It’s happening once more. In fact, it never stopped. But it has seemed to ramp up recently. All of the online fuckery that kept us in a nearly constant state of anger and agitation in 2016, while simultaneously creating an opening for Trump to get into the White House, is upon us again. Several news reports have indicated that Russian troll-farms are filling social media with disinformation meant to keep Americans divided, attack Democratic candidates, and sow chaos in the run up to 2020.
One particularly insidious concept has been simply flipped and re-applied in reverse. In 2016, Twitter and Facebook saw frequent use of the #NeverHillary hashtag. The idea was that Hillary Clinton was such a monster (she wasn’t) and that Bernie Sanders had been cheated out of the Democratic nomination (he wasn’t – he lost) that people could not in good conscience vote for her. Even against Trump.
It was bullshit, and it’s happening again. Only this time it’s #NeverBernie folks who are pissed off at Bernie for various reasons, including how long it took for him to finally endorse/stump for Hillary, as well as the damaging political narratives that he espoused during the campaign.
Look, I’m not happy with Bernie these days either. Although I supported him early in the 2016 race and he was by far my first choice, I ultimately voted for Clinton. Because that’s what reasonable people do. But the point is, since then, a lot of things have changed. I no longer see Bernie as someone I will throw my support behind. Does this mean that I would not vote for him, should he become the Democratic nominee? OF COURSE NOT.
This is not a game. Trump and Republicans are taking us down a road to authoritarianism. They are fascists. The lot of them. Not to mention, they are part of a larger scheme by Russia to install Trump as an authoritarian puppet of Vladimir Putin. No matter how odious people might find Bernie, he is by far – BY FAR – a better choice than Trump. Unless the 2020 race reveals Bernie to be a serial killer or something along those lines, I refuse to buy the argument that he even remotely comes close to Trump’s incompetence and complete void of human empathy, compassion or values. We have to remember that there is a good chance some of those “#NeverBernie” hashtags are generated and/or pushed by Russian bots or trolls. We have seen what can happen when people in large enough numbers stomp their feet and fold their arms on election day. If the choice comes down to Bernie or Trump, the right thing to do is obvious. As it was in 2016. Let’s not repeat the same mistakes. Our country and democracy depend on it.
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