The Bernie Love and Hillary Hate on the Left

Bernie supportersHillary Clinton is a threat to the male status quo and Bernie Sanders is seen as the antidote.

The hate for Hillary Clinton is emotional and illogical. You can see and hear it in the words of the Bernie fan base; “Democratic Whores,” “Bern the Witch,” She’s a liar.” It goes beyond the disdain for her supposed “relationship with Wall Street,” as the meme goes, and falls int o an entirely different category not related to any facts.

The Bernie fans rejection of a feminist female president is a conundrum.

What is most interesting from the bulk of the pro-Bernie commentary is the complete omission of Hillary’s long track record of work in women’s rights. We are in a precarious time for women worldwide; the actions of ISIS and Boko Haram are unfolding events on the horizon that impact girls and women globally. But we’ve got our own never-ending struggle for reproductive rights (yes there can be an end to the abortion fight) that keeps women fighting eternally for bodily control that needs to be capped off. 

So when it comes to the Bernie Bro world and the throwback “make me a sandwich” and “iron my shirt” mentality about Clinton. I’ve been stewing on this one and my conclusion is not earth shattering. You know it yourselves. They fear change.

There is no way else to explain it, my friends, and the sooner we recognize it the easier it will be to interpret the behavior that vexes us; a Bernie Bro ripping a Hillary sticker off the shirt of a woman in New York’s Columbus Circle, personalized tweets that tell us Hillary’s only credential is her “pussy” and, of course, the Susan Sarandon Syndrome which posits that a vote for Hillary must only be a vote  coming from your female naughty bits. (I only use the V word with my gynecologist as I believe it’s usage in public to denigrate women is harmful to girls.)

“Bern the Witch” were the words in a recent anti-Hillary cartoon. Some were horrified. I was fascinated because it’s perfect. Hillary is a threat to the male status quo and Bernie is seen as the antidote. He is an undistinguished senator from Vermont whose few legislative victories include renaming post offices. Sanders’  supporters accept that and the angry speeches about revolution (from the man whose income puts him in the top five percent of Americans), over real legislative success that has benefited children and women.

Their fear translates into hate and it springs from an internal archetypical belief in the differences between women and men; that women are only nurturers and men are the leaders. Switch the roles and heads explode.

Oh yes, they have their reasons for hating her. One reason is that she gave speeches on Wall Street when she was a private citizen, she voted for the Iraq War Resolution in 2002, and she has a husband who fooled around. Well, these are all true, but Hillary Clinton also brought the issue of sexual trafficking to the attention of the world when she was first lady; as senator she reached across the aisle and co-sponsored legislation that brought health care to children, as secretary of state she put women’s rights high on the priority list in our foreign policy for the first time in U.S. history.

But those things are simply not enough for them. Yet again, it’s the gender thing – women vs. men. The Bernie fans three pet peeves are historically male domains – finance, military, and politics. Hillary has entered them with aplomb and now she wants to lead the country. That’s a big change. The American presidency is a man’s world: Hillary changes it and Bernie keeps it that way.

Among the Bernie people there is a distinct lack of seeing the inclusion of women in the presidency as a success on the road to women’s rights. Women’s liberationists of the seventies knew that women belonged in the House and in the Senate, but couldn’t quite see them in the White House. That consciousness had not gelled. Are the Bernie supporters still stuck with the ‘House and the Senate?’

Fox News Democratic pundit Juan Williams seems to have already reached that conclusion recently when he said,  “The Democratic base is not that interested in the female story.”

Jennifer Hall Lee is a filmmaker who lives in Los Angeles. She has spent many years working on Hollywood films,  in visual effects, and used her free time (when she had it!) making her own films. Her latest film, “Feminist: Stories from Women’s Liberation” is being distributed by Women Make Movies and she speaks about the importance of remembering the women’s liberation movement. Jennifer was named Global Ambassador for the Global Media Monitoring Project. To schedule an interview with Jennifer or book her as a speaker, she can be reached at jennifer@feministstories.com.

Jennifer is also a contributor to the new Amazon bestseller, Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox.

Image via YouTube screenshot

  • Jennie Salva

    Yet when they’re called on it, women are being whiners. Which of course merely PROVES what we’ve all been seeing.

    • M Otis Beard

      I don’t see a single post here calling you a whiner. What I see are posts pointing out that nobody cares about Clinton being a woman; they care about her being unethical.

    • B Belinda Morris

      Jennie Salva, correction, women who support the “vagina vote”.

