February 24, 2016 at 4:37 pm EDT | by Brock Thompson
Gays for Bernie: Playtime is over
Bernie Sanders, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) (Photo by Nick Solari; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

OK my lovely gays and lesbians supporting Bernie Sanders, playtime is over. If you are still feeling the bern, time to visit the free clinic of realism so we can all move on.

And you know, I get it. I was a socialist in college, too. I had the Che poster hanging proudly in my dorm room and still my political tendencies lean pretty far to the left. But I’m also a realist. And I realize that Bernie simply can’t win, and also shouldn’t win.

But why, exactly? First off, he’s not winning. So, there’s that. Clinton is so far ahead in the delegate count. And her recent victory in Nevada has given her clear momentum and proved she still can pull women, union voters and minorities to the polls. That’s the same formula that will propel her to victory come November. Saying that Sanders has already proved his ability to win a diverse state when he won New Hampshire is sort of like saying gay men enjoy a diverse array of cocktails by combining different flavored vodkas with soda water. It’s simply not the case, as we will continue to see come Super Tuesday next week.

Secondly, I’m in the camp that thinks that not even Sanders himself thought he would do this well in a primary fight. I’m not even sure Sanders would disagree with me when I say that he shouldn’t win, that this simply doesn’t belong to him. Sanders was facing a reality in the Senate that saw his liberal, leftist voice being replaced by the far more appealing Elizabeth Warren. A quick campaign gave Bernie a voice again on a national platform. I’m not convinced he wanted anything more than to remind people he was still around.

I predict Hillary will have this all sewn up by March 15. By the time this goes to press, she’ll be on the verge of a huge victory in South Carolina, the same state that helped further cement Donald Trump’s frontrunner status. And while he and the GOP with it has devolved into a blend of American proto-fascism and reality television, Hillary Clinton’s message has gotten clearer, focusing on income and social inequality and saving the middle class. And in many ways, we can thank Sanders for pushing Clinton to the left and practically forcing her to improve upon both her message and her vision for the country.

Her legacy on LGBT rights is hardly shallow. Not convinced? Watch her 2011 speech commemorating International Human Rights Day she made as secretary of state. If you still doubt her sincerity and commitment after watching that, then you didn’t like her to begin with and there’s little that can be done to change your mind. Yes, Sanders has an impressive record on his own in that regard. But it is with speeches like that, proclaiming before the world that gay rights are human rights, that gave Clinton far more of an impact on LGBT rights than her rival.

It’s clear that Hillary has been a staunch supporter of us and has had an impact on the lives of LGBT people around the world. She is the best candidate to continue Obama’s tremendous legacy of equality. Put simply, she’s had our back, and it’s time for us to have hers.

Bernie supporters, I admire your drive, passion, and tenacity. But playtime is over.

Brock Thompson is a D.C.-based freelance writer.

72 Comments
  • Wouldn’t it be wonderful if gay people started defining “gay rights” more broadly than whether people give speeches and strike the right pose? The politics of posturing is an old Clinton standard. Like Hillary’s Beijing speech where she declared women’s rights were human rights and, at the same time, was advocating welfare reform–demolishing the economic security of women (what little of it was possible) under AFDC. Which women’s rights was she talking about? Not poor women’s. Gay people are also people of color, poor people, people being bombed by the US, in debt, lacking healthcare, and so on. Further: check your polls: Reuters and Fox have Sanders ahead nationally. I wish someone would give me a substantive reason to support Hillary other than some vague idea of electability (which also doesn’t bear out in polls, which have consistently shown Sanders outperforming Clinton). I was a neoliberal gay in college but I’m also a realist and I think Sanders is the best chance we have at the country we actually want–not the country we’re told to settle for.

    • You’ll get nothing if Sanders loses the election. Like it or not the person that is elected President doesn’t win because of brains or brilliant ideas, Bush was elected after all, but often because of charisma and the view that they are strong.

      While I don’t particularly like Hillary or Bernie, we are stuck with what the Dems put forth. If Trump wins the election, Bernie just doesn’t come across to me as someone that can stand up to the bully or look strong in comparison. Hillary on the other hand is bombastic and likely can.

      Bernie still has to get all your ideals passed by the GOP congress which is not likely! So he can promise us the world but delivering is another thing!

      Polls showing Bernie ahead of Hillary mean nothing. What counts is the Dem candidate against the GOP! We can’t afford to lose this election as the consequences are bad for our community.

      If Hillary wins the nomination will you sit out the election?

