What is a Bernie Bro?

In an Elections thread, Lamoral asks:

I started to respond; and realized that my answer was angry and tendentious, so I am making it into its own thread.

“Bernie Bro,” if I understand it correctly:
It is meant to imply that the typical supporter of Bernie Sanders is an immature white man who doesn’t understand things and just mouths off. It’s an attempt to demonize economic progressives as dirty ignorant hipster dudebros (fratboys, potential rapists, probably gun owners like those icky rural people in Vermont, or possibly Anthony Weiner). It is meant to push women (who are more progressive overall) toward centrist candidates (who will not help make health care affordable but who will prioritize Wall Street and military contractors). It’s meant to drive a wedge between a large chunk of party workers and, well, Cenk Uygur specifically. It is even more sexist than you think.

I’m glad you started this thread because I keep hearing that same phrase - long after the election - and it annoys me.

I wasn’t really a Sanders supporter - my favorite candidate in the Democratic primary was Jim Webb, though I was saddened to see him crash and burn in the first debate and drop out immediately thereafter. But if Sanders had won the nomination, I’d have voted for him. I think he had a unique perspective and would have at least been a good experiment in trying a different kind of leadership, if he had won.

A great many of my friends - most, actually - supported Bernie very enthusiastically, and they included men and women of a variety of ages, ethnic backgrounds, and occupations. So I have to call bullshit on the attempt to pigeonhole his supporters as being one kind of person or another.

I don’t even think most of them were avid followers of politics or were very well schooled in political science or American political history; and it’s not like all or most of them were committed socialists, either. I think they just appreciated Sanders’ honesty.

For my part, I liked that he was the only candidate in the entire election who I can remember bringing up the very real issue of the prison industry and the need for large scale justice reform. I don’t know if free college is feasible or desirable; I don’t know if attacking “Wall Street” - in quotes because American capitalism is more than just “Wall Street” - is the answer to our problems; but I do know that the prison-industrial complex needs to be taken down, and that alone would have made a Sanders presidency worthwhile.

I also feel like a lot of people are hating on Sanders now because they feel like he helped Trump win the election. I don’t agree, but that’s a separate debate.

…not even close.

Wikipedia provides a good range of definitions:

It has nothing to do with “progressives” but describes a specific subset of “supporters” who openly displayed misogynistic and toxic behavior.

Well, I’ve heard the term used willy-nilly to describe basically anyone who supported Sanders. Insomuch as there’s an “official” definition of the phrase, it’s not the one that I’m familiar with in practice.

…I think you are projecting. I’ve never heard the term used to basically describe anyone who supported Sanders. Even in the quote you quoted in the other thread it is specifically calling out the bro’s and not every Sanders supporter.

Basically, the political arm of Gamergate.

I’ve not seen an official definition, but I think it’s probably similar to what Banquet Bear said. When I think of Bernie Bros, I think not of Sanders supporters generally, but rather a subset of (male) supporters who typically exhibit an almost pathological hatred of Hillary Clinton, and in doing so, reveal unconscious gender bias. They also tend to be overconfident in their knowledge of politics, history, and the issues.

I think it became generalized beyond the group BB states to anyone who was of the mindset “if not Bernie stay home” and who kept fighting against the Democratic nominee after Bernie lost, including but not limited to those who gloated that Clinton lost without their support.

It is clearly though a phrase of derision and anyone who does use it to describe those who supported Bernie in general is being a jerk.

You just need to read the Elections Forum thread to see the term is applied to anyone who thought the voters should decide who the Democratic Party candidate was instead of the DNC.

It is debatable in my mind whether or not it applies to those who continued to litigate the why Bernie lost and kept claiming that he was somehow robbed after the primaries were over and even well into the general election season.

Not sure that they do not fall under the definition I put up.

Still it is a derogatory phrase and I’d submit should not be used as a general rule.

