Bernie Supporters Are Mostly Disappointed in Obama


In response to my post yesterday about the tradition of truthtellers in Democratic primaries,1 a reader emails: “Offhand my guess would be that a lot of Bernie supporters think Obama proves that an outsider/rebel/truthteller can both win and end up a very successful president.” Another reader tweets the same sentiment:

Hmmm. I don’t think either of these is true. Obama didn’t run in the truthteller tradition. He ran more in the JFK/Clinton tradition: a young guy bringing the voice of a new generation to the White House. Obama was inspiring and wildly popular, but he didn’t spend his time explaining that we all had to face up to endemic corruption or tidal waves of money or demographic Armageddon. Just the opposite. He mostly sanded the rough edges off that kind of stuff. It was all hope and change and ending the partisan bickering in Washington.

As for Bernie supporters, I don’t think they view Obama as a rebel or a truthteller. Bernie himself is careful not to criticize Obama, but a lot of his supporters see Obama as basically a disappointment: just another squishy centrist who made some incremental progress and called it a day. In the end, we still don’t have universal health care; the banks are still running things; the Republican Party continues to obstruct; and rich people are still rich. That’s the very reason we need a guy like Bernie in the Oval Office.

This is certainly my impression, anyway. Am I wrong?

1A theme that Jamelle Bouie touches on in a much longer, more nuanced piece here about the Bernie insurgency. It’s well worth a read.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.