Why Women Are So Angry with Sanders


Heath Mello. Source: Chris Machian/Omaha World-Herald. 

You’ve seen it; I’ve seen it; we’ve all seen it. It goes something like this: Woman posts something irritated about Sanders’ support of (supposedly formerly) aggressively anti-choice Heath Mello, whom Sanders called “part of the Democratic party of the future.” Woman is inundated with men huffily explaining to her why she should not worry her pretty head about Mello, for reasons, and also HILLARY CLINTON!11!! and hey, what more do you women even want? Mello SAID he would stop writing terrifying anti-choice legislation! Reproductive rights are just one pet issue. We can’t let one issue dictate support for candidates!

I’ve seen this in my various feeds maybe a dozen times now.

If you want to stop reading now, have this as my parting gift: The basic entrance fee to being a good person is to listen and believe people who lack a privilege you have.

For those of you still with me, let’s look under the hood of this issue for a moment.

Sanders has set himself up as the national face of progressivism, openly stating that his “movement” is the future of a party to which he does not belong, and withholding his endorsement from Democratic candidates he believes are not adequately progressive. Yet Sanders has, multiple times, endorsed anti-choice candidates because they otherwise support his agenda of economic justice.

Here’s why this is problematic:

Women cannot access economic justice without full reproductive rights. Economic justice is impossible for women without being able to decide when, or whether, to have children. Lack of access to reproductive health care can put women into poverty and keep them there. Someone claiming they are in favor of economic justice while actively voting against reproductive rights is saying that economic justice only matters for men

Reproductive rights are not a pet issue we can set aside if we are fighting for economic justice; they are central to accessing economic justice for the majority of the population.

Heath Mello himself is not the issue here; the issue is that the face of the “new progressive movement” seems content to confine “economic justice” to “economic justice for men.” It said something important when he endorsed anti-choice candidate Marcy Kaptur in 2016, it said something important when he endorsed anti-choice Tom Perriello for governor of Virginia earlier this year (Perriello has since apologized for his anti-choice votes in the House) and it says something important now as he endorses Heath Mello.


Marcy Kaptur. Source: Mark Duncan/Associated Press

I am, of course, irritated at the DNC for supporting anti-choice candidates. But I am enraged at anyone who says they support economic justice as their primary goal, yet refuses to understand that reproductive rights are an essential component to economic justice. Anyone who supports economic justice for all must also support full reproductive rights. Otherwise, all you’re supporting is economic justice for men.

You cannot create economic justice for all without addressing systemic racism; you cannot create economic justice for all without addressing systemic discrimination against LGBTQ people; you cannot create economic justice for all without addressing systemic ableism. And you cannot create economic justice for all without addressing reproductive rights.

When Sanders repeatedly declared that “identity politics” were a problem, he exposed a dangerous weakness in progressive political thought that remains unaddressed. We live intersectional lives, and these issues must be addressed intersectionally. To separate class from gender, race, sexuality, and ability in fighting for economic justice is to create a fiction that economic injustice is only driven by one kind of social injustice– the kind that able-bodied cishet white men experience. It’s a dangerous fiction that at its heart reinforces patriarchal white supremacy, and it’s becoming all the more dangerous as we fight against an administration and its attendant political movement that wants nothing more than to roll back as many social justice gains as possible.

The current zeitgeist in the US is one of angry straight white people pushing back against social justice gains with open bigotry, reveling in causing others pain, and delighting in boorishness and even violence. The fact that opposition to “identity politics” became so popular, even on the left, is unsurprising. We need to step away from that deception and move forward, together, rather than telling women their concerns about reproductive rights just aren’t important enough to count.

You may also read this piece at the Huffington Post.

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123 thoughts on “Why Women Are So Angry with Sanders

  1. I voted for Bernie Sanders during the primaries. I still agree with him on many issues but your argument is convincing. No one can be for economic justice and leave out reproductive rights. I can’t argue with that logic.

    • Christine Marie says:

      I have only heard Sanders in EVERY WAY support women and their rights. Please include a direct quote or some primary evidence. I have followed Sanders and watch 100’s of hours of his speeches, I’d love for him and his supporters to be able to chime in here but we need to know what you are directly referring to.

      • SLP says:

        Bernie supports reproductive rights in his own voting record, but is willing to endorse politicians who are anti-choice. Examples are in the article.

      • You have heard his words, but his support of a candidate who helped pass a law in Nebraska that FORCES a woman to have an ultrasound and view the fetus BEFORE an abortion speaks louder. It is unacceptable on any level for Dems to support such a candidate. And it was during this time that he refused to put his support behind pro-CHOICE candidate of GA, Jon Ossoff. Economic justice should be for ALL and that includes supporting women’s rights with your actions, not just words.

      • NG says:

        She’s included the names of the problematic candidates he’s endorsed. Google them. Sanders does this frequently. It doesn’t matter what he says he supports when his actions have consistently shown a blatant disregard for “women’s issues” in favor of an economic vision in which women implicitly have no place (or maybe they do, but only after men get all their wants sorted out). Bernie Sanders and an alarming number of his supporters have made it clear they’d throw a woman’s right to bodily integrity out the window if it gets them any closer to free college, doubling minimum wage, or this bullshit concept of ideological purity only Bernie can symbolize. I am sure ideologically he supports women and reproductive rights, and he’s not lying when he says so, but it’s something he is REALLY quick to forget exists on his crusade toward whatever he actually cares about, and something he aggressively overlooks when it comes to who to endorse.

      • Sharon Ann says:

        Well you apparently missed it when he said women’s issues were a distraction..I HEARD it!!!

      • Lisa says:

        He dissed Planned Parenthood and naral for the “crime” of supporting hillary clinton. He has been openly saying, on this tour, that maybe repro rights aren’t “as important” as other matters. What more do you want? This is a feature, not a bug.

      • sparks1313 says:

        Really? Then you only hear what you want to hear, and you got exactly what you deserve. A bigoted pussygrabber. Maybe you should have paid attention when BS told his wife (and it was clearly transmitted over the mic) to ‘Shut up!’, on stage.

      • He endorsed Heath Mello this week who sponsored and voted for a Transvaginal Ultrasound Bill in Nebraska.That is common knowledge and does not require a citation. You have to be not paying attention at all not to now that. NARAL issued a statement about it.

      • El says:

        follow the links in the article!

      • Seriously? He has supported these candidates with his words and with his attendance at their rally’s. What other information do you need? Just in case, here you go. http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/23/politics/bernie-sanders-heath-mello/

      • Ephena says:

        For me, that’s the whole point. He _says_ all these things that support women, but when it comes time to pick candidates, he supports candidates who do not believe in a woman’s right to choose. Just saying all the right things means nothing, What matters is what you do, and campaigning for an anti-choice person is a big deal.

