US POLITICS

Bernie Sanders Fans Slam Black Voters After South Carolina Defeat

Some Sanders supporters are attacking black voters for backing Clinton on Saturday over their favored candidate

US POLITICS
Bernie Sanders fans cheer at a campaign rally. — REUTERS
Feb 28, 2016 at 9:52 AM ET

Bernie Sanders fans on Reddit and Democratic Underground, which host two of the presidential candidate’s biggest online networks of support, are posting condescending and offensive remarks about South Carolina voters and the state’s black electorate.

Dozens of aggressive threads and comments emerged after Hillary Clinton won in South Carolina on Saturday with 74 percent of the vote—and with support from 86 percent of black voters, exit polls showed. Many called South Carolina “backwards” and labeled its residents “confederate flag waving bigots.” Others wondered why black voters didn’t turn out for Sanders, and blamed them for voting against their own interests.

More Hillary Clinton Wins Big In South Carolina

“If poc [people of color] want to change things then they can vote Sanders,” one user, called “immoderate,” wrote on Democratic Underground, an online community for Democrats. “If they want to keep things the same, then by all means stick with Hillary.” The attack was among several that said a vote for Clinton is a vote for the status quo, while backing Sanders is instead a vote for economic equality and civil rights, which are central to the candidate’s political platform.

Others sought to label African-American voters as uninformed, saying that if more black voters understood Sanders’ positions, they’d surely vote for him.

The assault extended to the state of South Carolina more generally. One particularly aggressive thread on Democratic Underground said Sanders supporters should ignore the latest primary results, saying South Carolina “is among the most backwards of states with some of the meanest people I have ever met.” It went on to say that South Carolina is “not far from being a slave state again” and “retains the Master/servant style of population.” Hillary represents the master class “with her riches and standing,” while “Bernie, being Jewish and a white male has three strikes against him,” read the post, which was supported by dozens of users on the site, but was also criticized by others.

On the /r/SandersForPresident subreddit, home to over 190,000 subscribers, similar conversations denigrating South Carolina and black voters surfaced late on Saturday.

Sanders fans have been accused of harassing black people and women online in the past. The phenomenon became so widely publicized that the abusive subset of Sanders fans earned the nickname “Bernie Bros.”

Of course, it isn’t only Sanders fans who have attacked their political rivals. Trump supporters have unleashed sexist rage in support of the candidate, while a YouGov poll found that Clinton fans hold their own racist positions.