Taibbi: How Weaponized Identity Politics Destroyed Sanders

Matt Taibbi/Will Menaker, Chapo Trap House 435

Matt Taibbi: So this politician who has a long history of courting the white, middle of the road voter and doing the Sister Souljah moment, now suddenly when Sanders comes along and he starts talking about breaking up the banks, what’s Hillary’s response? “Oh, if we broke up the banks tomorrow would that end racism?” And people were cheering that at a debate despite the fact that it made zero sense if you even think about it for ten seconds.

i mean, if you want to talk about systemic racism in this country the first place you would start is with the subprime mortgage scam which was consciously conceived as a way to suck wealth out of especially the middle to lower middle class black community.

But they immediately pitched the whole Berniebro thing, his whole platform, his railing against the banks was an upper class white male whining. Over the next four years, they just worked it to death to the point that his message altered pretty significantly over time. In 2016, he openly spoke against identity politics, that he thought it was counterproductive, and then by 2020, he had adopted a lot of that language in his stump speech and he was apologizing constantly for things, it effectively torpedoes his movement, I thought.

WM: Was Bernie cancelled? Well, he was defeated and guess what, the media was 100% complicit in all of it so what does that tell you about how effective it all is.

MT: Somebody doesn’t need to be cancelled in the sense of being made to go away for this to be effective as a political weapon.

That kind of press, that kind of attention, I saw it with Bernie, he was very sensitive to it, I think he was deeply troubled by it, he didn’t know how to handle it and it consumed a lot of his mental energy heading into 2020, How do I be sensitive to all these criticisms and at the same time still talk about the things I think are important? The nature of this environment is that people are so afraid of dealing with that accusation or of having any of that rhetoric directed at (them), that they’ll do basically anything to avoid having to wear that jacket. Bernie Sanders didn’t have a choice. He tried a million times to get out of it, but you never do.

WM: He was libelled over and over again in the most ridiculous and obscene ways, painted as some kind of racist misogynist. The fear is not an irrational one in a political context. Because the more you are having to talk about it or having to deny it as any normal decent person would if they’re accused of something like that, the more it’s out there the more people think that he’s obviously covering for something.

MT: It’s the old LBJ thing right? You accuse your opponent of being a pig fucker and let him deny it. At the political level he wasn’t cancelled but it clearly worked.

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