      • Bernie’s supporters “chiming in” often means harassment but I’ll assume you’re not advocating that. As for a direct quote or source, you can find this information easily, since many news outlets are covering him now, but here’s a link for your convenience:

      • Alice Johnson says:

        No one says that he doesn’t personally support reproductive rights. The point is that he is trying to have it both ways. He sets a high bar for being progressive enough to earn his support, but then he lowers the bar for some who do not share progressive ideals for all people. What’s next? All lives matter?

      • In every way except his endorsements. Did you read the article? Saying matters less than doing. And what he’s been doing is supporting anti-choice candidates.

      • Lurker says:

        @Christine Your question is literally what the blog is about – with links – that are in the blog. Sanders is supporting candidates who are anti-choice. Like Mello. Second sentence of the blog – with two links.

      • Annie says:

        Christine, Sanders’ support of anti-choice candidates..a number more than one of them is a direct reference to his indifference to women’s reproductive rights.
        Bernie is a one trick pony. He has his issue and he doesn’t care who he has to bulldoze to get his very narrow agenda through.
        A bit of advice: it’s not what people say but what the DO that will show you their true intent.

      • Juli Bunting says:

        His unconditional support for anti-choice candidates. THAT’S what she’s talking about. Also Sanders insistence that HE is the face of progressive politics.

      • The piece actually says it very clearly. Senator Sanders’ supported anti-choice candidates and acted, along with many of his supporters, as if this isn’t the complete antithesis of progressivism. We cannot have an economically progressive policy while abandoning ideals that are deal breakers. Reproductive rights ARE economic rights. Period. Supporting Mello while casting doubt in the Ossoff race was unconscionable and the epitome of divisiveness, and as is laid out here, this isn’t the first time Bernie has made the choice to abandon the commitment to true economic progressivism for everyone while touting consistently the angry, “abandoned” white, male, working class. Verbally supporting women while executing with this sort of selective myopia is in no way acceptable.

      • Nuna Bosler says:

        What part of “Bernie routinely endorses anti-choice white men” didn’t you understand?

      • steve Derrickson says:

        Exactly. I have the same question Christine. Rebecca?

      • Christine says:

        The primary evidence IS his support of “reformed” anti-choice candidates. THAT’S the point of the article. He has, several times, backed candidates that, until recently, were anti-choice – and that stance doesn’t just “go away”, and the author is pointing out the disconnect in thinking that Sanders’ actions demonstrate. What other evidence are you looking for? Sanders’ support itself is the evidence.

      • Debby gibian says:

        I’m not sure what evidence you are looking for as the author provided these 3 pieces of evidence to support her claim: “It said something important when he endorsed anti-choice candidate Marcy Kaptur in 2016, it said something important when he endorsed anti-choice Tom Perriello for governor of Virginia earlier this year (Perriello has since apologized for his anti-choice votes in the House) and it says something important now as he endorses Heath Mello.”

      • His dismissiveness, his “yes of course but …” is evidence enough. He’s not opposed; he just doesn’t think it’s important.

      • The proof is that he supported two candidates who are against women reproductive rights. Two, count ’em two. And the one progressive candidate in Georgia, running in a red district, he dishes. These are the facts.

      • kayfrancesscott says:

        Watch the way he treats his wife; check the difference in their demeanor and their dress. That’s loud enough for me.

      • chotchkey says:

        Oh, FFS, Christine Marie. The “big tent” argument would be absolutely valid & I might even be making it myself, except that Heath Mello is NOT running for a Congressional seat. Heath Mello is running for mayor of Omaha.

        This is especially infuriating given that Jon Ossoff (a solidly pro-choice Democrat who used to work for John Lewis) was and IS running to turn a Congressional red seat blue, but Bernie Sanders said he wasn’t sure if Ossoff was sufficiently progressive.

        So, while I appreciate the link to Bernie’s platform, actions speak louder than words.

      • Julian Padgett says:

        The issue their referring to is Sanders’ endorsements for the specific anti-choice candidates cited in the article. Heath Mello, Marcy Kaptur, and Tom Perriello were three examples mentioned here.

      • Chaz says:

        To those who are claiming that Heath Mello signed or supported a bill requiring women to undergo an ultrasound before getting an abortion, you have been mislead.

        The bill (LB676) only “requires the physician performing the abortion to tell a woman an ultrasound is available, but it doesn’t require the ultrasound to be performed.

      • Christine, as a Sanders supporter as well, I think you’re missing the point here.

        Yes, Sanders supports reproductive rights. He votes in favor of reproductive rights when he has the chance. This isn’t about whether he himself supports women’s rights — it’s about priorities. Based on the others Sanders has chosen to throw his support behind, we can see that he prioritizes reproductive rights far below economic issues. If that weren’t the case, he couldn’t describe as “the future of the Democratic party” candidates who do not uphold reproductive rights — no matter how good their other economic policy might be.

        There might be a case for his choices in balancing different issues. After all, how many candidates does he have as options who agree on ALL his issues? He’ll probably have to compromise somewhere. But, you have to acknowledge where his demonstrated priorities have fallen so far before you can begin a discussion of whether those choices were right, or whether there were better candidates he could have chosen.

    • Bee says:

      Thanks for taking the time to post this comment, Gary. I find it hugely encouraging at this late hour.

    • Bill Dorsey says:

      I agree that reproductive rights are an essential element of social justice, without it women are too easily held captive by a skewed paternalistic society.

    • Stacey says:

      He did not vote to block the defunding of Planned Parenthood in Dec, 2015. He said he had to get to NH. However, the vote was on a Thursday, he had to be in NH on Saturday. There is more than one flight a week between DC and NH.

  2. jjbeeswaxx says:

    Hadn’t heard about this. Sad to hear that Bernie supported this guy.

  3. Christine Marie says:


    Here is a complete statement form Sanders in regards to women’s issues. What happened with Heath Mello is this, he was running against a Republican (way against women’s rights) in order to have control of the House we need Dems in office- Sanders support of Mello is WISE and political. Here’s his own words. Sanders pushed back against the criticism. “The truth is that in some conservative states there will be candidates that are popular candidates who may not agree with me on every issue. I understand it. That’s what politics is about,” Sanders told NPR.

    “If we are going to protect a woman’s right to choose, at the end of the day we’re going to need Democratic control over the House and the Senate, and state governments all over this nation,” he said. “And we have got to appreciate where people come from, and do our best to fight for the pro-choice agenda. But I think you just can’t exclude people who disagree with us on one issue.”

