afghanistan and the Middle East to international terrorism and nuclear proliferation. Even if Moscow’s tit-for-tat reactions to the Magnitsky bill are pro forma and toothless, its adoption, along with the US-Russian impasse over missile defense and NATO expansion, brings us even closer to a new cold war. Judging by its voting record in recent years, Congress hasn’t seen a war it doesn’t like — hot or cold.

The Act targeted specific individuals whom the US would deem guilty of human rights abuses, and prevented them from entering the US or doing business in the US. But it was never clear how a person’s name could get on the list. Apparently it was widely open to interpretation.

This smear is a bit tricky since there is evidence that Hillary Clinton also opposed the Magnitsky Act because at that time one of the people targeted was a banker who had paid Bill Clinton $500,000 to give a speech in Moscow.

“The Sanders Campaign was helped by Putin and Russia”

This weirdo attack seems to have originated in the fevered dreams of Eric Garland, a prominent Trump-Russia conspiracy theorist. The idea is that Russian bots and trolls were working for Sanders and against Clinton. It is true that some pro-Sanders Facebook pages were inundated with spam ads and postings that were anti-Clinton, but these were not aimed to influence the outcome of the election.

The vast majority of anti-Hillary trolling came from a small town in Macedonia, where they make money by driving traffic to their clients’ web sites. They do this by getting people to click on ads and posts. They are not political. Indeed, the first wave of such spam was anti-Bernie.

As with the famous Russian Facebook ad purchase, it was really not until AFTER the primary was over that the anti-Hillary ads started to appear.

So the main point gets murky. In some cases, they argue that Bernie was helped during the Primary, and in other cases they claim his supporters were influenced in the general election to NOT vote for Hillary. In either case, Bernie is not actually involved. And in the second case, it is obviously false because more Bernie voters went on to support Hillary than did Hillary supporters support Obama in 2008 (88% to 75%).

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Smear #15: “Bernie and Jane are Corrupt – Look at the Burlington College Deal”

The screwy accusation of “bank fraud” started by right-wing smear merchants and now pushed by anti-Bernie Democrats.

Dr. Jane Sanders, shown here in Marshalltown, Iowa on Jan. 10., has been accused of exacting a severe financial toll on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington. But Vermont Bishop Christopher Coyne says the accusation is without merit. ANDREW HARNIK / AP

This smear had two iterations:

1) Jane Sanders committed bank fraud to obtain a loan for her employer, Burlington College, based on false income projections from donors.

2) Bernie Sanders worked with his wife Jane to commit fraud by applying “political pressure” to the bank that provided the loan


The first thing you should know is that In November 2018 Jane Sanders was informed that Vermont’s U.S. attorney had concluded its investigation and that NO CHARGES would be brought against Jane or anyone else.

What follows here is now simply an historical FYI.


Burlington College went bankrupt in 2016 – five years after Jane Sanders left.

Jane Sanders served as President of Burlington College until she resigned in 2011 after having arranged financing for a major ($10 million) expansion of the campus.

Five (5) years after she resigned, the college was unable to carry on with its loan payments and went bankrupt.

For more in-depth background read this article by April McCullum in the Burlington Free Press (Feb 26, 2019).

The False Complaint

This smear is based on a complaint that was filed with the Vermont US District Attorney’s office in 2016 by one Brady Toensing, the VT Vice Chair of the GOP and a well-known conservative bag man famous for stirring up trouble for Vermont Democrats and liberals. As Paste Magazine explains:

Brady Toensing practically defines vexatious litigation (harassment suits).

Toensing, also a junior partner at diGenova and Toensing, a DC law firm with a reputation for slinging mud at Democrats (Victoria Toensing, Brady’s mother and senior partner at the firm, was a prominent voice from the right during the Benghazi boondoggle), filed a formal complaint in January of 2016, with the U.S. Attorney alleging willful misconduct by Sanders, which prompted the DOJ investigation into the school’s closure.

Toensing claims to have filed the complaint “on behalf” of member of the Catholic diocese of Burlington, which he claims was damaged through the sale of the property to Burlington College when it was under Jane Sanders’s management. The main thrust of his complaint is that the property owned by the diocese was bought for $10 million, but the church only received $8 million. According to Toensing this means that the Diocese was damaged by that $2 million shortfall.

The Actuality
The Church itself does not agree with Toensing’s claim. Quite the opposite, in fact. As Bishop Christopher Coyne told Vermont Public Radio:

“At the time, we were very satisfied with the $10 million purchase price on a property that was assessed … at $6 million. So the offer from Burlington College was about $4 million more than the property was worth,” says Coyne …

“We’re very satisfied with the outcome at the end, even though we didn’t receive the full $10 million,” Coyne says of the settlement. “We walked away with a pretty good price, and at this point we’re not interested in pursuing any further matter in this.”

The Result
If there is one thing you need to know from this story, it is that the Church actually ended up receiving $8 million for a piece of property that was appraised at only $6 million.
In short:

  1. There is no victim: the alleged victim actually benefited from the deal
  2. The Sanders family received nothing from the transaction
  3. Neither Bernie nor Jane can be said to have benefited in any way from the alleged “fraud”

Why were the FBI involved?
The FBI are bound to investigate every complaint that is duly filed in a District Attorney. However, the FBI has not said that anyone is a target of the investigation and so far there have been no criminal or civil charges even discussed in this matter. The entire smear was a totally fabricated case made up by a local GOP operative known for filing false accusations.


If someone comes at you with this smear, ask them why they are on the same side as the Toensing family, who persecuted Hillary Clinton for Benghazi. Ask them why they are helping Brady Toensing, who was the Trump campaign manager for Vermont.

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Smear #16: “Bernie has no support among African Americans”

This is perhaps the most hurtful and outrageous attack on Bernie — and is also the one that is most easily debunked.

As the 2020 race starts to heat up, one of the main attack lines on Bernie Sanders is that he cannot win because he just doesn’t have the support of African Americans. This attack is part of a coordinated campaign to incorrectly and unfairly paint Bernie Sanders as somehow backward or awkward when it comes to race and politics.

As writers like Katie Halper have documented, however, nothing could be further from the truth.

Bernie has been campaigning for civil rights for 50 years — he protested segregation, got arrested for protesting police brutality, he marched with MLK.

Bernie chained himself to a WOC to protest segregation in Chicago, and was arrested for it.

Bernie led a protest against segregation at the University of Chicago in 1962.


And when Jesse Jackson ran for President, Bernie Sanders helped deliver Vermont’s delegates during the 1988 Democratic Primary. Bernie was one of the very few white political office-holders to back Jackson.

Burlington Mayor Bernard Sanders greets presidential candidate Jesse Jackson at a campaign appearance at Montpelier City Hall, December 31, 1988. (AP Photo / Toby Talbot)

What has Bernie done for African-Americans lately?

Firstly, we must reject this snarky and cynical question as itself being wholly irrelevant. It matters A LOT what Bernie Sanders did in the 60’s, as Shaun King brilliantly points out in this article.

But OK, let’s look at Bernie now.

Bernie currently has a 100% rating from the NAACP, UP from the previous 97% in 2015. (Compare this with 96% for Hillary Clinton).

The reason for the jump to a perfect score lies in Bernie’s willingness to recognize and listen to activists such as Black Lives Matter. This has led to Sanders developing a comprehensive platform on Racial Issues and social equality.

But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and African-Americans themselves are the best judges of who is on their side.

FACT: Bernie’s support among African-Americans is HIGHER even than it is among whites.

This poll is from April 2017 — It shows that the typical “Bernie Bro” is probably an African-American woman.

All polling continues to show Bernie astoundingly popular among non-whites.

CNN/ORC Poll from 31 May 2017 shows the same thing as the Harris poll.

This CNN/SSRS Poll from 2018 shows the same thing as all the others: namely, that Bernie Sanders is much more popular among non-whites.