The word actually does refer to only a subset of Sanders’ supporters. Use of the word, however, is generally meant to imply that all of Sanders’ supporters fall into that subset.

More or less. There are a few posters here who use the term that way. But the thing is, if you don’t mean it in a pejorative way, you probably aren’t going to use it. So, theoretically, it’s the subset. In practical reality, though, it’s meant to disparage most Bernie supporters, and Bernie himself. It’s generally a good indication that the post containing it might as well be ignored.

They voters did decide the nominee. The Bernie Bros are those who wanted it handed to their guy anyway, and pouted when that didn’t happen. Some continue to do so.

I thought, in my post about Alexandria Ocasio-Córtez that set this off, that I would draw a clear distinction between someone associated with Bernie Sanders’s movement and the antisocial behavior labeled “Bernie Bro.” That I, a dyed-in-the-wool Hillary Clinton voter, felt no hard feelings toward AOC and said 2016 is “water under the bridge.” I drew what I thought was a clear distinction between AOC, whom I support for her inherent good qualities and because we have to look forward instead of back, and the specifically obnoxious behavior of some Bernie supporters.

Would have thought you’d be happy with a Hillarista praising the good in one of your team. Instead all you do is complain about the political epithet. Well, you either have to get a thick skin or get out of politics. We Hillary voters are long resigned to that fact.

I think we have to let go of the bitter divisions of 2016 and that AOC is the one to lead the way on that. “Go light another match and start anew, and it’s all over now, baby blue.”

*“Strike another match, go start anew”

Hilarista? Why does that term even need to be used anyway?

It does nobody any good to compare parts of the American Democratic electorate to a radical Communist insurgency. Sanderista, Hilarista, what’s the point of these nicknames?

We’re not “complaining about the political epithet,” we are discussing it because it came up in another discussion. It seems like the we’re not the ones with the thin skin here.

Well if that is the question it has been answered by the person who used it.

It was intended to identify the elements of those who supported Sanders with anti-social behavior that was felt by many others as to be to the detriment of the prospects of the candidate who had won the nomination. And to draw a distinction between that and the progressive wing and others who had supported Sanders and who are now a large and important part of the party’s future.

No, it did not mean what the op thinks it did. That was not understanding correctly.

The most enthusiastic Bernie supporter I know is a woman. But she is more of a pragmatist. When Bernie lost she threw her support to Hillary.

The number one characteristic of a Bernie Bro is always believing in conspiracy theories every time Bernie lost. Somehow, in their minds, they’ve morphed the DNC into a Bond villain. And, of course, what can’t be blamed on the DNC is always attributed to ‘the Democratic establishment’ or ‘the Clinton machine.’

I am still tired from the endless times I had to explain the nominating
process and proportional delegate allocation to Bernie Bros who’d scream after every result. In addition, how many times did I have to link to articles describing the history of superdelegates?

And no, Bernie isn’t the first candidate to have a small, but incredibly enthusiastic group of supporters. The difference with Bernie is that not only did have benefit from social media and the incessant desire of the media to have a horse race, but Bernie has made a lifetime in running against the Democratic Party.

Michael Dukakis made a huge mistake in 1988 by allowing Jesse Jackson to dominate one night of the convention. No one has loved a camera more than Jackson and Jackson’s constant whining about not being respected was proof enough to many voters that Dukakis was willing to be led around by the nose by Jesse Jackson.

Bill Clinton didn’t make this mistake in 1992. Not only did he tell off Jackson, he also ignored Jerry Brown who tried to stay relevant and had his own group of fervent supporters.

But neither of these candidates were running in 2016, a much different environment. Bill Clinton didn’t have Jerry Brown’s die hard supporters screaming on Twitter or the comments section of Daily Kos. And, there wasn’t endless hours of cable news that gave a platform to Bernie, Jane, and Tad Devine.

It also doesn’t matter to a devout Bro that Sanders got a *higher *percentage of delegates than voters.