    Personally, I think everyone should see that Sanders is VERY popular and on the right side of history with most issues, instead of tearing his down we should be asking more questions like- “why would he support Mello,” and report the sound answer. Please post to a politician who takes no money from corporate lobbyists who has a better record of fighting for our rights.

    • Les Berkley says:

      You are so right, Christine. Lyndon Johnson made a deal with Everett Dirksen, a long-time segregation supporter, and got the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights act. This directly led to the election of Barack Obama.

    • He is also very UNPOPULAR. He’s a divisive, polarizing individual who needs to stand down and go back to the Senate to do some real work. It’s not whether he is on the right side of history; so is Hillary, way more so. It’s the fact that he is alienating people with his selectivity. The Democratic Party should have known better than to fling the losing primary candidate (by a huge margin) in people’s faces, and moved on, showcasing our candidates of the future not the past.

      • Bren says:

        Let me get this straight:
        Bernie’s economic ideological purity test sucks!

        But women’s reproductive rights?

        There’s an ideological purity test we can ALL agree on. That we MUST agree upon because it is fundamentally an economic justice issue and people who have a moral objection to abortion because of their own ideological purity test shall be opposed and silenced even if they agree with you on everything else?

        That about right?

        And people wonder why the democratic party has collapsed and burned over the last 8 years…. let’s set Hillary’s colossal failure aside for a moment and consider the other 1000+ seats, governorships, state houses that have turned red.

        Big tent party?

        Nah, big TEST party.

        Modern day Whigs, really.

        The big question is what comes next.

      • Bren says:

        Sorry, I should have included this as part of my previous comment:

        Trump won because his campaign was aspirational. (MAGA bullshit) Obama won because his campaign was aspirational (hope and change). Bernie’s success happened because his “movement” was/is aspirational.

        Hillary lost, in large part, because hers was not. To overcome 40 years of smears and endless attacks, she needed to make “yes we can!” speeches, but instead made “single payer will never, ever happen, but we’ll tweak the ACA” speeches.

        Now the party and people are bitterly divided, pointing fingers and relitigating 2016.

        Part of me thinks the Bernie wing should just start taking over the GOP and pull it left. The last 8 years has demonstrated quite clearly that those people know how to win, and the dems are little more than good fundraising losers.

    • LEF says:

      For a man who refuses to support anyone who takes even a slightly more conservative view on any other position (like, say, prescription drug pricing), he has no problem removing his litmus test when it comes to reproductive rights. This is a man whose entire brand is about NOT compromising when it comes to progressive values, but in this case, it would seem that reproductive rights are not a progressive value as he has no problem tossing them aside when it suits his agenda.

      • this is because roughly half the country has a problem with abortion, and God forbid they choose a candidate who doesn’t support it because it might inconvenience YOU. while i’m a pro-choice Catholic who believes everyone has to choose what to do for themselves medically – AND the government should pay for health care for all, which is one of the largest reasons most women SHOULD be pro-Sanders – i have enough empathy to take a TEENSY step outside my pro-choice view and watch half of the country feel differently. and, honestly, if we don’t get people into positions of power in local races who believe in getting money out of politics we won’t get ANYWHERE , on ANY issues that matter. there’s a HUGE problem coming in the form of climate change and it’s truly not going to matter whether or not you’re able to have an abortion when you’re swimming for your life or unable to find clean potable water.

        but sure – let’s gripe about this one issue as being the most important and divide people but claiming “women are all angry at Sanders.” hey, it gets views.

      • @Chris Herrmann

        So what you are saying here is I should compromise what I believe is the fundamental issue of economic justice for women, because half of the country does not agree with me on abortion?

      • tracypaints44 says:

        Christine Herrmann, no, half the country does NOT support abortion. Statistically, 70% of Americans support Roe

      • middlemolly says:

        The percent of people who support Roe v Wade and/or a woman’s right to choose is in the vicinity of 60% up to 72% depending on how the question is phrased. And the percent of people who believe that abortion should be legal in “all cases” or “most cases” has continued to increase over the past 13 years.

    • Katy Savage says:

      You are so right Christine. It’s important to understand context and relative positioning before getting up in arms. Articles like this are informative, but ultimately paint a target on the wrong enemy… the real enemy of women is the Republican Party. Economic equality for women and men can only be achieved if the Republicans can be BEATEN. And so far, the DNC has been a complete failure and doesn’t seem to be changing their strategy in the least to achieve any victories. No other politician has been more resoundingly principled over decades of verifiable votes, quotes, and policy positions than Bernie Sanders has been.

      Whoever said that Bernie is divisive and unpopular has their head in the sand. He is literally the MOST POPULAR politician in the US right now. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/03/15/bernie-sanders-remains-one-of-americas-most-popular-politicians/?utm_term=.5df1b2a42ea9

      • The real enemy? I’m sorry, but we always knew about the Republicans. We were not expecting attacks on women’s’ bodily autonomy from within the progressive ranks. That is far more dangerous. They are the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    • mcatwood says:

      Mello is running for mayor. How does an Omaha mayor vote in Congress? How does an Omaha mayor vote in the state house? What is the wise political move here–I truly don’t understand what you’re saying. I echo others’ sentiments here: The one issue Sanders is quick to compromise on? Reproductive rights. That is a deep misunderstanding of what economic justice entails.

    • Lisa says:

      When Hillary fans said very similar things, Bernie fans ripped us apart. My issue is that whatever Bernie says and does, it’s ok and good and just because he’s Bernie. When anyone other than Bernie does or says the same thing, his fans attach nefarious meaning to it. Our ideals shouldn’t be based on one guy. Its the opposite. He should be living our ideals.

  4. Brandon R. says:

    This article is difficult to read due to inherent faults in the premise and that actually women are again more annoyed with Sander’s supporters than with Sander’s though, the issue does stem from actions taken by Bernie Sanders.

    Unfortunately because I find Bernie Sanders to be one of few credible voices, and I understand that he has discussed his issues with and openly addressed concerns over the Nebraska candidates record on reproductive rights, I do believe that if Bernie extracted an agreement on this issue then…I trust that.

    I accept that others don’t, especially women in Nebraska, but I also can’t follow the framing of this piece because. Bernie Sanders supports economic justice, yes, but that has always included assured health care coverage and protection of reproductive freedom. The DNC has no moral high ground on this at all. None, zero, not after Democrats kicked mothers off of welfare in the 90’s.

    It is also continually repeating a false chorus that conflates Sander’s stances with those of other politicians he endorses, which are strategic choices in what’s apparently some game we call political theatre.

    Its amazing to me that liberal democrats pretend like they understand what politics are when it suits them but then play games like this where they continually try to graft the past of others to Sander’s by way of a political endorsement. How dare he keep working for his declared goals….