This is because Bernie’s policies will benefit all Americans but will help African-Americans and people of color most.

When MLK was killed, he was in Memphis to help striking sanitation workers. This was part of his “Poor People’s Campaign,” the last great struggle of his life, and one that was carried on by his wife after his death. King knew that the way to social justice was through economic justice; that these two goals were inextricably linked, and the cynical exploitative elites who tried to separate them did so only to divert and destroy the economic struggle that lies at the heart of racial equality.

African-Americans are most affected by minimum wage laws, healthcare costs, college tuition, climate and pollution, criminal justice and the other issues that Bernie is fighting for.

MLK’s Poor People’s Campaign united working families of all demographic groups.

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Smear #18: “Bernie also voted for the 1994 Crime Bill that he criticizes Biden and the Clintons for ”

This is also a very cynical and misleading smear that needs to be explained and debunked just as much as any other.

Bernie speaking against a Crime Bill in 1991

The 1994 Crime Bill was an unmitigated disaster for POC and the poor. It led directly to the mass incarceration problem that we have today, and it started the whole for-profit prison boom. It enshrined the dreaded “three strikes” sentencing guidelines into US law and treated POC unfairly in terms of punishment.

Hillary Clinton was a huge proponent of this despicable legislation. And once it was passed, she continued to sing ts praises and its effectiveness at “bringing super predators to heel”.

Joe Biden was even worse

If anyone should be “held accountable for his actions” (as the #BlackLivesMatter protesters shout) then it is Joe Biden, not Bernie Sanders. Biden was an ardent and vocal supporter of Bill Clinton’s welfare “reform” and “tough on crime” bills that devastated black families and led to the mass incarceration of black youths.

“We have predators on our streets that society has in fact, in part because of its neglect, created…they are beyond the pale many of those people, beyond the pale. And it’s a sad commentary on society. We have no choice but to take them out of society….a cadre of young people, tens of thousands of them, born out of wedlock, without parents, without supervision, without any structure, without any conscience developing because they literally … because they literally have not been socialized ….we should focus on them now….if we don’t, they will, or a portion of them, will become the predators 15 years from now.”

– Joe Biden, speaking on the 1994 Crime Bill

Bernie Sanders, however, saw the Crime Bill differently.

Bernie opposed much of what was in the 1994 Crime Bill. He only voted for the bill because it contained within it the much needed Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Any Senator or Congressman who voted against the so-called “Omnibus” Clinton Crime Bill would have been subject to attack as being anti-woman or at least insensitive to women‘s issues.

Likewise, the giant 1994 Crime Bill also contained an Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), something that Bernie strongly supported.

Indeed, it is widely believed that the Clinton Administration deliberately included the VAWA and the AWB in the omnibus bill in order to force progressives like Bernie to vote for the legislation.

Still, Bernie took to the floor to decry the Crime Bill’s harsh provisions regarding punishment and imprisonment:

“We already imprison more people per capita than any other country, and all of the executions in the world, will not make that situation right. We can either educate or electrocute. We can create meaningful jobs, rebuilding our society, or we can build more jails. Mr. Speaker, let us create a society of hope and compassion, not one of hate and vengeance.”

– Bernie Sanders, speaking on the same 1994 Crime Bill.

If you encounter this smear, you may wish to respond by cutting and pasting the video below, which provides a good comparison of how Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden each viewed that bill at the time.

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Smear #19: “Bernie is a hypocrite, he has three houses, a net worth over $2 million, and only pays 13% in taxes”

As with all smears directed at Bernie, this is typical in that it does not attack his policies, but rather seeks to disparage him personally, by saying that he “does not practice what he preaches”. The smear seeks to portray Bernie as someone who is cynically preaching to the working class while he himself is a member of the top 1% that he rails against.

This smear, however, is just as easily debunked as all the others.

Bernie’s Three “Houses”

Firstly, every Senator has at least 2 residences, one in their home state and one in DC. So one of Bernie’s “houses” is a small condo in DC.

As this Real Estate website noted:

The Senator from Vermont has two homes. The first is a four bedroom, 2 ½ bath Colonial in Burlington, Chittenden County, Vermont. Sanders and his wife, Jane O’Meara, also own a townhouse in the District of Columbia; the Washington, DC real estate is a one bedroom, 1 ½ bath with a brick exterior, which was built in the late 1800s. Both are a considerable step up from Sander’s youth – the Senator grew up in a rent controlled apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Bernie’s two residences: his 1-bedroom condo in DC (left) and his 4-bedroom colonial in Burlington.

Bernie’s third “house” is a rustic cabin on an island in Lake Champlain in Vermont. The Sanders family bought this house using an inheritance that Jane Sanders received from her parents. The inheritance was itself a house in Maine. As Jane Sanders explains:

Bernie’s vacation cabin on Lake Champlain

“My family had a lake home in Maine since 1900, but we hadn’t had the time to go there in recent years — especially since my parents passed away,” she said to Seven Days. “We finally let go of it and that enabled us to buy a place in the islands — something I’ve always hoped for. ”

Bernie’s Net Worth and his 13% Tax Rate

Throughout his entire career, Bernie Sanders was among the poorest of those serving in Congress. His net worth up until 2016 was between $190,000 and $500,000. After writing 2 bestselling books, however, the advances he received caused his net worth to jump to around $2 million,

This $2 million figure however only applies to his 2017 financial disclosures. Prior to that, Bernie and Jane lived off his Senate salary and some miscellaneous additional income. The “13% tax rate” is based on that smaller income rate, and specifically from his 2014 tax returns, in which he declared a total income of only $205,000.

As documented in the National Review, Sanders was able to reduce his tax liability by taking normal deductions that similar middle-class American families take, specifically:

  • $22,946 on home-mortgage interest
  • $14,843 on real-estate taxes
  • $9,666 on state and local income taxes
  • $8,000 in gifts to charity
  • $350 in gifts to charity other than by cash or check
  • $4,473 in unreimbursed job expenses, which according to tax law can include fees such as union dues and travel

Altogether, the Sanders family in 2014 paid around $27,000 in taxes on $205,000 in income, which equates to around 13%. Bit this was from 2014, and not 2016, when his net worth increased thanks to his book deals.

From the critics who seeks to smear Bernie in this way are being very misleading, if not downright lying. By taking his tax rate from 2014 and lumping it in with his wildly higher (and unusual) book-based income from 2016, they are creating a false narrative.

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Smear #20: “Bernie claims to be socialist and fight climate change, but flies first class on private jets”

This is a corollary of Troll Smear #19 about Bernie’s houses and net worth. This smear also seeks to portray Bernie as a hypocrite, and tries to do so by making the following “arguments”: (1) Bernie claims to fight Climate Change but spent $300,000 on private air travel, polluting the air, and/or (2) Bernie claims to be a socialist but he insists on flying first class on private jets.

Bernie Spent $300,000 in one month on private air travel

Bernie made headlines with his “barnstorming” nationwide tour in October 2018

This is a really stupid smear because it is based on a provable fact but ignores the equally provable reasons for that fact.

Yes, in October 2018 Bernie Sanders spent $300,000 on private air travel, but that was because he did so at the behest of, and in service to, his colleagues in the Democratic Party.

In a prodigious display of stamina and dedication, Sanders pursued a 9-State Battleground Tour over the course of just 10 days, during which he made no less than 25 speaking events and rallies in 9 states.

As reported in the VT Digger:

Arianna Jones, senior communications adviser for Friends of Bernie Sanders, said : “This [$300K] cost covered the entirety of the tour from Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Carolina, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, California, and back to Vermont,” Jones said. The senator participated in 25 events, Jones said.

Think about that. Bernie averaged more than 2.5 events and rallies each day as he criss-crossed the nation to help Democrats win the 2018 Primaries.

