MSNBC just destroyed what was left of his kindness
When Chris Matthews says Bernie is a communist that's going to kill dissidents in Central Park grandad believes him
Read this first if you haven’t.
A weird thing happened yesterday where I found myself absolutely shit-assed over something Donald Trump said. Doesn’t sound so strange but during the past nine years that the Democratic Primary has been playing out I’ve spent so much time infuriated with MSNBC red-baiters and Clinton dead-enders and the DNC snakes doing everything they can to convince the base that Bernie Sanders a man who merely wants to install some light social democracy is somehow the fourth horseman of the apocalypse that it felt almost retro to hate Trump again.
To be clear Bernie simply wants us to become somewhat more like Scandinavian countries and not in the way that Trump and Stephen Miller do and that seems to be a nightmare to a lot of the liberals that we are supposed to believe are on our side. The ones who tell us constantly that it’s time for unity and not division and that we all need to come together and compromise in order to defeat the unique menace of Donald Trump the first bad president. Not compromise toward the left of course but toward the center. Just this one last time. Trust us.
I got into MSNBC talking heads filling their diapers over the prospect of a Bernie win in the last Hell World here which you should read if you haven’t.
But maybe there are other ways to improve healthcare (or whatever) people will say maybe we just need to go a little slower and not make such radical leaps all at once they say and to them I say “more likely to work” and reasonable process arguments are always always always a way of forestalling progress. It’s a condescending appeal to fake reasonability and a lie that says we’ll get to your shit eventually just hold on and to that I say no go fuck your mother.
In the meantime Chris Matthews has apologized for comparing Bernie winning the Nevada primary to the Nazis overrunning France (Chuck Todd also previously talked about Bernie having a team of brownshirts) and Jason Johnson who got the memo a day late has been sidelined from the network for the latest in his series of unhinged Bernie-attacking feats of brain magic.
And yet the ostensibly liberal news network continues to be staffed almost entirely by either Republicans like Nicole Wallace or blue dog duds like Lawrence O’Donnell and Matthews who can’t divine the changing winds and a rotating cast of Democratic power brokers who are petrified about losing their consulting gigs. Just today a story came out in the New York Times about Democratic leaders and politicians shitting into the sink about the increasing likelihood of Bernie winning.
Dozens of interviews with Democratic establishment leaders this week show that they are not just worried about Mr. Sanders’s candidacy, but are also willing to risk intraparty damage to stop his nomination at the national convention in July if they get the chance. Since Mr. Sanders’s victory in Nevada’s caucuses on Saturday, The Times has interviewed 93 party officials — all of them superdelegates, who could have a say on the nominee at the convention — and found overwhelming opposition to handing the Vermont senator the nomination if he arrived with the most delegates but fell short of a majority.
A number of superdelegates dream of a savior candidate who is not now in the race, perhaps Mr. Brown, or maybe someone who already dropped out the race, like Senator Kamala Harris of California.
Representative Don Beyer of Virginia cast an even wider net, suggesting senators from Virginia and Delaware, along with Ms. Pelosi, as possible nominees.
“At some point you could imagine saying, ‘Let’s go get Mark Warner, Chris Coons, Nancy Pelosi,’” he said, while preparing to introduce the former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend., Ind., at a campaign event near his home on Sunday. “Somebody that could win and we could all get behind and celebrate.”
Democrats are as ever absolutely terrified of actually gaining and wielding power. They’d much rather have a good showing and lose honorably by the book and be able to maintain their jobs and positions of power within the party than be faced with the daunting prospect of winning and ah fuck now we gotta do something.
Weirdly you will see all manner of regular ass people falling for this type of shit. I mentioned this the other day as well.
Dealing with the right is one thing but it's real fucking grim and demoralizing having to contend with so many “on the left” who don't think better things are possible and don't seem to even want to try. I get that coming from the rich TV people they have their own class interests to protect but I don’t understand the average person who goes to bat for the status quo.