    Of the people running in the Nebraska race he believes this guy is the better candidate on issues of economic justice reform and other progressive areas and acknowledges the caveat of an unacceptable history of stances on women’s reproductive rights and freedoms. Sander’s endorsement drove the candidate to clarify his stances and reveal that he has ‘evolved” on the issue.

    KInd of like 2013(?) 2011(?) homosexuality revelation from someone who helped culturally codify actual LGBT discrimination.

    This article trickles to a an eye rolling “bitch please” from me if I’m honest. Especially the bit about: you can’t have economic justice without x, y, z, when actually economic justice is the horse not the cart, you can’t ONLY strive for economic justice, but…that’s never been what Sander’s is about and…when you have greater economic justice people as individuals have a greater ability to advocate on their own behalf…so it is where the conversation starts. Otherwise we all just dither as the world dies.

    • kahollis says:

      The point is that he is willing to compromise and be inclusive when it comes to women’s reproductive rights, but not when a candidate does not follow his (Sanders’) economic purity litmus test.

      And be putting reproductive rights into a “social” category, he ignores the fact, as the article states, that they are central to women’s economic survival and well-being.

    • Dither as the world dies? Hike this one over to the side of the pretentiousness highway. We are not talking about supporting candidates with a disagreement in tax policy, we are talking about supporting with his name and resources, candidates who believe in forcing a woman to gestate and give birth to a fetus against her will, and to force either her or someone else to raise and pay for a child without the necessary resources – emotional or financial. He is putting his reputation on the line for someone who believes women are essentially nothing more than a vessel for someone else’s sperm. I cannot overstate this. Women’s reproductive rights are an economic justice issue for women and families, and Bernie is showing that his agenda is not for women.

  5. Carol Lopes says:

    I wrote something feebly like this today. If Rowe vs Wade weren’t so under attack and abortion rights hanging by a thread, and a new SCOTUS that is right wing and possibly anti-choice, I would say it may not matter. I just can’t abide it. The DNC has lost it’s identity as a party for working and middle class progressive people. It’s now Republican Lite and continues to move rightward. Bernie has terrible flaws on women’s and African rights — but he’s the only one calling for free college, single payer, $15 an hour and an end to regime change and addressing climate change. I support that platform.

    • G_Green says:

      So, you’re willing to sell out women and POC for free college. Got it.

      • Say it again for the people in the back!

      • Liz Wright says:

        worse yet,they are willing to sell out women and POC for words about two things that are never going to happen. They want women to give up their current rights for the phantom promise of free college and $15 min wage neither of which has a chance in hell of being enacted.

  6. Since I’ve never joined a politician’s fan club, this does not surprise me. We see what people are willing to do in the name of political expediency. Which toes are they going to shoot off in order to win? It’s always going to be those with less of a voice.

  7. MJ says:

    This is so mystifying. Bernie’s voting record isn’t anti-abortion in the least. He has a 100 percent rating from NARAL. Why would he be supporting these folks?

    • Jon says:

      look at who these people are running against. look at the districts they are in. look at what their values are in totality, not just one of a myriad of issues (albeit an important one). look at the political gain of helping a democrat beat a republican.

      and then look at what stances the politician currently is pushing for with their platform. Most of these individuals “evolved” on reproductive rights. Hillary and Obama have “evolved” on critical and important liberal/progressive values in their time too. every politician does.

      what Sanders knows is that supporting democrats in areas where his support could propel them to winning increases the number of progressives in the legislature. these races aren’t primary races, where he’s selecting candidates over other liberal candidates. these are races against republicans. he’s helping democrats to try to win over republicans in their districts.

  8. Ingrid G. says:

    Sander has to stop using the Democratic Party for his own convenience, he is independent, he help to win the presidency to the Republicans, he doesn’t care for women issues, he is not a pro-choice politician. Enough is Enough!!!!

  9. I completely agree. It has been shown time after time that the main driver of poverty among women is having a child they can’t afford. One detail though: Marcy Kaptur is not anti-choice. She had some anti-choice votes back in the 90s but has moved all the way over and in the last decade has usually gotten 100% ratings from NARAL and Planned Parenthood. Thanks to the extreme gerrymander here in Ohio she has represented part of my county (Cuyahoga – Cleveland) since 2012. At the time I was writing for the local alt newsweekly and I met with her right after she defeated Dennis Kucinich (another former anti-choicer who flipped when he ran for president) in the primary. That was the first thing I asked her. Her response was “The choice should always be the woman’s.”

    I assume Bernie endorsed Marcy, if he did, because she was one of the few sitting congresspeople who endorsed HIM. However, unlike certain other of his endorsers … ahem, Nina Turner …. she supported Hillary after the convention and was sharing stages with her by the fall. If she ever attacked Hillary I’m not aware of it. I did think it was a little odd because Marcy, one of the longest serving members of Congress, is very much of a get-things-done pragmatist and not a pie-in-the-sky “FREE COLLEGE FOR EVERYONE!!!!” kind of person.

  10. i find it telling that these male candidates are willing to re-think their stances on reproductive rights in order to gain his endorsement. because WHY THE HELL would we NOT want that?

  11. also, if you’re going to be irritated with Sanders for _supporting_ someone who formerly held views that could threaten complete freedom of reproductive rights, i hope you’re just as concerned about the fact that HRC once believed a late-term ban would be appropriate.

    • Kathy says:

      “once believed”

      Why do Bernie defenders, like clockwork, bring up HRC’s past all the time? During the campaign, HRC was adamant in her support of reproductive rights. Bernie is supporting these people NOW. And that, to this woman who has been fighting for reproductive rights since before Roe v. Wade, is indefensible.

      • my point being either people can change their views… or they can’t. it really does seem to me that more people are worried about men never being able to change their views, but that possessing ovaries gives you a pass. we WANT conservative men AND women to reconsider supporting an abortion ban…. right?

    • Oh, there it is. Yeah, but… NO. Clinton supports women’s reproductive rights. End of story. She may have changed her understanding of some of the details, but she will never lend her name and credibility to a candidate who believes women are fundamentally vessels, with no bodily autonomy. Just stop. I get that you can’t take criticism of Bernie, but grow up. He is not a progressive, and he does not care about women and POC getting thrown under the bus.

    • tracypaints44 says:

      there is not one politician who doesn’t support a late term ban-and that is in regards to ELECTIVE late term abortions, not in the case of danger to the mother.

      • There is virtually no such thing as an “elective” late-term abortion, but the myth that there is has been deeply engrained, leading many on the left to support these bans until they become better educated. More than 99% of them, according to most sources, involve a tragic medical complication of some sort. Sadly, now, more of the early late-term ones are being driven by the restrictions and the costly hoops women have to jump through to get an abortion, putting women into the 20th week and beyond by the time they can clear the obstacles and/or get together the money they need.