Jones said it was necessary to use a private jet service “to allow the senator to campaign in all of the states where candidates wanted his help and get back to Vermont in order to join the Vermont Democratic Party coordinated campaign’s final GOTV efforts. As Bernie often said while encouraging voters to get involved leading up to Election Day, this was the most important midterm election in our lifetimes and he wanted to have maximum impact.”

The article, however, goes on to describe the steps that Sanders is taking to offset the increased carbon footprint from private jets:

Jones said the campaign purchased carbon offsets to support renewable energy projects and invest in carbon reduction projects to balance out emissions produced from travel. She said the campaign paid $4,980.00 to NativeEnergy for carbon offsets.

So although Bernie needed to use private jets to accomplish his goals and make all those events, he still made the effort to be as “green” as possible while doing so.  In a recent Politico article, Arianna Jones explained how and why Bernie needed to fly private:

Sanders held 18 “large public events in those days,” said Jones. “A review of airline flight schedules shows that this tour itinerary simply could not have been completed with commercial flights — it required a charter.”

She noted that the tour was the only time last year when Sanders flew on a private jet and also said the campaign purchased carbon offsets to zero out the emissions produced on the trip. Cars were also used on the ground whenever possible to get him to his events. She said that Sanders also flew commercial last year to hold more than 45 major rallies and events in 18 different states.

This variation of the smear is mostly used by right wingers who are seeking to attack Bernie the man as a hypocrite. But private jets were the only way for Bernie to make it to those 25 events in 9 states coast-to-coast.

And these butt-hurt Republicans are just bitter because – thanks in no small part to Bernie’s campaigning – the Democrats had a resoundingly successful 2018 midterm election.

Bernie is a Socialist but insists on flying first class on private jets

This POLITICO story was published shortly after Bernie announced his 2020 campaign.

This is a more widely used smear that is often wielded not just by right-wingers but by Clinton loyalists and centrist Establishment Democrats to attack Bernie as a hypocrite and a grifter who “uses” the Democratic Party for his own benefit.

And these smears are persisting. In a recent Politico article (25 Feb 2019), Clinton staffers attacked Bernie for his use of private air travel, as in the following example describing Bernie’s use of private air travel while campaigning for Hillary in 2016:

“I’m not shocked that while thousands of volunteers braved the heat and cold to knock on doors until their fingers bled in a desperate effort to stop Donald Trump, his Royal Majesty King Bernie Sanders would only deign to leave his plush D.C. office or his brand new second home on the lake if he was flown around on a cushy private jet like a billionaire master of the universe,” said Zac Petkanas, who was the director of rapid response for the Clinton campaign.

Whoa there, “Zac”. I think you are being a little too rapid in your response.

The Politico article also tells the other side of the story, the truth about what really happened. The Clinton campaign set forth an almost impossible schedule for Bernie to follow. They had him criss-crossing the country to campaign in all those places where Hillary had not, and the only way that the schedule could have been kept was through using private air travel.

In the final three months before Election Day 2016, Sanders held 39 rallies in 13 states on behalf of Clinton’s campaign, according to Jones, including 17 events in 11 states in the last week alone. When he went to New Hampshire, which borders Sanders’ home state of Vermont, he did not use a private jet to get there.

Zac and his colleagues are engaging in revisionist history. They want to attack Bernie somehow, so this line of smear seems a good idea to them. However, the facts of the matter actually show just the opposite:

Sanders spokesperson Arianna Jones said it was physically impossible to get to all of the event locations in such a short period of time without chartered flights, especially since the senator was traveling to many smaller markets with limited commercial air travel options.

“Sen. Sanders campaigned so aggressively for Secretary Clinton, at such a grueling pace, it became a story unto itself, setting the model for how a former opponent can support a nominee in a general election.”

Rania Batrice, who served as Sanders’ deputy campaign manager at the end of his 2016 campaign,said that Clinton’s campaign would send over a proposed campaigning schedule for Sanders before the two sides talked through logistics:

“The requests for a charter only came after the schedules were put in front of us. If a less rigorous schedule were put in front of us, we wouldn’t have needed a charter and that would have been fine for everyone involved, including Bernie,” she said, later adding: “Bernie worked his ass off on behalf of Hillary Clinton and the campaign.”

So how much did Bernie spend on private jets while barnstorming thew country doing Hillary’s campaigning for her? The Politico article explains:

The senator ended up flying private on three separate multi-day trips in the last two months of the campaign … [and] cost the Clinton-Kaine campaign … $100,000 in total.

In a campaign that spent $1.2 BILLION, Bernie cost them $100K to help him keep a schedule that THEY set up for him. So – BIG DEAL. That turns out to be 0.008% of her total campaign budget.

But exaggeration is not the worst part of these smears.

The Clintonites are Taking a Page from Karl Rove’s Playbook

The most despicable aspect of these smears is that they are a deeply cynical and very hurtful way to attack an honest politician. It is 100% “Rovian” in that it takes one of Bernie’s most enduring – and endearing POSITIVES and turns ist into a false NEGATIVE. This particular type of brazen character assassination was a specialty of Karl Rove. GW Bush’s campaign advisor, who famously came up with the Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry in order to turn his Purple Heart Medal of Honor service during Vietnam into an embarrassing stain.

In attacking Bernie for flying first class and/or private, the Clinton camp is using the same tactics that the abominable Rove and his GOP henchmen used to take down Kerry: In other words, Bernie is being “Swift-Boated.”

Because all throughout the 2015-2016 Primary season, Bernie became famous for flying COACH. Fans even had a hashtag, #SandersOnAPlane for Tweets from people that had seen him or sat next to him on commercial flights.

So, my fellow Berners. let’s not let these Hillbots and Clintonite scum rewrite history and pull a Karl Rove play on our candidate. Be sure to fight back every chance you get with this material.

Let’s “shoot down” this bullshit smear about airplanes.

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Smear #21: “Bernie wants to take away Americans’ CHOICE in their healthcare provider”

This is an insidious accusation that hinges on debunked ideas of “socialized medicine” and uses classic neoliberal attack strategies to promote what is essentially a massive and bold-faced LIE.

Reagan opposed Medicare and even published a record about it.

First, let’s look at the Ronald Reagan’s original attack on Medicare when it was first introduced in the 60’s. He claimed it was “socialized medicine” and was thus “anti-American” and so on. This line of attack against Medicare For All is easily debunked, however, by simply pointing out that Medicare is now one of the most popular programs in the US and consistently polls at the top in terms of customer satisfaction – far above any for-profit private insurance provider. In addition, Medicare and Medicaid are both far more cost efficient than private insurance.

But what about “CHOICE”?

Knowing that they cannot attack M4A in terms of cost-effectiveness, customer satisfaction or any other tangible metric, opponents to Medicare For All have resorted to arguing about that illusive and subjective issue of CHOICE.

Firstly, as progressives we must always – and I mean ALWAYS – be on guard about ANY conservative or centrist argument that uses the word “choice.” These types of attacks utilize the talking points and the philosophical underpinnings of neoliberalism as set forth in Milton Friedman‘s seminal book, Free to Choose, which sought to portray neoliberal capitalism as the perfect system because it offered “choice” to the Consumer. Friedman was Reagan’s favorite economist and indeed, his neoliberal principles informed and guided many of the anti-government, pro-market policies that defined “Reaganomics”.

Free to Choose was even made into a TV series that aired in 1980 (coincidentally enough) and was aimed at bringing the principles of free-market capitalism to the broader public. Primary among these was the premise that only Capitalism could bring freedom to human society. These neoliberal ideals were encapsulated into bite sized themes and slogans such as “consumer choice”. The idea that “choice” is not only the most important aspect of economic freedom, but that choice itself can only be delivered through free-market capitalism, is a central tenet of neoliberalism. These are the very policies and principles that Bernie’s Political Revolution is seeking to overthrow.

