Are Puritopians On The Left As Dangerous As The Tea Party?

Written by SueinRockville and VJ.

When a political party strives for ideological purity, the objectives of their group get lost amidst the impractical devotion to that cause.  As a result, the party loses its effectiveness and the fringe elements seem to take over.  This has happened in the Democratic Party, much to our peril.

During both midterm elections of President Obama, the Left became the enemy of the good in pursuit of perfection.  It’d hard to forget Ed Schultz and Michael Moore urging voters to sit out 2010.  It’s hard to forget the Snowden/Greenwald efforts to paint President Obama as a drone dropping maniac.  Both of these critical midterms drew abysmal Democratic participation and as a result, Congress became more obstinate about compromising over the most rudimentary of government functions.   Ted Cruz shut down the government just to impress the far right,  and he’s now a leading contender in the GOP, pending his eligibility of course.

There seems to be two theories play here: 1. The Horseshoe Theory  and 2. The Cult of Personality.  We mustn’t fall victim to either.  Unfortunately, the self-professed Democratic Socialist and Independent, Bernie Sanders,  is dragging the party through the mud with the mudslinging of his now aggressive and negative campaign.

The Horseshoe Theory:

The horseshoe theory holds that rather then a straight line from the far left to the far right it actually looks more like a horseshoe where the far right is closer to the far left.  They defend their candidates and refuse to accept any criticism or analysis. When challenged they quickly become very defensive, resort to personal attacks, or claim that person is bought and paid for by opponents.   The ideological purity of the socialism Sanders espouses has caused the far left to become almost as impractical as the Teabaggers on the far-right.

Just under a year ago on April 30, 2015 Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy for the US presidency.  In that speech he pledged not to go negative.   His campaign slogan, “A future to believe in” was his promise to run a campaign based on the challenges and issues of the next US president in this complex global world.  It’s one year later roughly, and it’s time to take another look at what’s happening on the Democratic side of the aisle.


By the eve of the Iowa caucus at the end of January, 2016, he began to renege and as we have all seen recently his campaign has devolved into hurling personal attacks, lies and smears against Hillary Clinton at every speech.   

Sen. Bernie Sanders, closing out his campaign in Iowa, took a strategic gamble in hopes of notching a victory over Hillary Clinton in the state’s Democratic caucuses Monday night: He went negative.

The evidence of the negativity couldn’t be more blatant than when he called Secretary Clinton ‘unqualified.’  More recently, after learning that the Washington Post article was entitled incorrectly,  it took two more days before he corrected himself, but never fully backtracked from his claim that Secretary Clinton was not qualified to become the next president. This past Sunday he stated,  something is clearly lacking in her judgment.   Let’s face it, this campaign is not about ideals but about the person:  He is the revolution.  He is ‘the movement.’  But really, how politically pure can he be?

Bernie Sanders has been a politician since he first became the mayor of Burlington Vermont in 1981. He served in Congress for sixteen years and has been an Independent member of the Senate since 2007. He has a history of vehemently denying any affiliation with the Democratic Party with which he currently aligns.   In fact, he’s never run before as a Democrat in his 40 year political history.

He plays it both ways,” said former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin, a Democrat who once successfully fended off Sanders from the left in a reelection bid. “He wants to be different, and yet he wants to belong—for political purposes.”

Oddly enough, today, Bernie FINALLY decided he could lend a hand to down ticket Democrats.  He decided to support three candidates, who have already endorsed him.

Bernie Sanders is raising money for a trio of progressive House candidates who have endorsed him, a move that comes just weeks after he faced friendly fire for not committing to fundraise for down-ballot Democrats.

When pressed on his plans to raise money for other Democrats in late March by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Sanders simply said, “Well, we’ll see.”

He is a politician, through and through.  His primary campaign staffers, Jeff Weaver and Tad Devine are certainly not docile political operatives, they have decades of experience. He has raised an incredible $140 million just through February 2016 and he is spending it almost as fast as it is coming in. FTC filings by his campaign shows over $10 million just in public relations, social media and advertising. The man who would fly in the middle seat of coach now only flies by private air charter spending almost $2 million in February 2016.

Tad Devine, his chief strategist and his firm, Devine Mulvey and Longabaugh is paid over $ 810,000 a month to amplify that messaging.  Revolution Messaging LLC was paid more than 3.3 Million in February as well.  They call themselves ” leaders in cutting edge progressive strategies for a mobile world.” We are not sure what attracted Sanders to Devine, as he was a chief strategist of Dukakis, Kerry and Mondale campaigns (to name a few), but Devine is producing these rallies at substantial financial cost.

The Cult of Personality:  Bernie

The Cult of Personality has been used to refer to dictators like Joseph Stalin or Kim Jung Il,  however, it can be conferred upon a person and unfortunately that person may start to believe his supporters adulation.  While right wing extremists are usually focused on racism, bigotry, and nationalism, left wing extremists are passionate about class and economic fairness.

These ‘Puritopians’ are fiercely loyal and brook no dissension. They imbue their candidate with almost mystical qualities. One prime example was the ridiculous overreaction when one little finch landed on Bernie Sanders podium.  For Sanders supporters this was clear evidence of a sign from “above.”  They now condone the dirty attacks on Hillary’s ’emails’ or the Iraq War vote in 2002, the same ones he promised he would avoid.
He claims to be free of PAC money, but there’s a few concerns.  However, the red flags on his fundraising have been largely ignored by the media.
Reservations about the largely un-vetted Bernie Sanders are well deserved.  The devotion to everything he advocates is not terribly different from the free pass Trump supporters afford their anointed one, and that is troubling on many levels.  The fact that the supporters of both extremes,  Sanders and Donald Trump, are equally fervent shows how both theories have converged and merged into ‘Democratic’ Candidate Bernie Sanders.
Once the far left converges with the right, it’s time to think less idealistically and more pragmatically.