  12. sister_h says:

    Somebody needs to get to Sanders with this point of view. I’ve sent missives to Sanders’ Senate office with some input in the past regarding better stances he could take on African American reparations and so-called identity politics, but it’s not really clear if he gets these or if they get filtered out.

    Sanders could pull this one out of the fire if he states this and pressures the candidates he supports to support this concept with some credible atonement.

    • I agree completely. He has a lot of great ideas, but he is tone deaf when it comes to marginalized people. If he could understand why his statements that economic justice will automatically “solve” racism and sexism are problematic, and why his comments decrying “identity politics” are problematic, it would make him much more effective.

  13. This needs a bumper sticker, a tweet, an anthem, a march, and some REPRO RIGHTS theatre. Coming in August, our third ReproRights show with Three Girls Theatre at Potrero Stage Co.

  14. tongueinbeak says:

    This isn’t a case of a Progressive becoming a Conservative, it’s the opposite. View this from the other angle. Here are the details beyond the single issue you want to focus on:

    Voted for Republican president the last seven elections; two Republican senators; three out of three House representatives are Republicans; two out of past three governors have been Republicans; nonpartisan Legislature.

    This is a matter of having a Conservative. Red state, compromise with Liberal values. There are no Democrats or Liberals being replaced in this state. This is a 100% Republican state. You will never be getting your ideal candidate from that pool.

    The exact same can be said of Ossoff in Georgia, another highly Red state. Under what circumstances do you think your ideal pro-choice candidate will ever appear on their ballots in the Bible Belt?

    But you’d rather throw the baby out with the bathwater and ignore the other 90% of their progressive platform over one issue you disagree with. You think it would be easier negotiating a compromise with a Republican in those offices, perhaps?

    Democrats vomited compromise at us during the entire general election while running their most flawed candidate in history. Now you have that same person you thought should compromise, compromising and you criticize him for compromising. What’s it going to be?

    • this. i’d prefer a perfectly progressive candidate, certainly. but at this point, in red states, i’d take someone who is willing to fight even simply MOST of the agenda.

    • Sarah Adams says:

      But he’s NOT willing to compromise in Georgia. Ossoff is a good candidate, who is also pro-choice, and Bernie isn’t willing to support him because he’s not “progressive” enough for Bernie. Bernie shows his true colors by being willing to compromise on reproductive rights, and not on other things. “Progressive”, Bernie-style, is for men, not women.

  15. Meg says:

    Thank you, thank you thank you. There are many, including my ex who still worship their Saint with no thoughts to what it’s like to be faced with an unplanned pregnancy and the immediate math starts in the head of how will I afford day care? Will I be able to keep my job in my career when I won’t be able to work at it for the next 8 months because of the risk of mutigenic chemical exposure? How will o keep a roof over our heads, let alone feed my living kids? Along with the instant rush of hormones and love.

    Choice isn’t just a choice, it’s economic survival for far too many of us.

  16. Rob says:

    Here is a link to Bernie’s positions on Women’s issues. It seems pretty on side. If he thought those people he was supporting would not back him he would support them. He is doing what he needs to do to get a progressive agenda moved forward. https://berniesanders.com/issues/fighting-for-womens-rights/

    • No, he isn’t. What he needs to do to move a progressive agenda forward is to stop feeding his ego with rallies and head back to the Senate to join with the people who ARE doing the work to move a progressive agenda forward — people like Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Chris Murphy, Al Franken, Kamala Harris and more who are in D.C. earning their paychecks. Rallies to there faithful don’t move any agenda anywhere.

    • You realize you are just saying “go with what he says, don’t pay attention to what he does”, right?

  17. For the record I’m a pro-choice feminist. I strongly believe in women’s rights, so please detach the emotional and think objectively to why this article is intended to attack Bernie and divide the Democrats, which empowers the alternative-fact candidates running against US Dems. Point 1 – Why is Bernie called out but Tom Perez not listed? Perez was at the same rallies to support Mello and the others. Point 2 – Why not provide Bernie’s reason for this support? It was out before the piece was written and the article makes it sound like Bernie might some how be secretly pro-life. Mello is a Democrat trying to get elected in one of the most pro-life regions in the country. Running a candidate there who is pro-life would ensure somewhere around 47% of potential voters won’t vote for a Democrat no matter what they say. Sanders told NPR – “The truth is that in some conservative states there will be candidates that are popular candidates who may not agree with me on every issue. I understand it. That’s what politics is about”

    • I do indeed mention the DNC in the article. I don’t single out Perez because it’s a systemic problem, not his alone. The impetus for the article– the real “why”– is the rising trend of “brocialism”– men, usually white men, who claim to be progressives and/or socialists but who minimize, dismiss, and ignore women’s issues, and I believe Sanders’ repeated support of anti-choice candidates and open stance against “identity politics,” in addition to white male brocialists’ complete lack of tolerance for any criticism of Sanders, ever, is at the back of this trend. Here you are, commenting angrily on my tiny independent blog and implying darkly that I am somehow of nefarious intent for daring to write about things Sanders has said and done in a mildly critical light.

      It’s also true that I saw that same conversation many times in my feed– women swarmed by male brocialists in exactly the way I describe, so that was another impetus.

      The DNC does not put tiny independent bloggers on their payroll. I WISH. At present, I write my blog for free, and choose my own topics. Thanks for reading Bitter Gertrude!

    • So you are saying that pragmatism is more important than ideological purity? That getting things done is more important than having perfect ideals? MY GOD that is familiar. If only you had had a candidate who believed that.

      • Sal says:

        On the flip side, are you saying that having perfect ideals and getting nothing done is more important than refusing to let your perfect ideals get in the way of making progress toward those ideals?

      • tracypaints44 says:

        what he’s saying is that women don’t approach problems logically, we approach them emotionally, and that makes our arguments weak.

  18. splashy says:

    You stated how I feel perfectly. I saw this from the beginning with Sanders, but was willing to vote for him if he won the nomination in spite of those issues.

    Since the election he has not helped at all. In fact, he’s making things far worse, and working hard to divide the left.