Upside down and backward: the Big Lie of “Healthcare Choice”

Whenever anyone starts claiming that the private for-profit health insurance market provides “choice” to consumers, they are LYING. There simply is no other way to put it. The narrative about choice in terms of health insurance is the very heart of the industry’s propaganda. It is The Big Lie in the classic sense in that it is the very opposite of the truth.

In reality, the current system of employer sponsored private health insurance actually takes away choice.

Wendell Potter is a former head of corporate communications for Cigna, who left the insurance industry to blow the whistle on just how much that industry is lying to us. He explains that the insurance companies are actually working to limit choice through something called “Benefit Buydown“:

…whether it’s moving people into high deductible plans, making them pay a lot more for care out of their own pockets before their coverage kicks in, limiting their choice of access to doctors and hospitals, having someone at an insurance company decide whether or not you’re eligible for a procedure your doctor says you need. All these things have been going on for several years and they make health insurance much less valuable than it used to be.

Moreover, as Bernie has pointed out, employers can change insurance providers at will; and by “shopping around” to reduce their employee healthcare costs, employers can institute higher co-pays and deductibles,or choose a plan in which very little is “in network”, forcing employees to pay extra for “out of network” services. Potter continues:

Another aspect of private insurance companies that’s become prevalent is to very much restrict which doctors and hospitals you can go to through these so-called limited or skinny networks. So people in private plans have less choice, but they’re paying more for it and having to jump through hoops to get their bills paid.

What about Unions?

Many people argue that Americans who are in unions want to keep their “Cadillac” health care plans. This is not the case for anyone who has witnessed what has been going on in the healthcare industry and in those unionized employer plans. But, as Wendell Potter explains:

Even in most union plans these days, the participants are increasingly facing higher deductibles. They’re having to pay more out of their own pockets before their coverage kicks in. They’re not immune to that. Increasingly, the networks of providers are more and more limited.

This year, you might have the doctor that you prefer to use, next year you might not. It’s out of your hands and you probably didn’t have a choice of insurance carrier. That was made for you. So this notion that even people who have union plans have a choice of health insurers, it’s not true, because those decisions were made by somebody else and typically, you’re never asked.

Medicare Offers TRUE Choice

Medicare Part A covers hospitalization and is already accepted virtually everywhere.

Currently over 93% of all doctors in the US accept Medicare. Likewise, virtually every hospital in the US accepts Medicare patients, the only exceptions being those facilities run by the Veterans Administration or the US Military, the Indian Health Services or specialized private facilities such as Shriners’ Hospital for Crippled Children.

Once Medicare For All is implemented, we will see the percentage of participating doctors go even higher, to the point where basically every doctor in the US will be “in network”. This will give Americans true “choice” when it comes to choosing a doctor or a hospital.

The People Know the Truth

Perhaps the worst part of the Big Lie about health insurance choice is that it is so insulting to the American people – those who have seen their co-payments and deductibles increase, their coverage decrease, their networks shrink. Those people who have had to do battle with insurance providers to try to get procedures covered or benefits paid.

These people realize that our healthcare system is broken and we need to fix it. As Bernie himself expressed it on MSNBC, people do not love their health insurance companies.

He even went a little further at a recent Q&A at LULAC:

Bernie proved this at a Town Hall on, of all places, FOX News, where a massive majority of the people in attendance said they would be willing to give up their employer-sponsored healthcare for Medicare For All.


If Bernie can rally a clear majority of FOX News viewers on Medicare For All, then it’s game-set-match. Anyone who is still droning on about “choice” (Mayor Pete, Joe Biden) is simply being disingenuous, or “misrepresenting” as Nancy Pelosi says.

But I’ll just call it what I did at the top of this piece: LYING.

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Smear #22: “Bernie is an Anti-Semite”

To many people this may seem like an unlikely or even a silly smear, given that Bernie is Jewish, given that he lost his family in the Holocaust, and given that he actually lived and worked on a Kibbutz in Israel. But believe me, this is a serious smear, and the fact that serious people will level this kind of attack says more about the state of discourse surrounding Israel, Judaism and the definition of Antisemitism than it does about Bernie Sanders.

The “Modern” Definition of Antisemitism

Before we can debunk this vilest of smears, we need to understand where it is coming from. The attacks of Antisemitism against Bernie are similar to the smear campaign waged against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party in the UK. In both cases, the attacks are meant to serve purely political goals and have nothing whatsoever to do with the very real problem of rising Antisemitism and other forms of racism around the world.

And if you doubt this to be the case, just ask yourself why the “rampant” Antisemitism that was “raging” inside the UK seems to have completely disappeared since Corbyn lost the election.

Still, these smears of Antisemitism against Bernie should not surprise us. They were foretold by Prof. Norman Finkelstein way back in 2018.

Consider the Source

It started in the UK

One of the primary driving forces behind the Antisemitism smear campaign against Bernie is a group called “Democrats Against Anti-Semitism” – a well organized, well-funded group whose primary if not sole aim is to attack Bernie Sanders. This group seems to be funded by the same people who launched “Labour Against Antisemitism” in order to attack Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour Against Antisemitism was launched in Feb-March 2017, just 2 months before the launch of the UK General Election in which Jeremy Corbyn stood to lead the Labour Party to its greatest electoral success since WWII. The group really kicked into high gear after that election, and the smear campaign of Antisemitism played a major role in reversing that 2017 Labour victory and turning it into a massive defeat for Jeremy Corbyn in the election of December 2019.

Did the Labour Party, one of the oldest and largest political parties in the world, NOT have an Antisemitism problem for the first 118 years of its existence? What made Labour Against Antisemitism spring into existence with a wealth of funding behind them, just in time to block the socialist agenda of Jeremy Corbyn?

It has spread to the US

Similarly, Democrats Against Anti-Semitism launched in December, 2019. Again, one must ask: did the Democrats not have an “Anti-Semitism” problem for the first 190 years of their existence? Indeed, did the Anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party only rear its ugly head once the Party seemed likely to nominate its first ever Jewish candidate for President?

How stupid do these people think we are?

Bernie’s “Crime” –  Defending the Palestinians

Bernie is being accused of Antisemitism solely because of his comments in support of Palestinian rights and in condemnation Israeli war crimes and human rights violations in Gaza. This is NOT Antisemitism. Rather, Bernie is merely trying to uphold the rule of law by voicing support for respectable international organizations such as the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Here is an example of the kind of “Anti-Semitic” remarks for which Bernie is being criticized:

The above tweet is very mild, and yet such reasonable and obviously justified observations immediately trigger an attack claiming Antisemitism.

Still, while Bernie is often criticized for “not being a real Democrat”,  at least when it comes to Israel he is closer than most to one of the most revered Democrats in history, President Jimmy Carter.

The Quick Response

The quick response to this smear, if it is being leveled by a centrist Democrat, is to first reference the facts above, namely that these smears are being generated by a foreign group that was formed with the express intent to stop Bernie from becoming the first Jewish President, and ask the smearer why they are siding with foreigners who are meddling in our elections.

Secondly, you can point out that even Jimmy Carter, who brokered the only peace treaty in history between Arabs and Jews, has, like Bernie, also condemned what Israel is doing in Palestine. Inform them that any Democrat who claims to be “resisting” Trump, who is pro-impeachment because they claim to care about “rule of law”, “international norms” and “human rights” should be joining Bernie in his criticism of the cruelty and the utter contempt for the law that the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, a fervent and devoted friend and fan of Donald Trump, exhibits towards the Palestinians.

Indeed, Trump enjoys a 67% approval rating in Israel, whereas Obama only has a 19% approval rating.  So any Democrat who is attacking critics of Israel like Bernie Sanders needs to answer the question of why they are so supportive of Trump’s allies while being so tolerant of Obama’s enemies.

Pro-Israel Democrats who are attacking Bernie because he criticizes the Netanyahu regime for its treatment of Palestinians must also explain why they condemn Trump’s treatment of refugees at the US Southern Border but condone the indiscriminate murder of unarmed Palestinian refugees in Israel.

They must explain why it is OK for Israelis to imprison, mistreat and even shoot unarmed Muslim refugees, but not OK for Trump to mistreat and shoot unarmed Christian refugees. Are they themselves racist? Is it religious bigotry? Islamophobia? In any case, those Democrats attacking Bernie as an anti-Semite are acting like the very worst of Trump’s own supporters.

Democrats should follow the example of Jimmy Carter and refuse to ally themselves with Donald Trump and Netanyahu and their racist right wing governments.

Solidarity with Jimmy Carter

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin shake hands after signing the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt September 17, 1978.

Jimmy Carter will forever go down in history as the first (and possibly only) US President to have actually brought “peace to the Middle East”. As a Baptist minister and a deeply devout Christian, Carter wanted to see peace brought to the Holy Land and struggled during his term in office to conclude the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt – leading to a landmark peace treaty that still holds to this day.

Carter has nonetheless described Israel today as a modern-day “Apartheid state” and his 2006 bestselling book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid describes the many injustices that have been visited on the Palestinians by their Israeli occupiers. In a March 2006 Op-Ed in The Guardian, Carter wrote:

The book describes the abominable oppression and persecution in the occupied Palestinian territories, with a rigid system of required passes and strict segregation between Palestine’s citizens and Jewish settlers in the West Bank. An enormous imprisonment wall is now under construction, snaking through what is left of Palestine, to encompass more and more land for Israeli settlers. In many ways, this is more oppressive than what black people lived under in South Africa during apartheid.

Jimmy Carter’s 2006 book condemned Israel as a modern-day Apartheid state.

Carter goes on to lament the lack of perspective and compassion among US politicians:

It would be almost politically suicidal for members of Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine, to suggest that Israel comply with international law or to speak in defence of justice or human rights for Palestinians … This reluctance to criticise policies of the Israeli government is due to the extraordinary lobbying efforts of the American-Israel Political Action Committee and the absence of any significant contrary voices.

The last part of the above quote should embarrass and shame us all – it shows that back in 2006 none other than Jimmy Carter was stating the obvious facts for which Rep. Ilhan Omar would be so viciously condemned 12 years later. Worse yet, much of that criticism would come from fellow Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the House Leadership.

Attacks by Republicans – The Big Lie

Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo belong to a doomsday cult — and may be trying to bring on the apocalypse

If the Antisemitism smear is coming from a Republican, then a different defense should be made

Like so many smears, GOP smears of Antisemitism are pursuing the old Goebbels strategy of accusing their opponents of that of which they themselves are guilty. Republicans, led by Trump, are pursuing an Israel strategy that is based on “Christian Zionism”, something that is fervently embraced by Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo, in which they blindly and fanatically support Israel in all things, believing that in so doing they will help fulfill the Prophecies of the rise of the of Israel and thus precipitate the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

At which point, Jesus will wipe out all the Jews who have not yet converted to Christianity.

Hmm. That seems like real Antisemitism to me.

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Smear #23: “Bernie has never been vetted, he’s been given a pass …etc.”

This smear is another one that I would have thought would disappear given all the blatant facts in evidence to the contrary. But no – there are still some people out there claiming that Bernie is popular only because no one has really challenged him, no one has investigated him, no one has really attacked him.

Crazy, right? I mean, if that were the case then I would not be writing my 23rd article to defend him.

Indeed, anyone who thinks that Bernie has somehow been given a free pass simply needs to read my posts below:

The Smears Against Bernie Must Be Stopped – Here’s How to Do It

The #NeverBernie Media Narrative Must Be Stopped – Here’s How to Do It

But there is an abundance of other proof available.

Campaign 2016 – Bernie attacked early and often – By Democrats

Funnily enough, this attack claiming that Bernie has not been given enough “scrutiny” is already very old and tired.

From POLITICO, June 25, 2015:

Claire McCaskill unloads on Bernie Sanders

“I think that the media is giving Bernie a pass right now,” McCaskill said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I very rarely read in any coverage of Bernie that he’s a socialist. I think everybody wants a fight and I think they are not really giving the same scrutiny to Bernie Sanders that they’re giving to, certainly, Hillary Clinton and the other candidates.”

From Huffington Post, September 14, 2015:

A Pro-Clinton Super PAC Is Going Negative On Bernie Sanders

The Super PAC, called “Correct the Record” spent over $1 million attacking and smearing Sanders and his supporters during the Primaries through social media and mass emails.

From Salon, September 15, 2015:

Let the anti-Bernie Sanders red-baiting begin: Hillary Clinton’s super PAC wants you to know that he’s a socialist

From FAIR, March 8, 2016:

Washington Post Ran 16 Negative Stories on Bernie Sanders in 16 Hours

From, March 2016:

Clinton Campaign Boosted By More Rumors And Dishonest Attacks Against Sanders

Campaign 2020 – Here we go again …

From May 29, 2019 (Diane Ravitch):

The “New York Times” vs. Senator Bernie Sanders

Sydney Ember: her dad was CEO of Bain Capital.

Ravitch points out that the columnist who has been assigned to cover the Sanders campaign, Sydney Ember, is guilty of being consistently negative and biased in her coverage. This is not surprising given that Ms. Ember is a millionaire and a corporate elitist, as explained by Katie Halper:

Meet Sydney Ember, the New York Times’ Senior Anti-Bernie Correspondent

Ember came to the New York Times with a resumé limited to the finance industry: She was an analyst for BlackRock, the biggest global investment management corporation, and the largest investor in coal plant developers in the world. (Her husband, Mike Bechek, is also in the investment business; he was a senior associate consultant at Bain Capital, where his father was CEO.)

From POLITICO, July 15, 2019:

Sanders campaign: Media ‘find Bernie annoying, discount his seriousness’

From In These Times, November 13, 2019:

MSNBC Is the Most Influential Network Among Liberals—And It’s Ignoring Bernie Sanders

Sanders…received less coverage on MSNBC than Biden or Warren. Of the three candidates, Sanders was least likely to be mentioned positively (12.9% of his mentions) and most likely to be mentioned negatively (20.7%).

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Smear #24: “Bernie is too far Left; he can’t win the general election – he will be another McGovern”

People who claim that Bernie is “too far Left” are mired in a false narrative that the Democratic Party itself has been fostering for decades in order to suppress and thwart Progressives.

We’ve all heard this argument many times and in many different ways. “We can’t go too far to the Left because then we will lose the swing states and the swing voters, and [INSERT REPUBLICAN] will win. It will be another landslide disaster like we had with George McGovern in 1972.”

Skip to the Quick Response

The story of the McGovern loss is one that still dominates the debate among Democrats. Similar to the story of the “spoiler effect” of Ralph Nader in 2000, the fable of the McGovern debacle was created by the Democratic Elites and it has been nurtured and promoted by the Democratic Establishment to the point where it has become a matter of canon, a cautionary tale that cannot be questioned.

But this narrative is not based on the actual facts.

That was Then, This is Now

In 1972 President Nixon had an approval rating of over 62%

Firstly, we need to look at the very different circumstances that obtained in 1972. Unlike Trump in 2020, Richard Nixon in 1972 had a very high approval rating of well over 60%.The country was still at war in Vietnam, but Nixon and Kissinger were having talks with the North Vietnamese that they promised would deliver “peace with honor.” This argument, combined with generally high approval ratings, made Nixon a formidable foe.

Secondly, the stakes did not seem to be as high as they are today. Nixon was nowhere near the divisive figure that Trump is. Nixon had actually enacted several progressive milestones in his first term: establishing OSHA, creating the Environmental Protection Agency, passing the first Clean Air Act and proposing a new healthcare system to cover poor and working families that is actually more progressive than today’s Affordable Care Act.

