If you disrespect Bernie Sanders, you’re going to get a visit from his social media goons. They are passionate about campaign finance reform, staying active in one’s 70s, and being very, very manly.
They are the Berniebros. The Atlantic’s Robinson Meyer first coined the phrase in October, describing your typical Berniebro as someone who is “white; well-educated; middle-class (or, delicately, ‘upper middle-class’); and aware of NPR podcasts and jangly bearded bands.” Meyer continued:
The Berniebro, now that you think about it, was the kind of person who’d show up to a college party in a toga. You remember it maybe being the Berniebro’s profile picture once. (Today, the Berniebro is wearing a blazer in his profile picture, or an open-necked gingham shirt. Or both.)
In the past five months, the Berniebro has morphed into a social media mob—aided largely by r/SandersforPresident and a feeling that the media has let them down. The Berniebro is now what happens when Reddit eats a fairly liberal, if irritatingly opinionated white guy, and spits him out. He is tired, he is covered in boils, and he is intent on destroying Hillary Clinton by any. means. necessary.
And he is making the campaign look bad.
Mashable’s Emily Cahn reports that politicians and other public figures who support Hillary Clinton can expect to receive a torrent of often-sexist insults in response. “You should have supported someone with integrity instead of a lying shitbag like HRC,” one Berniebro commented on a photo of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Clinton.
“Their vaginas are making terrible choices,” another commented.
The vitriol became so much that Mike Casca, Sanders’ rapid response director, took to Twitter to make an appeal for common decency.
“We love our supporters and we know we wouldn’t be here without you all, but it does add a layer of complexity when we have to track what you all do during some moments when we are shaping our messaging,” Sanders’ digital media director Hector Sigala followed up on Reddit. “Above all: just know you represent our movement and be respectful with those who disagree with you.”
“Yeah, I’ll admit I was guilty of this when talking to a Hilldawg supporter,” one bro responded. “They just become so condescending when talking about the issues that it can set off your temper. Definitely going to focus on being more respectful and being the bigger man when debating Bernie’s policies.”
Since receiving a scolding from Sanders’ people, it’s clear that many Sanders supporters are attempting to helpfully police their fellow bros behavior. In an attempt at shaking loose some bros from the internet’s rafters, I posted the comment, “Bernie is great, but isn’t Hillary more electable?” in two popular Facebook groups for Sanders supporters. In the first group, my comment was immediately deleted; in the second, it set off a bomb.
Within 45 minutes, it received almost 150 comments. Most people attempted to convince me why Sanders was the only electable option, many contributed memes, some dismissed me as a “Shillary” troll, and just a few bros reared their heads:
“#NoShillary,” one wrote.
“No she’s a fucking twat,” said another. “I am of the opinion that $hillary is a fucking twat. TWAT TWAT TWAT. Bye felicia!”
“Bernie IS GREAT if you have any morals or ethics that is the end of the discussion... if on the other hand you have no moral compos then why not say trump is more electable than that clitrash ..there now you can vote for the winner... year you .. idiot.. use you vote to do the right thing or get that weak sh&^t and go home...”
Each time I was attacked, though, other supporters condemned their language and exclusivity. When one bro told me I shouldn’t be in the group, another responded:
“Yes she should, we would love for you to come aboard the Bernie train. Please watch, continue to do your research and keep asking questions. We need to keep educating people not turning them away. Everyone should #feelthebern.”
Image via Getty.