LTE: You Can’t Handle The Truth

Disclaimer: The words expressed are solely the opinion of the author and do not represent the PVI editorial staff.

It’s been a year since the contentious Democratic primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and yet repeated calls for unity within the Democratic Party seem to have yielded few results. While the new and old faces of the Iowa Democratic Party play nice in public, the discord between Clintonites and Berniecrats is still palpable.

And I can tell you why. In one simple sentence. A sentence no one has had the courage to state publically. Even I feel compelled to say it anonymously. Trust me. It’s the truth. And I don’t think anyone can handle this truth.

Dear Clintonites,

We don’t trust you.

Sincerely, Berniecrats

It’s not hyperbole. That’s it. That’s all. And it’s the truth. We don’t trust you. Berniecrats don’t trust your judgment, your actions, or your words.

First, there’s your judgment. You support neoliberalism. You won’t admit this. You won’t use the word to describe yourself. I’m not even sure you acknowledge there is such a thing. While they didn’t invent American neoliberalism, it was the Clintons who embraced it and made it the entrenched Democratic political philosophy for two decades. Clinton 42 ushered in triangulation, which embraced conservative ideology regarding corporate economics, Wall Street, welfare, and the military industrial complex while maintaining a liberal stance on identity politics.

Again, I’m not sure you will ever admit this, but your open support of Clinton’s neoliberalism gave tacit support to: a massive transfer of wealth from the working class to the top 1%; support of the TARP bailout; support of the Keystone XL Pipeline; a vote for the Iraq War; a vote for the Patriot Act; support of the death penalty; acceptance of Citizens United, Super PACS, and big money in politics; privatization of the American prison system; opposition to medical cannabis; disproportionate incarceration rates for African Americans; support for offshore drilling; refusal to support a national minimum (living) wage of $15 an hour; and support for NAFTA, the TPP, and other global trade policies that eviscerated the American middle class. However, Clinton’s stance on identity politics made her an ideal, liberal candidate in your eyes, allowing you to hide behind the (D) to justify your (continued, ardent) support of Clinton while you swept her neoliberal economic philosophy under the rug.

Then you were offered a candidate whose vision for America defined true liberalism – social, economic, racial, and environmental justice. But you wouldn’t budge. You wouldn’t listen. Your lives were comfortable and your minds were closed. Your first argument was always that there was never really a difference between Clinton and Sanders. After all, they voted together 93% of the time while in the Senate. Of course they did. Because when you’re a neoliberal and a democratic socialist, you’re going to vote together when your only other option is hardcore, Tea Party conservatism. Then you’ll rightly argue that she won the popular vote by 2,672,043 votes. But we all know those votes, and probably more, were anti-Trump votes, not pro-Clinton votes.

You campaigned for an economic system that has crippled the American middle class. You supported that. You did. Own up to it. Admit that Clinton’s vision for the Democratic Party had nothing to do with liberalism or progressivism. Until you own it, and admit it, your judgment will always be in question. This is why Berniecrats don’t trust you.

Then there are your actions. With the insurgent campaigns of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, their appeal to the working class (honest and dishonest, respectively) should have tipped Clinton off that a progressive VP choice would have been her best option. Instead, she chose Tim Kaine, the cardboard cut-out poster child for triangulated, centrist neoliberalism. Instead of distancing herself from DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz after she resigned in disgrace, Clinton welcomed her with open arms. Clinton was so out of touch with the working class voter, she didn’t bother to visit Michigan or Wisconsin after she won the primary. How can you trust anyone with such poor judgment? And how can Berniecrats trust anyone who trusts someone with such poor judgment?

Unfortunately, the Berniecrats’ mistrust of Clintonites hit close to home. After campaigning as a unifier, Berniecrats on the Iowa SCC soon learned they had been duped by current IDP chairman, Derek Eadon. As his first gesture, Eadon gave SCC Berniecrats every indication that he supported Keith Ellison for DNC chairman. After the vote, they discovered that Eadon led the five Iowa DNC members in a bloc vote for Tom Perez, the candidate foisted into the race by the neoliberal establishment to counter Ellison (because unity – no thanks), even though previous allies, like Chuck Schumer, could tell which way the wind was blowing and threw their support behind Ellison. Eadon returned to a stunned SCC, explaining his decision with a litany of criteria, but no explanation of how Perez fit that criteria better than Ellison. His main argument was maintaining Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status, which Ellison had assured would not change.  

