As Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley take the stage on Saturday night for the Democratic debate, the talk is expected to be partially about the Sanders-DNC scandal, according to CNN on Saturday. Sanders’ camp says Sanders was sabotaged. Worse yet, they say they were sabotaged by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. While Sanders and the DNC have apparently smoothed things over with his access to data restored before airtime at 8 PM, ABC is likely hoping the controversy continues and will help get ratings like a Trump affair. After the debate, regardless of who wins, the people on social media will have their say in an attempt to influence voters.
During 2015, many articles have been written about all of the major candidates leading up to the 2016 presidential election. One thing that most of the major players has, at this point in time, is the online support received by their many supporters. By far, most of the politicians’ supporters fight for their candidate by saying what their candidate will do for Americans and what one or more of their rivals won’t do for America. Those comments on social media, when intelligent and accurate, can help a candidate. The comments may give a potential voter pause. A supporter of one candidate might take a closer look at another candidate and shift his support to another candidate. In fact, social media may have more impact on a voter than the debates.
The Trump supporters, the Clinton supporters, the Rubio supporters, the Cruz supporters, the Carson supporters, the Bush supporters, the Fiorina supporters and more have done a decent job of teaching social media readers about their candidates. The omission from the list of candidate supporters who are of online benefit to their candidate is Bernie Sanders’ supporters. Take a look at the type of responses Bernie Sanders’ supporters give when tough questions or uncomplimentary comments are made about Sanders. When his supporters ought to be defending their candidate with information and reason, quite often – most often – they do not. Sanders’ supporters rarely are found to back up their criticism of anyone who criticizes Sanders. Whether it is because they don’t know any defense or they don’t have any defense, they don’t respond informatively with convincing defense of their candidate. They come across as treating their candidate as a latest fad – a fad that they desperately want to see win the election. Their defense of the man is practically nil.
Criticize Trump and the supporters come out in droves to say his immigration policy and his recent comment on scrutiny of Muslims are the right things to do due to terrorism throughout the world. Criticize Hillary and you will read all kinds of responses saying that there is no absolute proof of wrong-doing regarding her Benghazi, email, and other scandals. Criticize Rubio, Cruz or even Chris Christie and there is a sense of thought-out logic in the responses from the people supporting their candidacy. Criticize Carly Fiorina and you hear about her personal strengths and her plans to undo Obamacare and more that she finds to be unfit for the United States.
Then take a look at a social media commenters’ thread after an article that dares suggest something not-so-positive about Bernie Sanders. There is little-to-no defense of what the throngs of Sanders’ supporters are fighting against – or for. A thread that isn’t positive about Sanders has nothing but negative critiques of the media sources or the writers of the news and opinion articles. They claim that the media source is “in bed” with Hillary – but say nothing about what would disprove any talk in the article against Sanders. They claim that the writer of a negative piece about Sanders uses too many adverbs and has bad grammar – but his supporters say nothing about what would disprove any talk against Sanders. Criticize Sanders for something he may have unwisely said at a debate as when he sounded defensive of Hillary’s “damn emails.” Instead of his supporters giving one iota of logic as to why he did such a thing or instead of using the opportunity to attack Hillary and her emails, which would help Bernie – Sanders’ supporters say hardly anything of relevance that would defend Sanders for having defended Hillary’s emails. News stories about Bernie having folded at an event for Black Lives Matter were taken as criticisms by his supporters – but the supporters have said nothing about why that was a positive for Sanders. They only tended to bash the media, writers, and social media commenters for having brought the story up.
Running around social media suggesting that people need to ‘feel the Bern’ is not working. Yes, other candidates have their slogans which have caught on, but along with those slogans there is a degree of substance about their candidate worth reading. One of the reasons Bernie may have been dropping in the polls is that there is little-to-no substance coming from his supporters. His supporters come across as if it’s a junior high election for president of the 8th grade class. They can’t tell you why you should support their best friend, but – damn it – you better! Furthermore, there’s hell to pay if you dare challenge anything he says or does.
Bernie Sanders supporters would be wise to stop criticizing the messengers of the Sanders’ news stories that fill the media outlets regarding his poll numbers and more about the candidate. First of all, they need to accept the messengers’ news stories that are consistently written. After all, not every news source writing that Sanders has low poll numbers is out to get him – or in support of Hillary. They’re just reporting on poll results. It doesn’t help to stay that all the writers of such news people liars or idiots. Denying the polls, claiming that the reporters who write about the poll results are liars, and attacking supporters of other candidates – as if you’re defending your best friend in a junior high election instead of a presidential candidate – is not winning the election yet. And, it probably won’t win the election for Bernie.
Try this. Take a deep breath, stifle yourself before you lash out, and then say something that will help Sanders and not make him look like a passing fad that will be a Jeopardy! question before our next president is sworn in in January of 2017.
The hashtag #AnybodyButHillary2016 has been going around for a long time on social media. It’s a common desire of people on social media. But it is doubtful that the alternative from Hillary is going to be Bernie Sanders if his supporters don’t get serious with some facts about why he is the better candidate and by telling the damage a Hillary Clinton presidency would do. Again, just posting “feel the Bern” while calling people liars isn’t convincing anyone to support your guy. In fact, it’s driving them away. In order to get some facts, try listening to the debate on Saturday night. According to Newsweek, it will be monitored by David Muir and Martha Raddatz.