Stop calling millions of Bernie supporters a “cult”

The Telegraph / YouTube New Hampshire primary Bernie Sanders soars 1581530382.jpg...
The Telegraph / YouTube

Bernie Sanders has millions of supporters. He has far more individual small donors than any other candidate (1.4 million as of last month).

Here’s what a senior Democrat in South Carolina, who has endorsed Joe Biden this cycle, said about Bernie’s supporters, including tens of thousands of teachers:

Dick Harpootlian, the fast-talking former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party and now a state senator. […]

Harpootlian called the Sanders campaign “a cult,” comparing the candidate to Jim Jones, the madman who led 918 of his followers, 304 of them children, to mass suicide four decades ago. But Biden and others, he told RCP, need to stop voters from drinking the Kool-Aid before it is too late. Excommunicate the leader, he said. Recondition the followers.

“It’s not a rejection of the cult that follows him — the dead people who followed Jim Jones, you don’t reject them,” he said. “You reject him. He convinced them to kill themselves. Don’t blame them. Blame him.” —…

The comparison is beyond despicable. I wonder whether Joe Biden will condemn this prominent endorser for making it. This is not some random supporter, he is one of Biden’s key supporters. And he’s not the only prominent Democrat doing this:

Democratic strategist James Carville warned of the “end of days” if Democrats nominate Bernie Sanders as their candidate for president in 2020.
There’s a certain part of the Democratic party that wants us to be a cult. I’m not interested in being in a cult,” Carville said Monday on ‘Morning Joe.’ —…

Chiming in, are MSNBC personalities, like Steve Schmidt:

“These positions will be caricatured by Trump and I think what a lot of Democrats are saying is that a Bernie Sanders nomination puts the House at risk, that when you look at the constellation of candidates that gave Democrats their majority in 2018 it was from moderate districts… What a lot of people are seeing is a rise now of a second cult of personality in the country. And if there’s only one thing that’s worse for democracy than one cult of personality in the country, I would argue maybe it’s two.” —…

This new “cult” line of attack on Sanders and his supporters is already being echoed here in numerous comments. Here’s why they need to end:

  1. This is a right-wing attack. Right-wingers have long sought to portray Democrats as a “cult”-like followers.
  2. The fact that Joe Biden doesn’t inspire enthusiasm doesn’t automatically make Bernie’s enthusiastic followers a cult.
  3. It’s worth noting that another Democratic candidate in recent memory also endured these “cult” criticisms. Here’s a Guardian story talking about the “Cult of Obama”.
  4. These attacks smack of desperation. Bernie has millions of followers who are supporting him because they want healthcare for themselves and their families, just like every other developed country in the world.

Some of these nonsensical attacks are being launched because Bernie is leading. And he’s leading because he has enthusiastic supporters. Here are some of the Bernie supporters who attended the rally in LA yesterday:

Over months of volunteering, I’ve spoken with dozens of volunteers and hundreds of supporters. Many have a story about doubting themselves, thinking their concerns about healthcare, or student debt, or housing were the result of a personal failing. Our culture relishes blaming the victims of our unjust economic system, or our biased criminal justice system, or our immigration policies. Then Bernie comes along, pointing out systemic failings. He clearly says that these problems have been solved in other developed countries. He reminds us that many of these problems, like extreme income inequality and mounting student debt, did not exist before the Reagan revolution got underway. Is it any surprise that people are enthusiastic about universal, systematic solutions to widespread, systemic problems?

It’s despicable to call these thoughtful supporters a “cult”, purely because they are enthusiastic about a candidate and disgusted by our current unjust political system.

Democrats who do this are creating a disaster down the road. They should stop.

— @subirgrewal

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3 Comments on "Stop calling millions of Bernie supporters a “cult”"

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Meanwhile our “president” surrounds himself with thousands of red hat wearing ,5 tooth having, numb-skulls that wouldn’t care if he decided to bomb Canada to “own the Libtards”. That my friends, sure seems quite cultish to anyone with an IQ above 50

David Bishop
David Bishop

An altruistic socialist can never win in a racist, fear-mongering, capitalistic fascist state. No they are not a cult, just naive at the wrong time and place.


Prior to the ACA I had a lump for two years & I couldn’t afford to buy insurance or see a Dr. The working poor, the people in the Govt. called it, as neither party did anything in particular to help. Then the ACA came along & I got care I couldn’t afford but at least I got care. I don’t think anybody should have to ignore a lump for two years & if that makes me a “cult” supporter I can live with that.