  19. Moderators… please update my post to the following:
    For the record I’m a pro-choice feminist. I strongly believe in women’s rights, so please detach the emotion and think objectively to why this article is intended to attack Bernie and divide the Democrats, which empowers the alternative-fact candidates running against us Dems. Point 1 – Why is Bernie called out but Tom Perez not listed? Perez was at the same rallies to support Mello and the others. Point 2 – Why not provide Bernie’s reason for this support? It was out before the piece was written and the article makes it sound like Bernie might some how be secretly pro-life. Mello is a Democrat trying to get elected in one of the most pro-life regions in the country. Running a candidate there who is pro-choice would ensure somewhere around 47% of potential voters won’t vote for them. Sanders told NPR – “The truth is that in some conservative states there will be candidates that are popular candidates who may not agree with me on every issue. I understand it. That’s what politics is about”

  20. dancerboots says:

    ‘Identity politics’ has to be a two word phrase created in a republican think tank. They are brilliant at making up the propaganda rhetoric..like ‘political correctness’.
    While Sanders and Ellison are quick to throw blame at the Democratic party for its loss based partially on ‘identity politics’; trump won on it…

  21. dr JAm says:

    Btw when Bernie came to Marist College to campaign last April, he came on Women’s Equal Pay day-the Day that women’s pay equals that of men’s from the previous year. He did not mention thus at all in his speech. This was Not only a major gaff, but relayed how he really feels about economic justice for all.

  22. Steve Clark says:

    As defiant as this author is, she is actually playing into Sanders’ hands. She has accepted that no social justice issue matters *unless* it can be grounded in economic justice. That is precisely what straight white male socialist ideologues want as the basic assumption, and that is what so-called “intersectional” theories give them.

    I disagree with the very premise. Women’s rights matter–and abortion rights matter–even if there is no connection whatsoever to class or economic justice. Same for gay rights. Same for racial equality. Same for religious equality. They each stand on their own as parallel issues, not subordinate issues that attain value only to the extent they are reducible to class. Is misogyny or anti-Semitism okay in a corporate boardroom? Is the shooting of unarmed black men okay if the victims are economically privileged? Of course not.

    What began as a desire to expand social justice movements to include addressing unique issues affecting economically disadvantaged people in each identity group has, in the hands of socialist ideologues, morphed into an attack on addressing issues affecting any group member who isn’t also poor. So, for example, we find obnoxious crusades by socialist-inflected “intersectionality” advocates against anyone who does work on gay marriage, abortion rights, or sexual harassment of women in white collar spaces.

    That mentality is what’s wrong with Sanders. He presumes to define “progressive” in exclusive and exclusionary class-only terms. He subjects everyone to a supposed “purity test” when it comes to issues of economic justices, but he simultaneously ignores entirely anyone’s refusal to endorse other issues of social justice that can’t be turned into a class concern, whether through “intersectionality” theory or otherwise.

    “Intersectionality” theory today is like postmodern thought a while ago. Postmodern thought could be extremely regressive and counter-progressive, but because it became all the rage in academia, many mistakenly assumed it must be inherently progressive. It isn’t. The same is true of “intersectionality” thinking today. It is not necessarily progressive and can be quite counter-progressive.

    A final example. At a recent panel discussion with LGBT students, I suggested that (except for Ts and people with AIDS), we weren’t actually in the center of the cross hairs of the Trump administration–at least not yet. At far greater risk were undocumented people, Muslims, and people using Obamacare. Another panelist, in full “intersectionality” mode, responded with some bizarre “correction” about needing to focus on LGBT people who were undocumented, or Muslim, or whatever. Huh? No. We should be focusing on *everyone* who is undocumented or Muslim or whatever, not just the tiny fraction of those people who happen to “intersect” with our own identity.

    When one says abortion rights matter only because (or to the extent that) they can be turned into questions of economic justice, one has accepted the premise that women’s equality has no intrinsic worth apart from its relationship to class. I wouldn’t make that concession. It’s what doctrinaire sexist socialists have been saying for many decades. It gives Sanders exactly what he wants.

    • Wow. You really missed the boat on this one. Nowhere, not once, does she say that abortion rights and reproductive rights are ONLY an economic issue. The reason she mentions it, would appear to be because Bernie is so focused on economic justice, and she wanted to point out that even by his own criteria, he is ignoring the issues of women.

    • Steve Clark, this is such a wonderful analysis of so many things that have been bothering me lately. I agree entirely that we must not play into the hands of the doctrinaire sexist socialists (I love the term brocialists, which I hadn’t seen until reading these comments). The blog author has many good points, yet I have also found myself bothered by people framing women’s bodily autonomy in terms of economic justice. It makes sense as an argument in reply to Sanders, since he’s a one-note Johnny about economic justice, but that leaves the larger problem that economic justice is not the only progressive cause. I also like your comments on intersectionality and the weird rabbit-holes you can end up tumbling into if you follow this way of thinking too far. I would love to know more about what you are reading or what else you have written about these issues. I just haven’t seen a whole lot of good, clear analysis like this. Thanks!

  23. Joan Carrara says:

    I think most politicians have no problem putting women’s issues on the back burner, I have been paying attention to politics for years as I am 73 years old and have watched this happen over and over. We made some headway with ROE vs Wade but ever since it became law they have chipped away from it bit by bit, so now is the time to demand we finally stop taking a back seat and make sure the whole bill is the law from now on!!

  24. Wow… this post BLEW UP in the comments since I first saw you post it yesterday.

    Is this your most-commented-on piece, Melissa?

  25. Bev HANNON says:

    some questions to answer in the Mello case: what office is he running for and how much impact does he have on repro. rights? I think it’s for mayor, and he has little impact. He has also pledged not to enact restrictions.
    If Mello is the Dem. candidate who is not pro-choice, should Bernie support a Repub. candidate or a 3rd party candidate who are probably not pro-choice, or is it better to have a Dem in this case who is progressive on issues the R or others are not? I think so.
    I’m not familiar with other candidates the writer says Bernie has supported. I agree that one cannot achieve econ. justice if all groups aren’t able to make decisions for themselves. BUT, I trust Bernie to do the best for the most.

  26. Rebecca Lane says:

    HELL YES. he needs to shut up and go back to WhiteTopia where he came from.

  27. Is anyone commenting here from Nebraska? Is anyone a constituent of Mello’s? I’m just wondering what Democratic and Progressive Nebraskans who have voted for or against Mello, perhaps primaried him, think about this. So far… All I’m seeing are people who don’t know what drive Nebraska voters. If Mello makes it to Capitol Hill, he will be expected to caucus with the Democrats where he won’t be putting forth anti-choice legislature and won’t be voting for anti-choice legislature as long as he caucuses with the Democrats like Bernie has. But I’d really like to know what someone from Nebraska, particularly someone in Mello’s district thinks of this.

  28. Isa Kocher says:

    the one thing I find most disturbing is resorting to racist sexist heterosexist ageist hate vocabulary when the issues are concern specific policies.

    calling senator sanders a white male sexist racist misogynist just simply is hate speech. it does not tell me what the issues are. calling him a tired old failed socialist is even more obscurantists

    What the sanders campaign accomplished is historically astounding and potentially could save our futures as a species: truly survival as a species trumps all and any other considerations. period. denying that fact, that global anthropogenetic climate change is the single most important existential threat to the life of humanity only puts us in the same boat as the putin psychopathic puppet party, which is sinking fast- that issue crosses over every other demographic there is.

    i personally know sanders is dead wrong on one issue, gun control

    but resorting to hate speech, as the sole tool of redressing wrong, regarding his incomprehension of family health matters, however only makes everybody’s incomprehension more profound.

    over the last year not one angry woman said a peep about it, his endorsing anti-choice candidates for strategic and tactical reasons – no, all i ever heard is BS white male. and that is racist sexist hate. nothing else.

    he does not endorse anti-choice but endorses those who do. that at least makes sense. that something i can understand.

    in one sense now i understand the accusation he is a one trick pony. clearly he is not a one trick pony, having one of the most comprehensive sets of critical agendas since roosevelt but it just happens his pony plays different tricks than the single issue voter he’s offended.

    the only answer i have is change his mind. make it clear what’s at stake. enlist some allies and bring him over. but the hate speech just has to stop.

    • You wrote: “What the sanders campaign accomplished is historically astounding and potentially could save our futures as a species: truly survival as a species trumps all and any other considerations.” — Really? What was astounding is that Hillary Clinton got millions more votes than Trump, even though Bernie ( along with Russia and the FBI) was dogging her until the bitter end. And survival as a species only happens if women and people of color are included — our needs have to be basic, fundamental requirements, not “nice to haves.”

      • Electing Hillary could have “saved our future as a species,” given that her platform embraced moving toward all clean renewable energy as quickly as possible and Trump openly advocated for the opposite. Sanders’ campaign did nothing special — it spent a ton of money to lose badly, while falsely depicting itself as uniquely progressive, which it was not. In the end, he was somewhat more progressive on some issues and Hillary was more progressive on others, so it depends what you prioritize personally. And overall they were very close although she had a much more detailed concept of how to accomplish these progressive goals while he floundered when asked even about pet issues like “breaking up the big banks.” He admitted he wasn’t sure how to do that.

    • You didn’t hear a peep? I’m going to guess you were not really listening

  29. barbara mcdaniel says:

    I listened to his debates. The bone he threw women was one short sentence: “Women deserve equal pay for equal work.” Very unmistakably tepid, meager, and shallow on women. Not even a hint there about how our unique and in-demand skills are undervalued in a patriarchy-controlled, labor-valuing structure. Abused women with finely-tuned radar weren’t impressed with him and his bros then and its deeper now. And his fantasy story about rape with two women disgusted me from the get-go. He and the Indivisible Team and the white men who don’t like the idea of equally-empowered women are welcome to stay home, gaze in their mirrors, and hoard all their selfishness for themselves.

  30. Bake Up, Little Suzy says:

    If Sanders wanted to endorse a blue city/red state mayoral candidate, why didn’t he use his platform to support Tishaura Jones, a progressive black woman who ended up losing by only 888 votes? I think I know why…

  31. singout34 says:

    If Sanders wanted to endorse a blue city/red state mayoral candidate, why didn’t he use his platform to support Tishaura Jones, a progressive black woman who ended up losing by only 888 votes? Based on the shameful way he treated women and POC throughout his campaign (and his career), the answer is pretty clear.

  32. Jesse Voll says:

    He is riddled with sexism…there were his previous writings that stated all women fantasized rape by 3 men and even very young teen girls should ignore their moms and give sex to their boyfriends. Guess he was resentful for all the refusals of sex in his life. Oh and not enough sex causes cancer.

    • BarryG says:

      Dang internet. You made me actually find and read his essay. Yes he did say this, but reading the whole essay, it’s pretty clear to me that he was saying, or trying to say that it’s our gender roles (of about 45 years ago mind you) that cause such messed up sexuality (in the form of fantasies).

      Ahem. I’m pretty sure that Bernie is not a perfect being. The writing you cite, I’m declaring innocent and even if not, you get a pass for writing something stupid as you’re are living a collectivist hippy life in between working for the mentally ill in a hospital back at the turn of the 1970’s.

      If you want imperfect, the corporatist Clintons are your people — they screwed the pooch on us in many ways, from pivoting the democratic party towards the corporatists to Hillary running such a wooden campaign that Trump came close enough that a little Russian hacking could tip him in.

      Bernie is, yes, a progressive. But, damn him, he wants to win. So, he sells out principles … as all who want to win must do. All. Democrats have lost everywhere and at every level. If you want to win, you will not get an angel — that’s todays fantasy.

      So, you can decide that Bernie’s willingness to support basically progressive politicians who are not pro-choice is a bridge too far for you. But hate hate hating one of the few politicians pulling for many progressive principles, is just … self defeating. By self defeating, I mean you will get less of what you hope for.

      Anyhow, IMHO, the main issue is climate change. I’d sell out a lot of principles to get someone who will support R&D and policy to stop a climate catastrophe. Why? Because, waves of not a million refugees but hundreds of millions. Famine. Africa will be devastated as the dry zones increase, as will India, China. The poor will be hit the hardest — they won’t even survive. To me, I’d throw reproductive rights back to the states, so that the redder states can suck for woman, if it prevented, by progressives becoming a clear majority, an utter catastrophe for humanity.

      Truth be told, as more people with progressive opinions hold office, and the economy improves for, lets say, middle and working class but more for male than female, as that vast middle feels more secure, they are more likely to support reproductive and other causes. But you can disagree about this tactic without trying to make Bernie out to be a demon.

  33. Dina Honour says:

    Oh, God thank you for this. I’ve been arguing this point on several different feeds and threads and articles for three days now–this is absolutely spot on. The worst was this tone deaf line from a WaPo article: “Should it follow Sanders’s lead and put economics above everything else?” There is NO ECONOMICS for women without reproductive rights. So again, does economics only matter when you’re a man?

    Rebecca Traistor wrote a great piece in which bemoaned the fact that there are plenty of Dem issues–are they all negotiable? Immigration? Trade? Taxes? Or, as I suspect, is it just those that fall into the category of ‘identity’. There is NO economy without identify. You can’t parse this stuff out.

    A long winded thank you.

  34. John says:

    So I don’t disagree with anything you have said here. People with privilege need to 1) recognize it and, 2) understand that it blinds you to a varying degree to the challenges others face. I say this as a middle aged white male who recognizes that the playing field is never level. But given the choice between two candidates who are imperfect, how do you recommend we are to proceed? It’s a serious question.

    • Dina Honour says:

      It’s a good question as well. Sanders, to his credit, later came out and said that we need to get Democratic (or progressive, I can’t remember his phrasing exactly) into office in order to ensure reproductive rights. He’s not wrong. But, much like Sanders supporters like to tout his policies pushing Clinton to the left, supporters of reproductive rights (and that should be ANYONE who calls themselves a progressive, female or male), need to push this message–repeatedly and continually. They also need to do a FAR better job of framing the issue so that we get the message across that economic rights and reproductive rights are the same thing for women, by repeatedly and continuously outlining how and why. I think what bothers many of us was the casualness at which the party seemed ready to abandon this issue (as opposed to other issues–which other issues are they negotiable on? A border wall? Tax breaks for the wealthy? Doubtful) and then the tone-deaf response when it was called out for what it was. I don’t know why the party even went here with him to be honest, but they could have supported him as the best chance we have right now of hampering the GOP agenda without hailing him as the future of progressives–that was the kick in the teeth bit for many of us. Also, they need to be recruiting and supporting pro-choice candidates who can be competitive. If it’s a question of the lesser of evils, then let’s make sure we have more than two to choose from. At the end of the day, women are left with few options–and that’s what rankles–a choice between a candidate who is wishy-washy on the issue and one who will actively harm the fight for reproductive rights. Women know that–and will vote tactically, as women have always had to vote (how many candidates have women had to choose from who put their rights as women front and center? They always have to choose the candidate who is going to do the ‘least harm’). But, and I think this is what you are seeing now–we don’t have to consent, or do so silently. And you keep holding their feet to the fire. If they don’t change, well, then it’s up to us–as a voting bloc–to find a different alternative.

  35. Sal says:

    > “The basic entrance fee to being a good person is to listen and believe people who lack a privilege you have.”

    This does not resonate with me at all for two reasons: good people take action, and good people shouldn’t need to evaluate relative levels of privilege before taking that action.

    Listening and believing is not enough. If I have the ability to support you actively in some way without any real burden to myself, and I don’t, am I really a good person? And privilege isn’t this visible thing — figuring out who is lacking what privilege is a result of listening, it shouldn’t be a pre-requisite to it.

    I find the sort of heuristic that you shared actively harmful. We should start with a premise that people, regardless of belief or identity or privilege, deserve to be heard. Denying people a voice based on their beliefs, either de jure or de facto, is wrong, and really should be avoided, especially by folks who want to talk about liberalism or progressivism.

  36. Steve Denning says:

    It’s not as easy as picking a side, thought that’s what we do… small side, larger side, the whole enchilada. This fractious DEM party needs to come to terms with why we lost 500 state offices/legislative seats this last decade… We need to join hands, to slap each other in the face.

    “Mello has co-sponsored several bills in Nebraska’s unicameral legislature that would restrict abortion rights, including a 2009 measure requiring doctors to inform women seeking abortions about the availability of an ultrasound.

    Sanders pushed back against the criticism. “The truth is that in some conservative states there will be candidates that are popular candidates who may not agree with me on every issue. I understand it. That’s what politics is about,” Sanders told NPR.

    “If we are going to protect a woman’s right to choose, at the end of the day we’re going to need Democratic control over the House and the Senate, and state governments all over this nation,” he said. “And we have got to appreciate where people come from, and do our best to fight for the pro-choice agenda. But I think you just can’t exclude people who disagree with us on one issue.”

  37. Really confused as to why Bernie would support this guy and really disappointed. I assume it has to do with the Democrat unity thing. Now I can’t think of a single politician that appeals to me.

  38. BarryG says:

    Said it in comments above, but here clear:

    I believe Bernie is not a perfect being. He’s flawed. He believes for progressives to win, they have to support more progressive minded candidates who may not have or who may now support reproductive rights.

    You may not agree with Bernie’s tactics in this. You may not like some of his politics. But I believe it’s self defeating to hate him or cast him as some horrible person. I just don’t believe you will ever find the perfect person or if you do, you are fooling yourself and that may be worse. Many Trump supporters are decent people, but none of the people who think Trump is perfect perfect are.

    Bernie wants a truly better, progressive nation. His tactics may be wrong, he may compromise the wrong principles. But he is a decent person and he wants the good to win … even if “the perfect” has to wait.

    In my view, progressives have lost across the board because the working poor and working class were abandoned by both parties. As they slipped economically, they became less liberal, less tolerant, more tribal as is usual for most humans. IMO, if we can get more economically progressive people elected in the sucky red states, even if they are pro-choice, it will lead to better economic conditions for both men and woman, but maybe better for men than for woman there due to reproductive restrictions. Still, IMO, better economic times leads to more liberal thinking and we’ll get more support for better reproductive rights, by playing this longer game, then trying to get it all now, when democrats have lost at all levels.

    Now, maybe I’m wrong in the above tactics which are Bernie’s tactics. But, my goal is progressive and for complete reproductive rights, I just pragmatically want to actually achieve the goal and feel it will take many steps but that the long game the strategy most likely to work.

    Again, maybe its wrong. I’d be happy to go for whatever will work. I think the casting others as evil will not work for progressives even though it does for the extreme right. They are just better at being evil. They’ll win the violent contest, they’ll win at thought control, and they’ll especially win at identity.

    They are just better at the tribal stuff, we’re better at intellect. We should play to our strengths and not use their tactics.

  39. Robin says:

    You are completely correct. I really liked Bernie, but was disappointed. I do believe that both parties are broken, but a new wave of youths 18 and under are working hard to change things. I hope that as we unite and diversify, I believe the days od old white rich bullies are on their way out. Probably not in my lifetime, I’m an older progressive white woman, who has made it my business to accept white privilege, talk about it use it for better things to come. Thank you for your blog!

  40. Jon says:

    Fair enough. Then, why the pass for Kaine?

    • Kaine voted 100% pro-choice from the time he hit the Senate in 2012. He had a proven track record of pro-choice votes and a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood when he was tapped for the VP nomination. Mello’s only track record is anti-choice. That said, as I say in the article, this isn’t about Heath Mello, but about the unwillingness to compromise about any other issue contrasted with the perpetual willingness to compromise on reproductive rights, as well as the failure to understand that economic justice is only accessible to women with full reproductive rights. Thanks for reading!

      • I generally agree but find this bit very disconcerting- “I am, of course, irritated at the DNC for supporting anti-choice candidates. But I am enraged at anyone who says they support economic justice as their primary goal, yet refuses to understand that reproductive rights are an essential component to economic justice. ”

        This reads to me like, the DNC supporting pro-lifers is minor compared to a progressive supporting a pro-lifer. Doesn’t the establishments support of this demand greater scrutiny, lest we make one person a scapegoat?

  41. LG Harris says:

    PLEASE watch Bernie Sanders defend himself on this issue on “Face the Nation” this past Sunday, (4/23) on CBS before you get excited about what this blogger says. I am behind him 100%.

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