Nixon ran on a very progressive platform, often to McGovern’s LEFT on economic social and environmental issues.

Indeed, Nixon was so progressive in his Presidency that McGovern was forced to center his candidacy on ending the Vietnam War by withdrawing immediately, a strategy which Republicans called “cut and run” and one which as mentioned above was blunted by Nixon’s own promises of an “honorable” peace. When Henry Kissinger delivered his “October surprise” by announcing that “peace is at hand” just 10 days before Americans went to the polls, that pretty much dealt a death blow to McGovern’s anti-war platform.

Why a Landslide?

Nixon won the 1972 election 1ith over 60.7% of the popular vote, winning every State except Massachusetts. This dramatic defeat, however, was only made possible by the Democratic Party Establishment, which worked overtime against McGovern to ensure that he was soundly and roundly defeated.

Over 50% of Americans polled said Nixon’s trip to China “improved world peace.”

McGovern’s anti-war platform was blasted to pieces as Nixon rocketed to the top of the polls based on foreign affairs: the incumbent could justifiably claim that he was not only winding down the war in Vietnam, but also cooling off the Cold War, thanks to his famous trip to China.

And regarding the domestic issues and the economy, as Joshua Mound wrote in The New Republic:

Any Democratic nominee was doomed in 1972. Modern election forecasting models based on variables like the state of the economy and the incumbent’s approval ratings make clear, in retrospect, that Nixon was destined to win in a landslide. Taking any guesswork out of the result, Nixon stoked the economy with expansive fiscal and monetary policy, and when polls showed that the public preferred McGovern on issues like inflation and taxes, Nixon shifted to the left. He took the unprecedented step of instituting wage-price controls to clamp down on inflation and promised to sock it to the rich and slash tax rates on the working class if reelected.

Remember: 1972 was the year of Watergate, and Nixonian “Dirty Tricks” were deployed with gusto throughout the campaign. These nefarious tactics also helped Nixon to get an edge on McGovern.

Jimmy Carter and Hubert Humphrey led the “Anyone but McGovern” movement.

“Anyone but McGovern”

McGovern’s defeat was, then, more or less certain, but the scale of the defeat was helped by fellow Democrats. During the 1972 Primary campaign, an adviser for Hubert Humphrey, one of McGovern’s main opponents for the nomination, promised, “We are going to show that McGovern is a radical, just like Goldwater was in 1964.” There was even an “anyone but McGovern” movement at the Democratic Convention, led by the centrist Southerner, Jimmy Carter.

“Acid, Amnesty and Abortion”

McGovern and his supporters were immediately condemned and portrayed as hippies and radical Leftists, not just by Republicans, but also by the Democratic Establishment. As Mound writes in The New Republic:

A Democrat even handed Republicans their best attack line: “The people don’t know McGovern is for amnesty, abortion, and legalization of pot,” an unnamed Democratic senator told the press. Hugh Scott, the GOP’s Senate minority leader, transformed the quote into “the three A’s: Acid, Amnesty, and Abortion” and a golden political slur was born.

The Superdelegate system had not yet been created, so there was little that the Party Elites could do to thwart the will of the base when it came to delegate counting at the convention. Once the “Anyone But McGovern” movement failed, however, things proceeded to get even more slimy.

“Democrats for Nixon”

John Connally was a powerful Democrat, a former ex-Governor of Texas who played kingmaker on both sides of the aisle. He had helped Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower get elected, and he had helped LBJ as well. But he was, at heart, a conservative, and so he formed “Democrats for Nixon“, an organization funded by Republicans but one with prominent pro-military war-hawk Democrats at its head, including several Democratic Governors and the Mayors of cities such as Miami, Boston and Nashville. Democrats for Nixon even ran a series of ads portraying McGovern as dangerous for wanting to cut military spending.

Epilogue: Superdelegates

It was after the 1972 campaign that the Democrats decided to establish the Superdelegate system to ensure that the Party apparatchiks were able to select the candidate that they wanted, even if the base wanted someone else. They used McGovern’s loss to Nixon to justify this move, but in reality the Superdelegate system has nothing to do with electability. Superdelegates exist solely to ensure that no progressive, anti-war candidate can win the nomination, so as to spare the Party the embarrassment and expense of having to disown, disavow and sabotage their own candidate.

And it works! Thanks to the built-in, institutionalized corruption of the Superdelegate system, we have not had to seen the rise of groups and Super PACs such as Democrats for Dole, Democrats for Bush, Democrats for McCain, or Democrats for Romney.

Given the recent comments of people like Hillary Clinton, however, we may well see the emergence of a “Democrats for Trump” movement if Bernie becomes the nominee.

The Quick Response

To respond quickly and effectively to this smear, raise the following points:

  • Nixon was one of the most popular incumbents in history during a time of war who ran on a progressive platform of peace and prosperity through massive government spending designed to capture working class voters and environmentalists;
  • Nixon and the GOP were playing dirty in order to rig the race; the Watergate break in was just one operation where they got caught;
  • Despite all of Nixon’s advantages, and his cheating, McGovern would have done much better at the polls if the Democratic Party had supported him instead of denying him support and financing and even running against him openly;
  • When they say that Bernie will be another McGovern are they actually threatening to  form “Democrats for Trump” in order to help defeat their own candidate, like they did in 1972?

Anti-Bernie Smear #25: “Bernie wants to let prisoners vote – even the Boston Bomber!”

People who oppose letting prisoners vote often do not have the necessary facts in order to make a rational decision.

Some Statistics about the US Prison Population

First, let’s be clear about how many people we are talking about. The United States has the largest prison population in the world, with 2,228,424 prisoners. In other words, the US is only 5% of the world’s population, but has 25% of the world’s prison population. That’s double the amount of China, who ranks second with 1,701,344, yet has a population five times greater than the US.


  • 97% of 125,000 federal inmates have been convicted of non-violent crimes.
  • 66% of the one million state prisoners have committed non-violent offenses.
  • 16% of the country’s prisoners suffer from mental illness.
  • More than half of the 623,000 inmates in municipal or county jails are innocent of the crimes they are accused of.
  • Of these, the majority are awaiting trial.

America is Exceptional: Why?

Israel allows prisoners to vote. This is a polling station in Rimonim Prison (Photo: Gur Dotan for Yediot Aharonot)

When it comes to refusing to let prisoners vote, the US is exceptional among the world’s democracies. Most democratic societies including most of Europe, Scandinavia and even Israel allow their prisoners to vote. This is because most democracies realize that in order to have a democracy, the right to vote must be seen as inviolable, irrevocable and fundamental to civic life.

The US is unique not only in its refusal to allow prisoners to vote, but also in the way that prison LABOR remains an integral and increasingly important part of America’s overall industrial output. The USA is unique in the way that it exploits its own citizens through a criminal justice system that amount to quasi-slavery.

Prisoners are Citizens

When you are convicted of a crime in the US, the State does not strip you of your citizenship. As long as a person remains a citizen of the US, that person has not just the right but the OBLIGATION to vote. In a democracy, it is the duty of every citizen to vote. Being incarcerated does not mean someone stops being a citizen.

Prisoners are counted in the US Census. This means that the number of Congressional Representatives and the number of votes in the Electoral College votes that are assigned to a State are based on that State’s population, which *includes* the prison population.

The Prison Industrial Complex

In the federal prison system in the United States, all prison inmates who are physically able to work are required to do so – AND they are required to pay Federal income taxes on all monies earned.
Thirty-seven states have legalized prison labor contracts for private corporations in prisons. Some of these companies are IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more.

In addition to private for profit enterprises, US prison labor is used to make uniforms, helmets and other items for the military.