The thing that bothers me the most about that is this: You can literally just say you want the best and most just outcome for whatever issue at any time. A lot of people don’t seem to understand that. It’s free! You do not as an individual have a limited reserve of justice aspiration coupons to redeem. You’re not managing a fantasy football team or whatever where you can only draft one tight end. You can ask for the fucking moon or you can simply ask that our country accept a little bit more social democracy. You don’t have to think well how will we pay for it you don’t have to think hmm will the other side be mad at me for wanting this you don’t have to think about what the voters of a lawmaker in a purple state might want you can just say THIS IS FUCKING CRAZY AND WE NEED TO MAKE THINGS BETTER. You can say it ten thousand times in a row. And then when enough of us are saying it the politicians will have to listen or it’s their ass.
Countless hours of watching cable news pundits has convinced the average person they have to think like a savvy politics insider who knows how the game is played and that always means hamstringing our aspirations for progress before we even get to the bargaining table. You don’t have to do that shit man. It’s not your job to worry about that shit.
People you know will tell you Bernie as the nominee will hurt down ballot races all over the country because of… well they don’t really explain why. It’s just something they’ve heard over and over again on MSNBC where the people who bring them the news every day and who are in fact rich enough to be dinged by higher taxes pervert the message behind his campaign. I shouldn’t have to say this but what’s good for Joe and Mika and Rachel and Chuck is not actually good for you the replacement level lib. Your class interests are not aligned and they are very skilled communicators well not Chuck maybe lol who will do what they have to do to manipulate you into thinking otherwise.
It’s fucking insane making to watch happen especially as so many of our friends and family keep stepping on that rake over and over. Granted it’s not quite so heartbreaking as watching your friends and family fall prey to the Fox News propaganda machine — I still hate fascists more than I hate liberals despite often not being afforded the same courtesy the other way — but it’s similar in a lot of ways.
As you may remember I collected a bunch of stories last year from people who’ve had their relationships with parents and grandparents and so on destroyed by Fox News. I wondered if a similar thing happens between people on the actual left and their MSNBC-watching Resistance Lib friends and families. Turns out it does. Not quite as dramatically of course but it’s become a sticking point nonetheless and yet another example of how we just don’t seem to be able to communicate with each other anymore because the TV is making sure that we aren’t drawing from a shared reality.
Here’s what people told me. Bolded comments are me.
What bothers me the most about having a boomer MSNBC aunt is that she gets sucked in by Rachel Maddow’s “This time we’ve got him” nonsense. Maddow will throw in references to make boomers drool like “We’ve seen this before. In President Eisenhower’s 1957 State of the Union address, he mentioned blah blah blah...” and it gives my aunt a sense of false hope that those same safeguards are in place to keep a president in check.
I cannot get through to her that Citizens United ended one party’s belief in the rule of law. I cannot get through to her that all the GOP believes in is tax cuts for billionaires and Wall Street, so they don’t care that Trump is a serial rapist.
But the most painful thing is that MSNBC has convinced a good chunk of boomers that there are some heroic Republicans that will somehow ride in to save the day. I cannot convince my aunt that the MSNBC Iraq War Republicans would’ve told her to go to hell fifteen years ago and would’ve screamed in her face that she hates America and is happy to see the troops killed for opposing the war. She’s convinced there are a good chunk of “decent Republicans” still out there appalled by Trump, because Rick Wilson, Nicole Wallace and Bill Kristol don’t like him.
I truly don’t know how to get an entire generation to believe that New York country club establishment pundits don’t live in reality, and are permanently stuck in 1983, and are STILL friends with Trump and his family. MSNBC pundits went out of their way to elect Trump, because the entire media saw him as their industry savior. He was their co-worker for a decade and they figured he wouldn’t act the way he does because he was personally nice to them in the Hamptons or at the Met Gala in the nineties. Anyone that isn’t white is “far left” to Stephanie Ruehl, and Trump still golfs with Morning Joe. I point all this out and my aunt still believes “a Mitt Romney type” will rise up and shame Republicans back into 1977 behavior. She doesn’t believe me when I talk about Stephen Miller or that Trump’s base is a white supremacist cult because she heard about “economic anxiety” from Chris Matthews.
My mother has been lost to both the MSNBC and boomer Resistance Twitter mindset and it’s gotten to the point where we can barely discuss politics. MSNBC is always on in the background, she actively watches Maddow and other pundits nightly, hates Bernie and so on.
Have you tried talking to her about this shit?
Yes, absolutely. Even going back to 2015-2016, Bernie’s first run. My now-deceased father was alive then, and he and I were both Bernie supporters from the start (my father had said he should run going back to 2010). My mother was a Clinton supporter and would occasionally instigate screaming fights with us. I’m not sure how relevant this all is to her dislike of Bernie, but it is somewhat underlying, because a few times she’s mentioned it felt like we were in some sort of cool club and she was left out, which was not at all the case. We tried to welcome her.
Ughh that is hard.
Back to this election cycle, she now supports Warren. I’ve continued to try to educate her on all of the campaigns and how a lot of her “dislike” points about Bernie are somewhat toxic and untrue, ie, “Bernie bros” being invalidating to many of his supporters. She has said that he’s participated in sexual harassment and possibly even assault, which just seems to be based on nothing. She truly believes that he was awful to Clinton and will critique even that he did many rallies for her. It seems to hit all of the classic MSNBC talking points. She has been my best friend in life in so many ways, but this has strained us.
When she goes on to explain her support for Warren, and she’s gone as far as saying Bloomberg could be a second choice because she “really believes he could take down Trump” and he must be a good billionaire if he’s spending his own money to do so, she says things along the lines of “I just want to make sure you understand this all,” which is invalidating to my own research and how politically plugged in I am. If I bring up any of my very real problems with Warren, it’s something like “I wasn’t alive in the fifties and sixties like she was, I didn’t grow up with that sexism,” which seems to imply that sexism is now an issue that is solved. I have of course experienced sexism. I can still critique a woman without being sexist.
As far as Bloomberg, who has done many things in the past that she’s disagreed with, she says “well, he’s apologized for so much of that.” As a white woman who was not really affected by any of that other than hearing it in the news, it isn’t really her place to decide if he’s forgiven.
She thinks that any wrongdoing against Bernie by the DNC is justified because “He’s not a Democrat.” It’s very hypocritical if you’re going to take that route, because then wouldn’t Bloomberg also not live up to these standards of being a Democrat?
She is an intelligent woman, and is kind and compassionate, but it seems the talking heads have somewhat brainwashed her out of that. She’s incredibly pro-union and even studied union and labor law, yet ignores the candidate that has the most union support for her own strange personal reasons. It seems that she can feel that any questioning of her views is an attack on her personally, which it isn’t. Beating Trump is the most important thing to her, she’s said that, yet she won’t stand behind the candidate who has shown time and time again to have the best chance of beating him. She is very Vote Blue No Matter Who, yet Bernie is the only one she will critique.
The whole Resistance Twitter thing definitely plays into it in a big way, as well.
The real problem with my mother and her liberal friends in Ohio is their iPads. Not all of them watch MSNBC all the time, but all of them are connected via iPad to the Resistance Liberal media bubble 24/7. It’s gotten to the point where my brother and sister and I have discussed staging an intervention. We all live far away and don’t come back very often, but when we do we’ll be in the same room hanging out and she’ll be zoned into the little screen in her lap, ignoring us outright or asking a question and then not listening to our answer or sometimes just reading aloud directly from the article she has open. The news of the day is all she wants to talk about, and to where she directs every conversation, and she just doesn’t process that most people don’t enjoy talking about heavy political shit all the time.
I’m somewhat sympathetic, as she’s a brilliant woman who’s accomplished a ton in her life, and I think Hillary losing to this man in particular broke something in her brain (and those of her friends in her age group), how after a lifetime of dealing with bullshit from men like that no one could stop this last indignity (in large part by not being able to dissuade many of their husbands and conservative friends and family members from voting for him). Even so, the last time one of us asked her to put her iPad away she threw a fit befitting the world’s most spoiled thirteen-year-old. We were on a family vacation last year, and she kept offering to watch the grandkids in the basement or outside so the rest of us could get some peace, and every time we went to check on them the kids would be doing something insane or dangerous and she’d be sitting five feet away, reading her iPad, completely oblivious.
It’s taken a definite toll on my relationship with her. I have stopped asking for any sort of help with the kids if I can help it, and all the political talk limits our ability to have a conversation. The final straw there came last summer, when she tried to break things down for me, her immature, not-seeing-the-big-picture youngest son (I’m thirty seven), by saying, “This goes back thirty years, to when LBJ was President, and the Great Society…”
I stopped her and said, “Mom, that was over fifty years ago.”
“Well whatever, whatever,” she said, and kept right on trucking. It felt so broadly representative of this whole shit show, and how far gone so many boomers (even the smartest ones) are.
My brother is a shitlib who I was already in shaky ground with and now I want him to fuck off entirely.
What does he believe in? What do you guys argue about?
Honestly, I find it hard to pin down what he believes in. He's younger than me by six years (I'll be forty two next month so I'm the old one here) and I do recall learning about Howard Dean's presidential run from him at the time. But what his beliefs are now is kind of a mystery. He was a big Hillary supporter last go round, whereas I backed Bernie, so that started the political tensions I'd say. But now? I think he just believes in Democrats and the DNC, sort of unflinchingly. I would have a hard time pinpointing which candidate he does like, outside of hating Bernie.
Most of our arguments center on Facebook posts I make, usually in support of Bernie, or in pointing out what I see as hypocrisy in the DNC or Democrats like hating Trump, then voting for his budgets, etc. But the big arguments have been my view of the DNC clearly stacking the deck against Bernie
People who love the DNC are really weird. What are you even behind there?
Right! It's like being a fan of music but no actual bands or genres...just music in general.
Lol. It’s like being a fan of LiveNation.
Has it made you want to avoid talking to him?
I think 2016 probably warped his brain in the opposite way that it warped mine. Well, we have a long older vs. younger brother rivalry that you probably don't want to get into (hahah) that spurs some of it and we aren't particularly close in general, but it has, for sure. I do think in my brother's case, there's also a bit of the "old man was mean to mommy" kind of view that's warped him further
My dad doesn’t have cable but he watches tons of clips of CNN and MSNBC on YouTube and it’s gotten to the point where he struggles to focus on a conversation without talking about Trump. He’s more anxious and paranoid than ever and it fucking sucks.
He’s always been kind of an obsessive person. During the Bush years he was kind of a 9/11 truther. He doesn’t work and he doesn’t really have a lot going on, so he spends a lot of his days at home alone. He has a smart tv and watches YouTube on it, and most of what he watches is CNN, MSNBC, or Colbert and Seth Meyers highlights. I think the wall of sound there has accentuated his worst and most anxious tendencies — we found bed bugs at the house a year and a half ago and he still refuses to go to the movies. He talks about Trump constantly. He’ll derail a conversation to say something along the lines of “Can you believe what Trump just did?” All the time. It sucks and I wish that I could talk to him at length about anything else. It’s not even a substantive engagement with what Trump represents, or what the effects of his policies are, it’s all stuff like “Can you believe what he said today?”
My grandad, who is eighty five and has trouble making his Medicare wraparound payment, told me last week that Sanders and M4A will never work in America. He believes regular people love their health insurance too much, so I should vote for Bloomberg. I don’t know what to do.
He watches MSNBC everyday, and has for twenty years. I have to tell him regularly that the shit they say isn't true and the network and the personalities have an agenda. Sometimes it gets through, but how do you fight ten hours of programming every day?
He was an electrical engineer for NASA in the fifties and sixties, and then went to work on the missile silos in North Dakota, so he got the Red Scare first hand. When Chris Matthews says Bernie is a communist that's going to kill dissidents in Central Park, grandad believes him.
Yeah, all that watching does something to your brain.
It’s poison. The other weird thing is the hope they instill. We regularly talk about how the next Russia leak is going to bring Trump down. What's funny to me is this is the same thinking my dad has. He radicalized himself with right wing propaganda and thinks some real crazy shit. Before I cut ties with him, I would find myself having very similar conversations with the both of them about maybe thinking critically about the news they consume.
So you got both sides. Which is worse do you think?
Conservative propaganda is much harder to fight. It's almost total indoctrination to a worldview that I have no insight into. With the lib shit, at least they have some empathy that I can relate to and help guide him to some insight. It's hard to separate myself here, because my relationship with my dad is bad. I blame some of the propaganda for that. He’s also been a dick my whole life, so who knows really.
My elderly parents turn MSNBC on first thing in the morning, and often fall asleep to it on the couch at night. They've become isolated, angry, paranoid and have lost relationships with the vast majority of their children and grandchildren as a result. It's heartbreaking.
