By spring of 2016, the battle of candidates was in full swing. But more importantly a very uncivil war of hashtags had begun – you were either #FeelTheBern or #ImWithHer. And the insults, arguments and threats between supporters just kept escalating.
Some key events:
- 12/2015: Sanders staff gains limited access to Clinton data in #DNC database. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (DWS) denies them access to their own data. Sanders fires staffer involved and threatens to sue. DWS backs off. (Snopes)
- 1/2016: Sanders supporters online attack Clinton supporters and media figures online – often using sexist and racist language. (BBC)
- 2/2016: Clinton supporter John Lewis implies Sanders wasn’t involved in civil rights in the 1960’s. Lewis later walks back his comments after it’s revealed Sanders was engaged in Chicago and arrested while protesting. (Guardian)
- 2/2016: Clinton supporter Gloria Steinem says young women supporting Sanders are “in it for the boys.” Madeline Albright, said: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” Both claimed their remarks were misunderstood. (WaPo)
- 3/2016: Clinton hires David Brock who files ethics lawsuits on against Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Correct the Record (Brock) will eventually hire internet trolls to deal with Sanders supporters online. (LA Times)
- 4/2016: Sanders claims Clinton is not qualified to be President because of her ties to Wall St. and the amount of money from corporate donors. It is a talking point GOP candidates play off. (Politico)
- 4/2016: Clinton refuses to release transcripts from Wall St. speeches during the debate to loud boos from audience. Points to her tax returns – reminding Sanders he has not released his. (Business Insider)
- 5/2016: Sanders promises to fight up to the convention, cities polling numbers that he’s stronger against Trump than Clinton. (PoliticFact)
- 7/2016: Sanders concedes the nomination and endorses Clinton. (CNN)
These are just a few of the highlights. Still, it should have been over. Sanders agreed to support Clinton. Clinton incorporated some policies that Sanders supported. All is well. (I am not going to get into all the accusations around the DNC or MSM.)
Not So Much
Supporters of both candidates took to social media with a vengeance. People who had followed each other for years began blocking, muting, unfriending. Suddenly the party known for political correctness and choruses of Kumbaya was ripping itself to shreds.
As much as everyone wants to play the victim now – there was plenty of doxxing and trash talking from both camps.
Clinton supporters were furious that Hillary found herself competing for the nomination again. When she lost to Obama in 08, they fell on their sword and supported him. They were angry that Sanders supporters didn’t seem inclined to do the same.
Sander supporters were furious at the favoritism of the DNC and mainstream media. They contested the outcomes of every race, looking for ways to discredit Clinton. They paid no attention to Bernie’s support for Clinton and refused to follow his lead.
Shit Hits the Fan
By this time, Sanders supporters were flat out stating their refusal to vote for Clinton. Clinton supporters were flat out saying who cares – STFU – we don’t need your vote.
A few hopeful voices called for party unity. Most people could have cared less. We were all so caught up in fighting.
Then came the emails.
It was a nightmare. Sanders supporters went wild over Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Clinton supporters went wild over the MSM coverage. GOP went wild with glee.
Hillary Clinton tried to point out evidence of Russian interference. Her supporters didn’t really seem to know how to support that message. Sanders people basically flipped her off.
Comey announces his opinion.
This was devastating for the Clinton campaign. And because the Democratic party was so hostile to one another – we all worked together to make it worse. The Clinton folks went all in: this was total bullshit – more right wing talking points. The Sanders people screamed for Clinton to be charged. More blocking. More fighting. Everyone hunkering down, cementing their positions. Trump and the GOP loved every minute.
Comey sends his letter.
Holy crap. The latest Anthony Weiner drama turned into yet another nightmare for the Clinton campaign. Even some Sanders supporters cried foul, though most were still really pissed about the DNC. Bitterness was everywhere, all factions. People were attacking each other. Clinton folks felt Hillary was entitled to everyone’s support. Sanders fans felt Bernie had been cheated.
The polls still showed Clinton kicking Trump’s ass by a handy margin. And despite a lot of bitching and booing at the convention, 90% of staunch Sanders supporters would vote for her.
Then the unthinkable happened…
(Part 3: Election’s Over, Primaries Still Rage)