  • Hi Jennifer. Well put. I continue to be fascinated and frustrated by the lack of awareness on the part of so many liberals when it comes to the Bernie and Hillary choice. It is so obvious that our biases and prejudices are completely invisible to ourselves most of the time. While I don’t agree with Hillary on many issues, I strongly support her women’s advocacy, health care concerns and a more holistic approach to politics. I really, really want to see what a qualified intelligent woman can do as a president. We all had such high hopes for Obama and yet few want to give Hillary the same about of slack or at least willingness to let her try. But I think it is as you say so well, really a masculine prejudice that only sees the “finances, military and politics” as the only viable judgement of what will make a good leader. I hope and pray that somehow she manages to get elected and that male prejudice is reduced for us all. ~Kathy

    • M Otis Beard

      So you care more about having a vagina in the White House than you do about keeping us out of places like Syria, really?

      People in other countries exist, and so does their suffering. You self-absorbed monster.

  • 062014

    I disagree. I’m a female retired from a career in finance and I won’t vote for her even though I’ve voted Democratic since 1972. When I try to explain to her supporters, they don’t bother to listen, just attack me, call me names, tell me I’m “illogical” or uniformed and simply dismiss me. My reasons are much deeper and more complex than those who actually vote for her “just because she’s a woman”.

  • Thomas J. Gray

    This is one of the most vacuous pieces of blather that I have seen in quite awhile. The only thing surprising about it is that it (apparently) wasn’t written by David Brock.

  • M Otis Beard

    Wow, this article is extreme in its cluelessness.

    Sanders’ supporters don’t care that Clinton is a woman; we care that she has lied to us again and again, voted for the Iraq War, is married to the clown who repealed Glass-Steagall (and still says that was the right thing to do), made huge arms deals with dozens of nations that have massive human rights issues (INCLUDING WOMEN’S RIGHTS ISSUES, LIKE SAUDI ARABIA), etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

    Jennifer Hall Lee, you can’t possibly seriously think this is about Clinton’s gender, unless you’re fabulously under-intelligent and uninformed. This has just got to be a deliberate partisan hack piece, not any kind of sincere journalism. Please stop writing this kind of garbage.

    • M Otis Beard

      You have heard of ethics, right?

  • #FeelTheBabies #FeelTheSoreLosers #FeelTheWhine

    #ImWithHer Go Hillary!

  • B Belinda Morris

    As a woman mother and feminist, I don’t vote with my vagina.

    I don’t “hate” HRC, she’s just wrong for the country. But I will hate it if she is the nominee. And I believe I will hate it if she is president.

    But who knows, maybe she’ll pull the ultimate flip flop. Maybe all the things she’s done and said in the past will end up being a cover, and she’ll actually be progressive.

    At least you’ve sort of identified the left. Hillary ain’t on the left.

Why I Wrote “Trumping And Drinking”
Get Over Yourselves. We’re All Rory Gilmore
Hillary Clinton, Shake It Off, Taylor Swift, Hillary Clinton Campaign song
Six Reasons “Shake It Off” Should Be Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Theme Song
Nancy Reagan dies, Just Say No, Ronald Reagan
A Not-So-Positive Ode to Nancy Reagan’s Frothy “Just Say No” Campaign
I Married for Health Insurance
Why I Wrote “Trumping And Drinking”
A Case of Nixonian Deja Vu
Post-Election Munchies: What is Your Grief Snack of Choice?
Why I Wrote “Trumping And Drinking”
A Case of Nixonian Deja Vu
Trump Reality Check, Now with Actual Facts!
Fascism Facts
I Married for Health Insurance
Get Over Yourselves. We’re All Rory Gilmore
Post-Election Munchies: What is Your Grief Snack of Choice?
Women’s Elections Rights in Saudi Arabia: A Token Drop in an Abysmal Bucket & the Plight of Women Under Sharia Law
Maybe It Wasn’t Rape: Emerging Matriarchy and the Altering of Women’s Past Sexual Narratives
Paris attacks, Paris terrorism
Is Paris Burning?
Chinese government and women's reproductive rights, adopting Chinese girls, international adoption
Dear Xi Jinping, I Am Writing to You as an American Mom of a 19-Year-Old Chinese Daughter
The Vital Voice of Hillary Clinton: Part 1
Maybe It Wasn’t Rape: Emerging Matriarchy and the Altering of Women’s Past Sexual Narratives
The Eyes Have It!
Ashley Madison, Jared Fogle, sex, rape, sexual affairs
Ashley Madison vs. Jared Fogle: Rape, Sex and Hacking in America
women's viagra, Viagra, Flibanserin, sexual arousal, women's desire, sex after menopause
That “Little Pink Pill” Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Get our new weekly email
Broadly Speaking

featuring our best words for the week + an exclusive longread