Trump broke their brains. I think they see paying attention to him on the network most critical of him every minute of the day as some kind of resistance or civic duty? But you cannot have that motherfucker in your head for hours on end every day without psychological damage.
Nothing shocking, but it’s very weird to converse with family and friends who absorb, say, Jason Johnson commentary as though it’s just normal-brained analysis. Trying to take fifteen steps back to provide context to what they hear is exhausting and probably pointless.
I don't know if it qualifies as MSNBC derangement, but my dad especially has been watching it a lot. It's really amped up the amount he hates Trump, but it's strange in talking to him to hear the ways in which the priorities and perspectives of the network have kind of supplanted everything else. He's in his late 70s and has always been a specific kind of age-appropriate liberal, so it's not like he was into universal programs before Chris Matthews told him they were communist or whatever. It's just surprising to see him be so credulous about Russia stuff. He's a lawyer and partial to elaborate arguments, but buying what like Malcolm Nance says is really weird, even if he's easy enough to dissuade once you start talking about it.
My parents have always been TV-averse, and they're both so afraid of technology that they'll never really get their news from suspect online sources. They subscribe to two newspapers and read them, and one of those is the Times. He'll definitely read a Tom Friedman column and relay its arguments to me, and those arguments seem increasingly bizarre and deranged—like weird glib shit about bombing campaigns and decapitation strikes and then the next time we talk stuff about the benign flattening effects of our new global globe, sitting right next to each other like there's no conflict.
The MSNBC stuff can seem almost benign compared to that, because it is so much about elections and big fake TV ideas. But it's absolutely flattened how he sees this stuff. Nothing is as important as the next election, and nothing about that election is important but winning it, and what comes after that is already kind of discussed in terms of how it will be thwarted by the bad guy Republicans. It's obviously better than having him turn into a slavering reactionary racist, but it's strange to talk to someone you respect and love so much, and who really is very smart, and just hear the priorities of this lazy, dying political party where it seems like the actual thought should be.
It’s just beating trump and nothing else.
And at some level I understand that, you know. But not to the point where you're on Bloomberg's side or whatever. All of this has to be informed by some sort of values or beliefs—which I happen to know my dad really has, just like as a thinking person—but that's all subsumed in the rest of it.
My ex-hippie, freedom fighter, late sixties/early seventies year old aunt and uncle have a bad case of the MSNBC brain worms. They asked me if I'm "All in for Bloomberg?” I looked at them like they had been body snatched. They didn't understand why.
I guess they've just convinced themselves that Trump is such a danger to society that they can't take ANY chance. Any argument I have for Bernie just gets pushed back with DNC talking points. “He's dangerous, will guarantee a Trump victory, is just promising free things, has never accomplished anything.” I said he was probably literally standing next to you at protests in the sixties, does that mean anything? That he's been saying the same thing for forty years? They said “Oh grow up.” It's crazy what getting older and having a little bit of security money can do to people.
There’s the idea that a lot of old radicals and hippies or whatever hate Bernie now because he makes them feel bad for having thrown in the towel.
I'm sure there’s some of that going on. My aunt has worked for prestigious universities and made a nice life, but I'm sure somewhere deep down feels like a bit of a sell out, and it's hard to face.
My parents and in-laws both watch MSNBC and CNN nonstop. For my parents I think it's hit my dad the hardest. He's an old sixties radical who should support Bernie but now strongly supports Biden because he thinks he's the only one who can win. And both of my in-laws will ask me about the latest thing Trump did whenever I see them. Literally, whenever I see them. I guess it's good that they've been pitted against him (they weren't particularly political before) but it's kind of depressing to always have to talk about politics around them when I'd rather just relax. But hey, beats them watching Fox News and stockpiling ammo/spending all their money on Franklin Mint Trump coins.
Do you think there's anything similar in the way Lib Resistance Brain is contracted as there is with Fox News Brain?
I think it just shows how infotainment has rotted everyone's brains. Nobody thinks about the material impact of politics any more. It's all about who won, who's winning and who will win. This is also why a leftist cable news network would fail. It'd be boring as shit. The only good leftist TV was Michael Moore's shows. Make a network dedicated to that, run by like the Jackass guys.
Man Jackass was the last good thing to ever happen.
