Submitted by Bernie2020 in Politics

Hi everyone, I came across a Medium post titled 46 Reasons to Not Vote for Bernie Sanders. This digs up a lot of weird, rare stuff. It's mostly all easily debunkable but I want to save everyone time by compiling all the resources into one place, so here's the original piece I'm replying to. A number of these claims came up in 2015 and you can believe that they'll come up again this time. Don't let gullible friends fall for it! I'll copy the original points, but not the URLs in the original points from the Medium post. (archived, in case this disingenuous person decides to take it down)

1) He’s not the most progressive — Kamala, Warren, Booker, and Gillibrand are all more progressive than him on crucial votes.

What on earth is this page the guy links? Sherrod Brown is more progressive than Bernie, but leans Republican? Look, Bernie's campaign shifted the overton window towards the left when it has been on full retreat towards the right for decades with his last presidential campaign. Universal single-payer healthcare was not even a talking point until he pushed it forward. Beto O'Rourke adopted Sanders' model of not taking PAC money because Sanders proved he could rake in donations this way and fund a real, viable campaign. It worked for Beto, too.

Sanders champions working class issues, hasn't fallen for the total BS line that "politics is downstream from culture," understands that too big to fail means too big to exist, helped push Amazon to a $15 min wage, supports the Fight for 15 more broadly, wants to end money bail, and doesn't take corporate money. Quick summary of Sanders' positions:

And I know Sanders won't retreat on these issues, he won't dilute Medicare for All with "access to healthcare" or some other cheap qualifier, he won't compromise Green New Deal, and he certainly won't promise something if he cannot fight for it.

He's not like Kamala Harris whose aides have to go backpedal on her Medicare for All stance (

He's not like Cory Booker who worked with none other than Betsy DeVos on eliminting public school and promoting school choice, a favorite right-wing point (

He's not like Amy Klobuchar who just thinks GND and M4A are "unrealistic" and offers up nothing in return. "Pragmatic" is not a policy.

He's not like Joe Biden who was paid $200k to give a speech on the behalf of a Republican, who then went on to win (

He's the Bernie Sanders who is rightfully proud that he's not friends with that ghoul Henry Kissinger (

2) He’s not a guaranteed win against Trump — Kamala and Booker are far more likely to take NV, FL, and NC than Bernie. And Klobuchar is more likely to take the Midwest.

Is anybody guaranteed to win an election two years before it takes place? These are amazingly bold predictions for someone who didn't bother citing even a single poll, and it's so premature, so why even bother making the claim?

3) Bernie is the second richest person running (google candidate names followed by “net worth”)

No. Straight lie. Do in fact as the original Medium author says and google the term to find nothing like he suggests. Consider:

4) He’s the only one who won’t release his taxes (well and Trump).

No. (note the time stamp on the Politifact check and the time stamp on the Politico article. It's a completely dishonest claim to make in retrospect in 2019)

5) He’s the establishment — he’s been a politician for 39 years (longer than anyone else running). A vote for Bernie is emphasizing that we shouldn’t ever have “new blood” or term limits.

The independent senator from Vermont is the establishment? Also why does his time as an independent tiny town mayor in Vermont count against him being a political insider?

6) He’s not accomplished. In 29 years (the house and senate) Bernie has only gotten 220 bills/amendments passed into law and most weren’t big deals — like renaming a post office. Whereas Elizabeth Warren has passed 45 bills/amendments into law in 6 years, Gillibrand has passed 92 in 12 years, and Klobuchar 125 in 12 years. So, he’s the least accomplished running.

I guess they call him the roll call amendment king for nothing. Let's pretend that "bills/amendments passed" without any consideration of their content is a good metric of anything. Let's do some math. First of all, Bernie's been in the House and Senate for 28 years, not 29, so that's already misleading (I'll take the other numbers as given).

Sanders: 220/28 = 7.86 Bills&Amendments per year
Warren: 45/6 = 7.5
Gillibrand 92/12 = 7.66
Klobuchar 125/12 = 10.41

What does this information tell us? