Bernie Sanders betrayed his supporters and everything he stood for Tuesday when he threw his support to Hillary Clinton, but I can’t say I was surprised.
Way back in the early Paleolithic Days of the Iowa caucuses when I witnessed a Bernie event at a college in Des Moines, I sensed the Sanders campaign was actually a preening charade, an exercise in pure moral narcissism with nothing underneath.
It was all about Bernie showing off, pretending he was the most idealistic guy on the commune, come to set things right in this country of greedy hustlers.
But even at my most cynical about Bernie I had no idea he would sell out his campaign for virtually nothing – some trivialities about in-state college tuition in a party platform no one will pay attention to after a week, certainly not Hillary Clinton, a woman both the FBI and the State Department (not to mention anyone with eyes and ears) have demonstrated is somewhat less honest than Boss Tweed.
Can you imagine what Bill and Hillary say to each other about Bernie out of earshot? That would be amusing dialogue to overhear in a black comic sort of way. It won’t take more than that week for them to be yucking it up again with their pals at Goldman Sachs. Everyone knows how the game is played, even Bernie.
Which makes him more of a sellout and worse, a coward. No wonder so many of his supporters are furious. They should be. First Bernie brainwashed them with his cliché-ridden socialist propaganda and then he left them high and dry.
The scary part was how many of those young people believed his palaver. What Bernie performed in this campaign – and I know this is an extreme statement – was a form of child abuse, misleading a generation of American youth.
What Bernie demonstrated (inadvertently) more than anything was the massive breakdown in our educational system. His followers didn’t know from nothin.’ They were completely incapable of analyzing what he said. They had no historical or even contemporary context.
I saw that writ large when I interviewed his supporters for a video before that rally in Des Moines. Moveon.org was sponsoring the event. When I asked the young people online how they felt about billionaires like Trump in politics, they all unsurprisingly condemned it. When I told them several billionaires financed Moveon, they were dumbfounded. Nah, couldn’t be. George Soros – who’s that?
Bernie, of course, did not explain any of this to them in his speech. It was, shall we say, an inconvenient truth.
“Bernie the Faker” sounds like a Bernard Malamud short story from the 1950s, or perhaps Sholem Aleichem, a folksy Yiddish tale with a wry ending, essentially harmless. But the Sanders campaign has not been harmless at all. In this strangest of electoral seasons, it may ultimately prove to have been the most destructive because it was the most misleading to our most impressionable citizens. Everybody knows who Hillary Clinton is and everyone knows who Donald Trump is. They are both out there for the world to see, warts (for sure) and all. But Bernie Sanders has gotten a pass for his warts. He’s just some lovable, if slightly daft, uncle. No, he’s not.
Roger L. Simon is a prize-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His book—I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already—is just published by Encounter. You can read an excerpt here. You can see a brief interview about the book with the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal here. You can hear an interview about the book with Mark Levin here. You can order the book here.
(Artwork created using a modified Shutterstock.com image.)