My mom’s been ruined by Fox News, and my father-in-law, well, he hasn’t been “ruined” by MSNBC, but it’s definitely got him thinking some dumb shit. He’s a left-leaning radio host with a background in natsec who would’ve been a chill pre-Chapo DSA member in another universe. In fact, he encouraged Bernie to run in 2015, and Bernie credits him as a partial inspiration.
After watching MSNBC every day for the last five years though, it’s like he can’t help but love centrists. A few months ago it was “watch out for that Klobuchar, she’s great” and the other day it was “you know, I’m starting to think Bloomberg might be the guy, because he’s rich.”
So even an actual self-professed socialist, someone who’s railed against people like Bloomberg, by virtue of repetition and the gravity of seeing it on TV, can be swayed toward MSNBC’s status quo. It’s nowhere near as harmful or sad as Fox News, but it’s more bewildering. Fox serves up rage and caters to your unbridled id, but MSNBC just wants to give you warm milk and say “shhhh…you don’t have to do anything uncomfortable like imagine a remarkably different or better future.”
Also he’s a Russia guy, except he has intelligence community connections that say Russia is more of a thing than Twitter leftists say, but not full-on Game Theory type shit.
It could be a lot worse. A lot of old libs turned into MAGA people.
That’s my mom!
Oh right you just said that. You got both sorry lol.
I think I got to my parents before MSNBC did. They're still libs, but they are starting to see how insane MSNBC personalities like Chris Matthews are.
They’re Morning Joe types. All they do is talk about how they don't trust the polls, that they're willing to vote anybody (including a fascist) to get rid of Trump, and they think that our systemic corruption happens everywhere. Any time I show any sign of incredulity, I'm told I'm being "too intense" or they ask where I heard that from, as if the Intercept or some smaller publication is some alien concept to them. Oh and they know who Lev Parnas is, if that paints a better picture.
Haha but also :( Did the Mueller and Russia shit get to them?
Yeah absolutely. My father said for around six months straight "I don't think he makes it out of this one. Let's wait and see what comes out next" or "Just wait for the report" or "Just wait for the trial" or "Just wait for impeachment." Unironically. He says shit like "All you have left is honor" so he's shocked Republicans are so bankrupt.
A lot of that is the centrist lib thing that’s like There Are Still Decent Republicans.
Yeah, the decency thing is big with them. The “Impeach the motherfucker!” comment from Rashida Tlaib was "wrong."
My relationship with my dad has been really strained by MSNBC giving him brain worms. I always looked up to him when I was younger and we talked politics most my life, but recently he has been pretty hostile to my views (which are admittedly pretty far left), but it culminated with an argument about Bloomberg and billionaires in general. It was just the two of us in the car, and I said “billionaires shouldn’t exist,” which doesn’t strike me as a super controversial take, but he slammed on the brakes and screamed “Shut the fuck up for once!!!” and then we drove the rest of the way in silence. Now we don’t talk much about that stuff anymore. It kinda sucks, he started me on the path I’m on now.
Ah I'm sorry to hear that. Was he always like that?
No, not at all. I mean I remember being like eleven or twelve and asking him if it was okay to not believe in god — we have some Mormon blood that makes religion kinda touchy — and he very calmly told me it’s fine. He made me feel like my beliefs were okay. Now he’s all wrapped up in impeachment drama and “abuses of power” and that shit. One of the last times we talked politics he told me kids in cages aren’t as bad as the whole Ukraine nonsense because somehow the impeachment stuff represents a fight to preserve all our freedoms? It’s really sad too. From what I know of his youth he was pretty radical, maybe not an out-and-out socialist or Marxist or whatever, but definitely anti-establishment, influenced by the beat generation and shit. But then he lucked into a job in management and I guess that started the decline. MSNBC just destroyed what was left of his kindness.
My mom says “My friend Rachel was telling me…” when she recounts to me what happened on the Maddow show. She was union, I don’t think she cares who the nominee is. She just hates Trump and got really into the Russia stuff. She listens to the MSNBC SiriusXM channel.
Does it make it hard to talk?
No, we talk about other stuff
I guess that doesn't sound tooooo bad then.
It’s not. But the “My friend Rachel” bit bothers me.