      • That’s the first time i’ve heard anyone describe Clinton as more bombastic than Sanders. I would recommend the article in Current Affairs by Nathan Robinson who lays out a pretty good case of why Sanders v. Trump is more desirable than Clinton v. Trump. The article is not about polls but who the candidates are. As you admit, whoever is elected will mobilize Republicans. My money is on Sanders, who actually has a vision, to get people out.

        • Turnout is significantly lower this year than in the 2008 caucuses and primaries. The myth of the Sanders turnout machine is just another of the magic unicorns he’s peddling to the gullible.

          • No one is more gullible than a Clintonista. Hillary is a pathological liar.

          • Keep that up and we will have a republican in the white house…trump, and it will be your fult.

          • Trump is probably more pro gay than Hillary, even if she is a closet bisexual having an affair with Huma Abedin, a younger, blonder Mikulski closet case Democrat. Hillary lies about her fictional long time support of gay marriage to get votes; Trump lies about being socially conservative to win Republican primaries.

          • Thanks for conceding that everything I said is correct. The Sanders cult has degenerated into little more than spewing personal invective at everybody who won’t guzzle the cult Kool Aid.

            For the record, I don’t particularly care for the Clintons and would have preferred a different candidate, like Warren or Biden. But, sorry, I’m not throwing away the presidency by nominating an unelectable socialist.

        • Sanders has a vision; Hillary has a plan created from a vision.

    • America: “The land where everything’s free, so you don’t have to be brave.” Isn’t that essentially the message Sanders is selling?

    • That FOX shows Sanders ahead is telling. But the BernBots don’t want to see that reality.

    • Yes, check the polls. Another relative unknown, Michael Dukakis, had a double-digit lead in pre-nomination polls. He lost in a landslide, barely cracking 100 of the 270 electoral votes needed for a win. When the far left chose nominees, the party lost five of the six elections before 1992. These are hardly “vague” ideas. Nor is it a “vague idea” that the American people will never elect an agnostic socialist who tried to be a conscientious objector and collected unemployment checks so he could write socialist screeds about how unemployment eligibility should have no time limit so that he could continue to just live off unemployment checks and play socialist revolutionary. There’s this thing called the Republican Party. It will rip him to shreds. Saying, “I support Bernie because I want the magic unicorn he’s promising,” is the opposite of being a realist. It’s being a Nader saboteur.

    • She was for gay marriage before she was against it, depending on what the meaning of Bosnian sniper is.

  • thanks! I really appreciate the lack of condescension and patronizing. Oh wait. Never mind.

  • Thank you! Glad to see some adult smarts being expressed with eloquence and insight. What many people don’t know — or choose not to know — is that for years, until he was ready to run for President, Bernie Sanders was not an advocate of marriage equality but advocated for states’ rights. Let that sink in. States’ rights on marriage, guns, immigration. HRC has been honest about her vision growing and developing. The Sanders campaign has tried to make people believe Bernie was there all along. The other big issue, for my intersectional friends, is that everything in Bernie World ultimately gets reduced to his socialist economic theories. Racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism, and all the other -isms turn out to be a function of income inequality. How about that issue of incarceration rates for young black men. You might be surprised to know that in Vermont it’s one of the highest per capita in the country. And the single-payer health care plan Bernie calls Medicare for All. Like Bernie, the Governor of Vermont didn’t want to build on the ACA, he wanted to throw it out and replace it with a state-owned and operated plan that would cover all residents. He and his staff tried to make the numbers work but found the actual costs were so great they would have had to raise billions of dollars more than the state’s total annual income. All these are reasons I can’t support Bernie Sanders. More importantly, I’ll be voting for Hillary Clinton on Super Tuesday not simply because she has the most comprehensive, carefully thought out and vetted plans to deal with the complex array of issues we face. I’ll be voting for her because she’s the strongest person in the race, with the greatest strength of character and intelligence. She’s been lied about more than any public figure in our lifetimes and she’s survived it all. A few weeks ago Chuck Todd pinned Bernie down on the fact that he and his campaign say HRC is “corrupt.” Bernie hemmed and hawed but finally admitted, no, she’s not corrupt. Yet they keep casting her as the Wicked Witch of the West. Well, fark them. After she wins South Carolina, she’ll win a majority of delegates on March 1 and again on March 15. Then, as Mr. Thompson wrote in this article, it will be sewn up and we can start looking ahead to the general election when – with any luck! – the insane Republicons will actually nominate Donald Trump.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2015/10/05/bernie_sanders_on_marriage_equality_he_s_no_longtime_champion.html

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/02/17/vermont-s-black-leaders-we-were-invisible-to-bernie-sanders.html

    http://www.mic.com/articles/124341/here-s-how-black-people-actually-fare-in-vermont-with-bernie-sanders-as-their-senator#.LIT3XHO4K

    http://www.vox.com/2014/12/22/7427117/single-payer-vermont-shumlin

    • Watch what the candidates do not what they say.