Indeed, prison labor is used to make a variety of products, from military gear to sports equipment, fashion garments and shoes, even high tech computer equipment. Moreover because prisoners are paid so little (often < $1 an hour), the “prison industrial complex” is now capturing market share from Third World nations that can no longer compete with the slave wages of America’s incarcerated workforce:

Thanks to prison labor, the United States is once again an attractive location for investment in work that was designed for Third World labor markets. A company that operated a maquiladora (assembly plant in Mexico near the border) closed down its operations there and relocated to San Quentin State Prison in California. In Texas, a factory fired its 150 workers and contracted the services of prisoner-workers from the private Lockhart Texas prison, where circuit boards are assembled for companies like IBM and Compaq.

The prison population has exploded over the past decades, as the prison industrial complex has become a privatized industry unto itself, with trade shows, conventions and other activities normally associated with “free enterprise”:
“The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”

Kamala Harris

The topic of prison labor has even been an issue in the 2020 Presidential Primary, where candidate Kamala Harris came under fire for having opposed an early prisoner release program for prisoners in California because it would have caused a disruption to the State’s labor pool.

Americans need to recognize that many prisoners are in jail not because they are a threat to society but because they provide cheap labor to US corporations. 

The Boston Bomber and the Slippery Slope

First, let us be clear: Prisoners work, they pay taxes and they are counted as citizens by the Census for the purposes of allocating seats in Congress. Stripping a productive, tax-paying citizen of their right to vote for the people who are representing them in government is an outrage, as it is a literal case of  “taxation without representation”. We fought a war over that outrage.
I know there are critics who will say that it’s OK for some prisoners to vote, but not for others. For example, those guilty of marijuana possession or burglary can vote,  but not those convicted of manslaughter or murder. Or maybe everyone is OK except terrorists like the Boston Bomber.
The problem is that once a universal law is made non-universal, it is easy to keep chipping away at it. The idea of who is “deserving” of the right to vote becomes subjective. But in a country where even the mentally ill are allowed to exercise their “2nd Amendment Right” to bear arms, we must recognize that voting is a fundamental and integral part of American citizenship. To impose limits on such a “universal” right is dangerous.
This “slippery slope” argument why we do not have means testing for universal programs such as Social Security or Medicare, and many believe that the iron-clad universality of those programs is the ONLY reason why they have survived all the decades of GOP cuts. 
Bernie is correct when he says that any person who is a citizen of the USA and is 18 years of age is entitled to vote, period.

The Practical Reasons for Allowing Prisoners to Vote

For every 100 people eligible to vote in the United States, at least 2 of them are in jail. When we have Presidential elections that turn on only 1% or 2% difference in the electorate, this can be a deciding factor.

For example: in 2016, Hillary Clinton lost the state of Michigan to Donald Trump by a margin of only 0.23% of the vote, or 10,704 votes. Michigan locks up a high percentage of its people,  In 2016 Michigan had over 64,000 prisoners in their jails and prisons, a majority of whom were people of color. Allowing prisoners to vote in Michigan could thus have had a major impact on the outcome of the election.

It’s All About Racism

Aha!! I hear Republicans scream – you Democrats just want to increase the number of people who will vote for you! This is a specious argument, because it presupposes that either (1) the US “criminal justice system” is a racist institution that locks up poor, indigenous, black and brown people disproportionately, or that (2) the person making this accusation is themselves a racist who believes that such people are inherently or innately more criminal than their own base. In the case of the former, the solution is not to strip people of their rights, but to create a more just system. In the case of the latter, well … racism is not a legitimate basis of argument.

Anti-Bernie Smear #26: “Bernie is like Trump and/or his supporters are just like Trump’s”

Saying that “Bernie is just a Trump of the Left” is an intellectually lazy way to criticize a candidate. When you cannot fault him on policy or personal grounds, you go after his base of support. Such an attack is as despicable as it is stupid.


Many benighted liberals at outlets ranging from the Washington Post to The Daily Beast like to concern troll by condemning Bernie for seeing things as too black and white yet they themselves are quick to dismiss the Bernie movement as simply “Trumpism of the left.” That is patently absurd. Firstly, conservatives and fascists are the ones who crave authoritarianism. If this mindset is to be found anywhere outside of the GOP then it is only to be found in the “vote blue no matter who” shock troops of the Democratic Party, who stand ready to condemn anyone who will not follow orders.

Even worse, neoliberal pols like Pete Buttigieg are explicitly condemning Bernie supporters by comparing them directly with Trump supporters. It is almost as if passion, enthusiasm and commitment in politics have become gauche, unacceptable and defined only as hallmarks of the Right.

Yes. It has come to this.

How things have changed.

When I was a young Democrat, we used to say that “Republicans fall in line, Democrats fall in love.” That axiom seems to have been tossed to the curb, discarded along with Keynesian economics and the New Deal ideology of standing for the working class. The centrist or “moderate” corporate Democrats have now completed their transformation into Republicans (just Republicans who are OK with abortion and gay marriage).

We must all “fall in line” and be practical and listen to our leaders and our betters, our thought police and the corporate think tanks. Heck, it’s not just Obama liberals like Jonathan Chait, it’s also unabashed Republican neocons like Bret Stephens, Max Boot and Jennifer Rubin who are falling all over each other to tell us Democrats how we should vote, and why. It is a sad day when Democrats have to get their political marching orders from the mouths of neocon Republican pundits. But hey, I never thought I would see Democrats protesting vigorously to defend an unreconstructed racist like Jeff Sessions or a war criminal like John Bolton.

But I digress.

Those who try to equate Bernie with Trump have joined that most insidious cohort of neoliberals and #NeverTrump dead-enders who are clutching their pearls in horror at the thought of a potential resurrection of the Party of FDR, i.e., one that stands more with the blue collar working class than with the PMC; a Party that represents Main St. rather than Wall St.

Jennifer Rubin is an American conservative columnist who writes the “Right Turn” blog for The Washington Post.

But even the so-called “liberal” outlets like NPR are quick to compare Bernie to Trump …

The idea behind this “Trumpism of the Left” argument is fairly clear: it is to portray the agenda of Bernie Sanders as extreme and as unpopular as the policies of Donald Trump, while also trying to portray Bernie himself as an uncompromising, extremist who is also then to be rejected like Trump.

Passionate? Yeah. Engaged? Yeah. Willing to fight? HELL yeah!

When they aren’t comparing Bernie himself with Trump, the elitist media like to go after the supporters of Sanders, portraying them as equally unhinged, ill-informed and/or violent. That these neoliberal elitists would compare “#NotMeUs” to “#MAGA” is profoundly telling. It means they are either intellectually lazy, deliberately obtuse or just one more dissembling propagandist.

That said, Berners in 2016 developed a reputation for taking “direct action” against Trump, protesting his rallies and forcefully ejecting Trump infiltrators from Bernie events.

CHICAGO, IL – MARCH 11: Demonstrators react after learning a rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the University of Illinois at Chicago would be postponed on March 11, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The campaign decided to postpone the rally, citing safety concerns, after learning hundreds of demonstrators were given tickets for the event. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)


It helps to be organized, and that is what the Bernie Movement is all about.

Going to war with the army that we have

Within the Bernie Movement there are millions of activists, supporters and allies who are ready to mobilize on a moment’s notice. We are ready to get in the streets and fight because we know that is what it is going to take for us to bring real change to America.

But in the meantime, it is what we will need to defeat Trump and his MAGA army.

Anti-Bernie Smear #27: “Bernie is a Communist, He Honeymooned in the USSR!”

Bernie is often attacked for having taken a trip to the USSR in the late 1980’s. This attack is as ancient and outdated as it is erroneous.



Firstly, this is a very old smear and was used against Bernie in his earlier campaigns, back wen the USSR was still in existence! And given the fact that the USSR no longer exists, it’s surprising that people still use it. But then again, we have seen Democrats and others refer to today’s Russia as “Soviets” and “Communists”, so it is not surprising that the most ignorant will still pull this chestnut out of the bag.