I’m not in the US but the UK and I’ve started to see a similar ‘MSNBC’ phenomenon with respect to liberal remainers and #FBPE types over here. My dad was like a relatively average lower middle class guy, he was really happy when Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party in 2015, but he quite likes Europe and so when the referendum happened he was very pro-EU. Because of this, and because liberal newspapers like the Guardian have spent the last four years trashing Jeremy Corbyn and his position on Brexit, he started to believe that Corbyn’s politics were more and more extreme and that we had to move to the centre more to appeal to voters. He’s basically spent the last half decade listening to millionaire ghouls working for the Guardian and suddenly we “need to be pragmatic” and “the most important thing is that we stay in the EU” even though we have been living through such terrible austerity that 100,000 people have died. He voted Labour in the end but reluctantly and he’s a huge Kier Starmer fan which is an absolute nightmare because Kier Starmer is like the Liz Warren of UK politics. He says what he thinks people want to hear, pretends to be progressive, but spent most of his political life voting to cut benefits and hurt the poor.
There are a lot of liberals in the UK like this to be honest, and it’s even more annoying because they have their own damn party the Lib Dems who performed actually atrociously in the general election, but they feel the need to weigh in on the future of the Labour Party and people are getting taken in by it.
So it's like "Sure we like Labour's ideas, but we gotta compromise a little to get things done" type of mindset?
Yes, 100%. Calls for “unity” and accusations that Corbyn was just too extreme, even though they’re the ones who spent the last five years calling the policies unrealistic and smearing Corbyn as an IRA sympathiser. It’s why you literally can’t give ground to liberals on this issue. You let them start convincing people that the policies are just Too Much and you’ve already lost the election.
My parents are TV writers here in Hollywood. They're both now Berners but I've had a few fallings out with family friends of their age groups and professions in the last few years over my support for Bernie and calling out their more insane Russiagate stuff. One involved a very successful sitcom producer calling Melania "Soviet bloc trash." For the record, fuck Melania, but I'm not cool with weird xenophobia. I also have some family friends with MSNBC brain who are convinced Bernie is bankrolled with Russian intelligence agency money lol.
Do you try to engage with them?
Yeah I have, and have gotten through to some. Like in one case my mom's friend posted this meme and I let her know the specifics of the Rosenberg case and she backed off a bit
My mom went from a pretty staunch Hillary fan to saying “Oh why won't she just go away.” After Nevada, she's basically all on board for Bernie and she's voted for him in the CA primary.
So they're starting to come around.
In two cases yes. I ended up unfriending the guy who said that stuff about Melania, but from mutuals, he's apparently a Bernie fan now so idk haha.
There’s some hope I guess!
Yeah, there are going to be weird holdouts, especially since it's clear there’s going to be a lot of airtime given to never-Bernie liberal pundits, but I think much like in the case of Trump, these people aren't going to have a sizable IRL constituency. Also if Bernie gets the nomination and starts really savaging Trump on TV everyday they're going to come around.
It’s not so much MSNBC because my parents don't have cable, but Louise Mensch and that whole "team patriot" crew have poisoned my mom since 2016, and now she thinks Bernie and AOC are Russian assets etc. It makes me so sad and mad, especially how Mensch tricked so many people into believing in the Mueller report and other shit. I hate it.
So they got that resistance brain?
Yes! I mean in general my parents are pretty progressive people so I guess it could be worse, but they are so full of fear and paranoia about "Russia." It’s so creepy and I’m like "Mom, this lady isn't even a Democrat she’s like a UK Tory," but her creepy "Comey Day" talons are in deep man.
Do you think it’s similar to what Fox propaganda does in any way? I think it’s less bad, but still somehow similar.
My heart wants to say no but my brain says yeah definitely at least a little bit. Fox is doing something so extra with their font and chyrons and music and Barbie anchors that is so State TV it’s unreal. But there is undoubtedly a dark, greedy force behind the neoliberal cable news. What sucks is that not enough people have gotten over the charm of "Isn't it cute and fun how we ALL hate the president?"
Right. Like that's enough.
Exactly. So that cozy feeling creates these false allies for people like my mom. She’s being sort of manipulated into thinking that voting for a progressive nominee is like being tricked by Putin or something. I feel insane just typing that.
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