      Bernie voted against DOMA in 1996. The Clintons supported it.

      The Clintons supported it and it would still be law if Hillary had been elected in 2008.

  • #feelthebern It ain’t over till it’s over. :)

  • So typical of the “suits.” Condescending little shites. The Sanders supporters are more like the members of ACT UP, people with a vision who are willing to fight for that vision, while sniveling suits like Brock sat back begging “pretty please” for a few scraps from their overlords.
    To listen to this imbecile, FDR, LBJ, and TR would never have become president (the latter two in their own right when they ran for re-election)

    • Thanks for Bernie-splaining this to me! Oh, I can see the light now that a BernieBro has told me who condescending I must sound when I explain electoral college math. Or that I must be an imbecile because I can see reality and look at the poll numbers for Super Tuesday. [Newsflash: It’s ain’t good for Bernie.]

      But, yes, call anyone and everyone who does spout the hagiography that the Bernie supporters have created in their fantasy land imbeciles. That’s the absolute best way to sway people to your side.

      • Apparently you missed the article that Jeff was reacting to. It’s right up there, you should go and read it. It’s incredibly condescending.

        • I find the opinion piece, not article, far less condescending than your comment.

          Then again, I never expect civil discourse from the Bernie supporters. You rival Trump’s in your fanaticism.

    • You realized FDR never considered himself a socialist, right? One of my favorite FDR quotes applies brilliantly to the current campaign, even allowing for the out-of-date gender references:

      “A Radical is a man with both feet firmly planted–in the air. A Conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward. A Reactionary is a somnambulist walking backwards. A Liberal is a man who uses his legs and his hands at the behest–at the command–of his head.”

      And there we have Bernie, the establishment Republicons, Trump, and HRC.

  • This the most lame and biased article I have seen so far!
    Please do not insult the intellect of your readers. Mr. Thompson suggested that due to the fact that Ms. Clinton has made speeches marooned the LGBT right we all must vote for her? Give me a break,get the facts on each Democratic candidate and let the people decided.

    • So you missed the fact she marched in a Pride parade in 2000? The only First Lady ever to do so? *hear that Michelle? And made LGBT rights a significant part of her work as Secretary of State? Actually securing rights for employees? And evolved on marriage equality at the same pace – same year exactly as Sanders? But only HE cast votes against marriage equality. For decades. Wait that doesn’t fit his “consistent” savior M O ? No it is SANDERS that gets all his mileage from speeches. Very little action over a quarter century in Congress – but lots of fiery speeches. How revolutionary is that? Legislation and action is where it’s at.

  • You’re so out in left field it’s ridiculous. It is obvious that you have not listened to what Senator Sanders has to say about pretty much anything~lol. If you did you would not have said 1/2 the things in your little article. I will just say that it’s pretty stupid to allow someone’s competition to educate you on their competition. I mean seriously❗️ And you are totally supporting the wrong candidate❗️ I mean do you even watch any of the debates or town halls❓ I’m seriously asking❗️

  • Most of Sanders supporters had little idea of who he was before he switched to the Democratic Party just so he could run for President. Before that he was just another member of Congress who did not stand out in the crowd. Yet people think that this man could be President. Having good social goals is not enough and his financial proposals do not stand up to any serious review. Worse for him is that even if they were credible figures there is no way his proposals would ever get a serious hearing let alone passed by Congress.

    Sanders supporters want an earth shattering change without putting the time and effort into what is needed. If they are serious about changing they need to be working at the local community and state level to replace Republicans with Democrats or other Progressives. There is a desire for instant gratification among too many young people who want to start at the top and in politics it seldom works that way. President Obama tried to building a permanent campaign to push issues after he was elected but his supporters acted like their job was done once he was in office. It was much the same with the Occupy Movement which mostly disappeared once the media stopped covering them.

    I don’t fault Sanders supporters for staying with him for now but at some point it is likely that it will be clear he is not going to win the nomination. While he should still be supported while he is pushing his ideas it will be time to get on aboard for Clinton if she wins the nomination. She is far from the perfect candidate but there is no perfect candidate and among all those who are running she is simply the most experienced and qualified. She will work to ensure that everything the President has done will not end up in the Republican trashcan.

    There is a reality that both as Americans and as members of the LGBT community we cannot afford a Republican victory in November. At some point Sanders supporters need to set their goal as getting Clinton elected and then giving her a Congress that will help move progressive causes even further forward.