Here’s the real story:

In 1988, when Sanders was mayor of Burlington, the city formed a “twin” city relationship with a Russian city called Yaroslavl — Remember, this was one year before the Berlin Wall fell, at the height of Gorby’s Perestroika and the thawing of East-West relations. The sister-city program was a total success and is still going on today — see Burlington has sister city programs with other cities around the world, in France, Japan, Nicaragua, Israel and Palestine.

Burlington’s “Sister Cities” program promotes understanding and cultural exchange with various cities around the world, including one in Russia.

Sanders traveled on an official trip to meet his counterpart, the mayor of Yaroslavl. The trip, which was made with 10 other people, including prominent business people and city officials, was scheduled for the day after his wedding, so he invited his wife to come along. Now, you can say that maybe he should not have taken his wife on a trip for official city business, but you cannot make any more out of it than that.

The video itself is of poor quality, but it is still possible to see that Bernie is not drinking vodka, and he is not singing Soviet songs – unless you consider Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” to be a communist hymn.

As part of their official Sister City delegation visit to Yaroslavl, Bernie and the rest of his delegation visited a sauna. Oh, the horror!

So Why Did He Do It?

The 1980’s  was a time of great tension between the US and the USSR, whom then President Ronald Reagan openly called,”the Empire of Evil.” Bernie opposed Reagan in almost every way, and especially on the aggressive and bellicose attotude Reagan took toward the Soviet Union. As Holly Otterbein wrote in POLITICO:

As mayor, Sanders worried about a potential nuclear war and railed against the bloated military budgets of both the United States and the Soviet Union. A year before the trip, he laid out his vision for a sister-city relationship. “By encouraging citizen-to-citizen exchanges — of young people, artists and musicians, business people, public officials, and just plain ordinary citizens,” he said in a speech, “we can break down the barriers and stereotypes which exist between the Soviet Union and the United States.”

It is not wonder, then, that Bernie Sanders is the President we need to reduce tensions and seek diplomatic resolutions rather tan go to war. His philosophy of peace and understanding extends beyond the confines of the USA, and he will use this ecumenical worldview to power everything from his peace initiative to a truly global Green New Deal.

Anti-Bernie Smear #28: “Bernie Will Hurt Democrats Running Down Ballot”

Now that Bernie Sanders is the presumptive nominee, and clearly the people’s choice to head the Democratic ticket in November, the Party Elites and their minions in the media are flailing about in an attempt to find some reason to oppose his nomination and overturn the will of the voters.

The narrative they are pushing, however, is a cynical reversal of their prior positions. It is also precisely wrong, and we have the receipts.

Jump to the Quick Response

In 2016, the DNC and swing state candidates were BEGGING for Bernie’s help.

Indeed, even conservative Jon Tester of Montana was eager to have Bernie help out in getting Democratic Senators elected. And many Senatorial candidates in 2016 were eager to have Bernie come and lend some star-power – especially in those states where Hillary Clinton was not very popular.

Sanders’ political operation and aides at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee “talk all the time,” Tester said. The Vermont senator’s fundraising prowess, particularly in garnering small-dollar donations, will be a top strength for Senate candidates, party officials said. Democrats need to flip at least four Republican-held seats to reclaim the Senate majority in November.

One of those swing states was Nevada, where Bernie campaigned with Catherine Cortez Masto and helped her to become elected as the first Latina Senator in the country.

Alas, in 2016 Bernie was not always able to help pull the candidates across the line. But therein also lies a tale relative to 2020:

Bernie campaigned with Katie McGinty in PA, but Michael Bloomberg spent $12 million to get the Republican elected.

In Pennsylvania, the 2016 Senatorial candidate, Katie McGinty, was eager to have Bernie campaign with her. Bernie happily obliged, campaigning all over the State. But not even Bernie’s help could overcome the tremendous money advantage of the GOP incumbent, Pat Toomey. This was because Toomey had received $12 million in donations from none other than Michael Bloomberg. That tsunami of Bloomberg cash allowed Toomey to barely squeak by, winning by less than 2 points.

How ironic, then, that Sanders and Bloomberg now face each other directly. Even more ironic, it is in a Democratic Primary and not a general election.

Bernie Barnstormed for Democrats in 2018

In 2018 Bernie was able to achieve historic, progressive wins in the “still purple” state of Colorado. As Newsweek proclaimed:

Sanders…helped make history in Colorado where Democrat Joe Neguse pulled out more than 60 percent of the vote to become the first African American elected to the House by The Centennial State. Neguse, 34, will also be one of the youngest members of Congress when he takes office next year.

Bernie also helped Jared Polis become Governor of Colorado, the first openly gay Governor to be elected in the US.

Bernie helped elect the nation’s first gay Governor in “purple” CO

Bernie Helps Flip Seats

Bernie helped Jacky Rosen become Senator for Nevada, unseating incumbent Republican Dean Heller in a tight race that Sanders was able to sway in the final days.

He did this, even though Rosen opposes Bernie’s signature plan, Medicare For All.

Bernie campaigned successfully for Jacky Rosen – even though they do not agree on issues like Healthcare.

Bernie helped Mike Levin win Darrell Issa’s seat in California’s Republican-leaning 49th District, which had not elected a Democrat since 2000.

Bernie helped flip a House seat in CA that had been GOP since 2000.

Bernie Helps Moderates as Well

Bernie helped Tammy Baldwin overcome a massive GOP campaign against her

When Trump won Wisconsin, the GOP and the Koch Brothers put everything they had into defeating the Democratic Senate candidate, Tammy Baldwin.

Nonetheless, Tammy invited Bernie Sanders to come campaign with her, to highlight Medicare For All and other parts of their shared agenda.

WPR reported that even in conservative Eau Claire, WI, “The crowd was electrified when Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, was introduced to the podium” – this was in defiance of the “traditional wisdom” being put out at the time:

Baldwin is known as a moderate Democrat, which makes her appearance with Sanders, a self-identified as a Democratic socialist, notable. In a statement released prior to the rally, the Republican Party of Wisconsin said she is relying on her far-left allies to prop up her campaign in a time Wisconsin is favoring Republicans.

Thanks to Bernie’s help, Tammy Baldwin went on to win despite having a record breaking $3 million in negative ads launched against her.

Bernie didn’t back Gretchen Whitmer in the primary, but helped her win the general election.

Bernie even stumped for Gretchen Whitmer, who was not a pro-Bernie candidate. Despite having backed her opponent in the Primary, Bernie held huge rallies for Gretchen and helped her reclaim the Michigan Governor’s mansion after 8 years of GOP control under Rick Snyder.

This fact alone contradicts the ridiculous assertion by Mayor Pete and others that Bernie is an “extremist” who demands that all Democrats conform to his brand of progressivism.

Pete Buttigieg likes to describe Bernie’s politics as “my way or the highway” but the FACTS tell a different story. Wherever Bernie could be of help he has happily jumped in to support ANY Democrat in a general election, even those who had defeated his preferred candidate in the Primary.

And in many, many cases, Bernie has helped those candidates to WIN.

Quick Response

Some say Bernie will hurt down-ballot candidates, but the truth is:

  1. Bernie is revered and appreciated by the DSCC for his ability to turn out voters and to help raise small dollar donations.
  2. The DNC, DSCC and DCCC all BEGGED Bernie to campaign all over the country in battleground states to help Democrats in both 2016 and 2018.
  3. Bernie’s participation drove turnout and helped those candidates WIN in many instances.
  4. Bernie stumped successfully even for those Democratic candidates whom he had not endorsed in the Primary.

About Euroyankee

EuroYankee is a dual citizen, US-EU. He travels around Europe, writing on politics, culture and such. He pays his US taxes so he gets to weigh in on what is happening in the States.
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