Then came the firing of two female IDP employees, who were given smaller severance packages than their male counterparts. One of the positions was filled with a straight, white male (yes, a Berniecrat), while the other position remains open. Eadon campaigned on a platform of transparency, which has translated into poor decisions behind closed doors. No explanation, just poor optics, and continued poor judgment. His olive branch to the SCC Berniecrats was a ruse. Why should they trust anything Derek Eadon says or does? As of now, they shouldn’t.

Not to be left out, Polk County Democrats put their poor judgment on display by electing Sean Bagniewski as their new chairman. Whether they admit it publicly or not, Berniecrats in Polk County (and especially those who comprised half the delegation at the Polk County Convention) abhor Bagniewski after his corrosive behavior at the convention. Based on this decision alone, if Polk County Clintonites want unity, they’re lying. Bagniewski magnanimously offered ‘co-chairmanship’ to Berniecrat Dylan Funk, a gesture he seems to have forgotten the moment after it was made. Is it becoming at all clear why Berniecrats don’t trust you?

Deciphering your poor judgment and actions leaves little room for what’s been said. Clinton’s ‘deplorables’ comment lost her some votes. Iowa Starting Line’s Pat Rynard felt it necessary to comment on Heather Ryan’s entry into the District 3 congressional race by stating she’s ‘nutty’ and ‘people need to stop encouraging her.’ Meanwhile, after the Polk County Supervisors could only muster the courage to raise the minimum wage to $10.75, SCC member and Rynard’s Iowa Starting Line partner, Rick Smith, thanked the supervisors for their courage in hammering out a (non-living wage) decision rather than thanking the Fight for $15 activists who were fighting for the IDP platform, as all members of the SCC should be doing, including Rick Smith.

The only way there will ever be unity locally, statewide, and nationally, is for the Clintonites in every county across the nation to go to their county meeting, stand up, and say ‘I was wrong.’ Because you were. Because your poor judgment, actions, and words have bred an unrelenting mistrust. It’s your job to win back the trust of your fellow Democrats. Otherwise, there will never be unity. Fortunately, Sanders won Iowa voters 18-45 by a landslide, while Clinton carried the 45+ vote by a smaller margin. And we know the older you get, the less likely you are to admit you’re wrong. So this is a waiting game. Berniecrats won’t hold their breath for Clintonites to acknowledge their poor judgment. They’ll stand strong, forge ahead, make small gains, and wait for the Clintonite neoliberals to die off. Unless they truly do want unity. Then they’ll stand up at their next county meeting and say –

“Hello.  My name is ___________ and I’m a neoliberal. I was wrong and I’m sorry.”

Until then, we won’t trust you.  Unity is entirely in your hands.



  • William Windsor

    I was in graduate school when, in talking about performance artists and their careers, I heard a wonderfully concise piece of advice from one of my mentors. That advice was “Don’t be an asshole.” The author of this diatribe could well have put this advice to judicious use, but alas, he did not…sadly.


  • Anonymous if thisguycandoitsocani

    This is ridiculous. If the article doesn’t speak for the blog, then the author should sign it. I voted for Bernie and Hillary. Now we have Trump. Shit happens; terrible shit – organize, move forward.


  • Dear Clintonites,
    Blah blah blah blah, whine, blah, blah, paranoia, blah, blah, stomps feet, blah, blah, blah, holds breath, blah blah blah, mom get me a hot pocket, blah blah more whine, blah blah.

    -I’m to chickenshit to sign my name.

    Fixed it for you! 😊


  • Excellent rant, though a bit too kind. It isn’t that we don’t trust the Clinton wing, it’s that we know precisely who they are and who they work for.

    They are hopelessly corrupt, to the core, doing the bidding of the wealthy corporate interests who couldn’t care less whether we starve or die homeless, so long as they get to keep living the high life and can buy enough political representation to continue the neoliberal triangulation shell-game.