  • I was there when she stood by Bill, and his famous affair, which embarrassed the world, and let him sign off on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and the Defense of Marriage Act. It’s been about 20 years of my life, waiting for those things to be struck down. …all to appease the Republican Senate because they were sore about Hillary’s health care plan. Maybe she’ll be the nominee, and if she is, I’ll vote for her in the general, but I’ve studied Bernie Sanders. He has been a vocal supporter of LGBT issues since the 1970’s. …Not just when it was politically expedient, but because it was ethically and morally right. Hillary missed her chance when she ran against Barack Obama. That was her shot, and she didn’t make the case. She needs to let it go. Her time, her Machiavellian politics, and her claim to entitlement to the Oval is over. Bernie Sanders is the real thing. Perhaps he can’t win the nomination. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop supporting him, until such time as he stops running.

    • And if Bill Clinton had vetoed DOMA, which passed with a veto-proof majority in both houses of Congress, what purpose would have been served by giving Bob Dole a club to bash him with? I was glad to get the 1998 executive order banning anti-gay discrimination in federal civilian employment. Dole wouldn’t have issued it.

      Where was “real deal” Sanders when Hillary was leading the fight to stop Bush’s federal marriage amendment in the Senate? When has “real deal” Sanders EVER been one of our point people on the Hill in moving LGBT measures? Where was he when Vermont activists wanted to replace civil unions with marriage in 2006? Where was he when Hillary was taking the unprecedented step of putting LGBT rights on the international human rights agenda?

      I have no idea why you think her choice not to get a divorce from her husband is any of your business or has any relevance to this campaign. Tell us about Sanders knocking up his girlfriend and then irresponsibly abandoning her and his child. Tell us about his getting a degree from Chicago and then sitting around collecting unemployment checks and whining that unemployment benefits didn’t last forever.

      • Clinton could have allowed DOMA to become law without his signature. Hillary made up one of the most implausible rationalizations for supporting that she is still attempting to sell to her gullible followers.

        A few word from Clinton opposing DOMA would have changed the vote count. Clinton provided cover for other Dems to support it.

        It took a real Dem to undo the damage the Clintons caused.

        • If you think Bill Clinton could have stopped DOMA, you’re living in a fantasy. Members of Congress decide how to vote first and foremost based on their own interest in re-election.

          Filtered through reality, what you’re saying is that he should have handed the Republicans an issue to put his re-election at risk. Opposition to same-sex marriage was polling at close to 70% then, and we were in the midst of a nationwide hysteria about it because of Hawaii.

          I agree that Hillary AND Bill AND congressional Democrats have trumped up a ridiculous story in which DOMA was supposedly a pro-gay gambit. Of course that’s pure b.s. Why do they resort to nonsense like that? Because people like you are too immature to hear the political reality. See above.

          If the “real Democrat” is Barack Obama, he opposed same-sex marriage in 2008 because, if you remember, “God’s in the mix.” And his positions in that campaign were about the same as hers on almost everything.

          Lastly, I’m not a Hillary follower. I would have preferred Warren or Biden or somebody else. But I’m not stupid enough to throw away the presidency on another unelectable Nader demagogue.

    • Very well said, and I feel exactly the same way.

    • Sometimes the people you find appealing and worthy use their opertunity to influence the ones who will ultimately make a difference. Look at how our vice president made our president evolve.

  • Brock — you know we all love you, but I’m throwing my vote in with “incredibly condescending.” For people outside the beltway, this is not a matter of youthful idealism gone awry — it’s a matter of life and death. People need jobs, living wages, healthcare, education, a chance to make it. The past eight years have taken that away from so many. The basic power structure of this country has to be shifted out of the hands of lobbyists and bankers and back to all the people. Hillary talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk (and can’t because the past 30 years shows where her allegiance lies).

    • How did those Nader, Dukakis, and McGovern revolutions work out? Whether youthful or not, it is naive idealism that is impervious to political reality. Yes, the country is going to elect its first atheist/agnostic president, its first socialist president, and its first conscientious objector commander in chief all at once! Not.

    • You complain about Hilary’s past 30 years but why not Sanders?

      He’s been in politics for 35 years now and what, exactly, as he accomplished?

      And you are just flat out lying when you say that the past 8 years have taken away ‘healthcare, education and a chance to make it.’ I’ll give you a living wage but that’s because the GOP that in Congress, the branch that actually passes the laws, refuses to raise the minimum wage.

      How will Bernie suddenly and magically get the GOP to do things far more liberal and far more socialist than anything Obama ever proposed?

      I ask this question often but all I ever get back is ‘Revolution!’

