Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Hillary Supporters Are As Passionate As Bernie Supporters

It is a common theme in the media these days (especially the cable news networks) that the supporters of Bernie Sanders are passionate about their candidate, while supporters of Hillary Clinton are not. I don't believe that for a second. Hillary's supporters may not be as loud and obnoxious as some of Bernie's supporters, but they are just as passionate in their support of her candidacy.

I am not alone in that assessment. Here is most of a column by Paul Krugman (pictured) in the New York Times

I’ve talked to a few friends who are Sanders supporters, some others who are Clinton supporters, and I have some impressions. This is not reporting; just a personal reaction.

The appeal of the Sanders campaign, at least to people I know, is that it brings a sense of possibility. For those who were joyful and uplifted on inauguration day 2009, the years that followed have been a vast letdown: American politics got even uglier, policy progress always fell short of dreams. Now comes Sanders — very different in personal style from Obama 2008, but again someone who seems different and offers the hope of transformation. And some people really want to hear that message, and don’t want to hear that they’re being unrealistic.

But there’s something else, which I keep encountering, and which I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice: even among progressives, the two-decade-plus smear campaign against the Clintons has had its effect. I keep being told about terrible things the Clintons did that never actually happened, but were carefully fomented right-wing legends — except I’m hearing them from people on the left. The sense that where there’s smoke there must be fire — when the reality was nothing but Richard Mellon Scaife with a smoke machine — is very much out there, still.

Unfortunately, that underlying Foxification of perceptions marries all too well with the tendency of some — only some — Sanders supporters to assume that any skepticism about their hero’s proposals or prospects must reflect personal corruption. Something like that was probably inevitable in a campaign whose premise is that everything is rigged by the oligarchy, but it interacts with the vague perception, the product of all those years of right-wing smearing, that there’s a lot of Clinton dirt.

Even among those who don’t believe in the phony scandals, there is, as there was in 2008, a desire for someone new, who they imagine won’t bring out all that ugliness. But of course they’re wrong: if Sanders is the nominee, it will take around 30 seconds before Fox News is nonstop coverage of the terrible things he supposedly did when younger. Don’t say there’s nothing there: a propaganda machine that could turn John Kerry into a coward can turn a nice guy from Brooklyn into a monstrously flawed specimen of humanity in no time at all.

On the other hand, that history is, I think, one factor behind a phenomenon we saw in 2008 and will see again this year: there’s a lot more passionate support for Clinton than either Sanders supporters or the news media imagine. There are a lot of Democrats who see her as someone who has been subjected to character assassination, to vicious attacks, on a scale few women and no men in politics have ever encountered — yet she’s still standing, still capable of remarkable grace under fire. If you didn’t see something heroic about her performance in the Benghazi hearing, you’re missing something essential.

And Clinton’s dogged realism, while it doesn’t inspire the same kind of uplift as Sanders’s promise of change, can be inspiring in its own way.

The truth is that both Democrats have a lot of genuine, solid support. Both had 80 percent approval among Democrats in the DMR poll released yesterday. One item from that poll that seems to have surprised reporters:

There’s no enthusiasm gap — it’s just different forms of enthusiasm.

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