    Republicans, most all of them, are owned by the same interests, and are even more heartless.

    At this point, we have to change the game, not fight to win a rigged contest. A paradigm shift is called for. It starts with not ever, under any circumstances, supporting any candidate who accepts corporate cash. Bernie showed that a viable campaign can be run without it. Without the cheating of the DNC and their media connections, Bernie easily would have won the primary, and all polls show him defeating Trump, perhaps the only person more reviled than HRC.

    No more Clintons. No more corporate-owned DNC. No more phonycrats. They don’t work for us once they’re in office, and they need to go. We can do this, if we stand strong on principles.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I’m 72 years old and a former Republican yet I can admit I was a lazy robot voter. As an Independent I would be happy to lend my name to that anonymous writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am 100% in accord, with your statement, Carol. Until Bernie came along, I never even bothered to try and find out what was going on behind the scenes, I simply voted “democrat” out of some notion that they always would do the right thing. To paraphrase Avon Bill: “What a fool this mortal was,” but I never again will vote for any of these apparatchiks. Thanks for posting.


  • Jeez. I wonder why the person would wish to remain anonymous. It’s not a very popular idea amongst Establishment Democrats that this conversation happens at all. There has been active resistance and bullying happening in County Central Committees all over the state. Even if you don’t agree with everything the writer said you would have to acknowledge that someone could certainly go after them. I’ve seen much more diplomatic versions of this idea attacked repeatedly.


  • Mary L. Grabski

    I agree mostly with the writer, and Bernie Sanders is still the most popular politician in the United states, per numerous sites on Google. The massive numbers of votes received by Hillary, like mine, were primarily disinfranchised Bernie voters, like me, not actually Hillary supporters. It was our only “choice?” They were more votes AGAINST Trump, than votes FOR Hillary. Hillary is far too self-serving, as far as I’m concerned, and her cheating, along with Debbie, against Bernie,, really did her in!. We need a candidate, like Bernie, more interested in the needs of the PEOPLE, the masses, NOT a personal, veiled agenda to self-enrich! Hillary has never impressed me as being a “sincere” person, and she actually doesn’t fool too many people anymore! We have seen her fangs!


  • I’ll sign that fuckin letter. I didn’t write it – but it definitely speaks for me. What’s up Clintonbots – I see some of you had the balls to show up here – good for you – now you can see our problem – and that problem is QUITE CLEAR in the comments from these very same Clintonbots – they refuse to address the substance of the letter – while attacking its anonymous source (fine, I apologize for calling yall Clintonbots but it would really help if you stopped acting like one too) . Did yall learn that type of attack from your Republican friends? Such a cheap and dirty tactic. This is why We Don’t Trust You. Your priorities are all fucked up. Your horrible DLC/3rd Way Policies have moved us further to the right than ever – gave us NAFTA – imprisoned a ton of minorities – and allowed the rich to rob us blind. How can you not see this? Until you give up your hero worship of The Clintons and put Principle above Personality – I will not trust you. Oh so you want to talk about Bernie huh – I’ll save you the trouble of having to respond to your obvious complaint later – yes, I will gladly abandon Bernie as long as His Policies are all adopted by The Democrats. How’s that for an offer – you agree to single payer healthcare, free or affordable college, a $15/hr living wage – and the other items listed in his agenda – and I’ll vote for whoever supports them – it doesn’t have to be Bernie. Yall are the ones stuck in a Cult of Personality – not me. Until the rest of you Democrats acknowledge that moving further to the right (any further and we’ll fall off a cliff!) does us no good – and that what we need to do is return to our tried and true – man of the people – FDR roots – and stop taking money from Wall Street and Billionaires – I can not trust you – why should I? These ideas and plans put forth by Senator Sanders are good things – simple things – things The Democratic Party used to stand for. I don’t know how so many of you got swept up in the Cult of The Clintons – but that shit is over – as it should be – as it needs to be. Now lets please move Forward – away from The Clintons – and chart a winning path this time – one that will actually Do Right By The American People.


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