      And, more importantly, what has Bernie ever done to get like minded members into Congress? Where is his national apparatus to help liberals with his views get elected? The DNC has been there but, last year, Bernie only raised $1,000 for them. Meanwhile, Hillary raised $26.7 million.

      Talking about talking the talk but not walking the walk. That would be your gay and not my gal.

    • Anyone claiming that pour problems have arisen “in the past 8 years” is evidently not more than 8 years old.

    • Even Tad Devine, Bernie’s version of Karl Rove (check out some of his previous clients) admitted under pressure that “the revolution” wouldn’t begin in earnest until the 2018 mid-terms. People absolutely do need jobs, living wages, healthcare, education, and a chance to make it. Which is why it can’t wait until 2018. That Sanders campaign b.s. about talking the talk but not walking the walk is as phony as it is trite. If you really want to go down that path, why has Bernie failed to raise his revolution during his past quarter century in Congress? Where are all the progressives he’s recruited, supported, and helped elect? There are none. As a matter of fact, HRC is helping to raise money for Democrats in the general who will be opposed by Republicons with access to vast amounts of dark money. When Bernie was invited to participate, he said no, so there you have it.

  • This article is insulting at best. I do not see Sanders’ positions as unrealistic at all. The atmosphere is different than before.

    One does not support a candidate so that one can claim that they were “right” after their candidate wins. One should support a candidate because they are on the right side of a predominance of issues. That’s Bernie Sanders. Stand up for your principles.

    What the author does here is akin to what the DNC and Deborah Wasserman Schults have done – to preemptively anoint one candidate over another. I won’t sit idly by while this election is bought and paid for by the powers that be.

    For anyone who has been watching, the DNC tilted this from the get-go. Disgusting. The DNC has lost me and my support going forward. A house-cleaning is in order.

    While LGBT issues are important, Hillary would also be confronted with an obstructionist House and Senate if elected. Will she capitulate with giveaways which are not in our best interest, like NAFTA, just as her husband did? I bet she will. This is not what I want from a President. Tough on the surface but trading the silverware for pennies on the dollar. No thanks!

    I prefer to stand up for my principles. I predict that we will all look back at these campaigns with regret, and admiration for Bernie Sanders’ “dreamy ideals” and realize that they were not so darned unrealistic at all.

  • I will not vote for her in the primary. I will not vote for her in the general should she win the nomination.

  • Everyone has the right to their opinion and vote but calling supporters of other candidates stupid, moronic, AND called the candidate delusional are Republican tactics. This reporter can freelance all he wants but it shows a lack of understanding of free speech and our election process when you are allowed to have your candidate and everyone else’s is trashed.

  • More desperation from the Clintonistas.

    Apparently the fact that the Clintons repeated burned gay voters in ’90s after promising to support gay rights in ’92 means nothing to these memory impaired, sycophants. If Hillary is elected she’ll revert to her anti-gay self just as she and Bill did with the ban on travel for people with HIV, DOMA and Don’t Ask.

    Want a new more drastic so-called religious freedom freedoms act that allows anti-gay discrimination in 2017? Hillary is most likely to be your girl.

  • Watch what the Clintons do, not what they say: DOMA, Don’t Ask, a ban on travel for people with HIV, drastic welfare cuts, repeal of Glass Steagall, and NAFTA. It took a real Democrat in the Whitehouse to start to undo the damage the Clintons caused.

  • The best civil rights advancements LGBTs can make in the coming eight years will require a Dem U.S. House and Senate– plus an assuredly sympathetic (like a 6-3 split) SCOTUS.

    So that will require a Democratic presidential nominee with provably strong and long coattails to overcome an already gerrymandered House. The choice is obvious.

    Bernie would make a great Veep for Hillary, tho– or maybe Commerce or Treasury Secretary.

  • This news article was paid for by the Human Rights Campaign and the Hillary Clinton Campaign.

  • So people should support a pathological liar and grifter who was a rape enabler for her husband, who sold access to government for hundreds of millions of dollars?

    Why do you hate gay people?

    Why do you want gay people tied in the public imagination to this old sow?

  • It is sad to see the naked bias against Senator Bernie Sander of the Washington Blade. You put a totally one-sided Clinton plug on the front page. You could not find a single Black LGBTQ person who supports Sanders to quote ? How about the fierce Queer Black Sister from Black Lives Matter who created a huge buzz by confronting Clinton about her racist comments about bringing young “predators” “to heel” ? And then you can not find a commentator who supports Sanders to balance the crude hatchet piece you feature against him ? Do you have a shred of journalistic integrity and even sense of balance or fairness left ?

  • She was against equal rights for gays until 2011. And her comments about the Reagans’ addressing AIDS are false and extremely disconcerting.

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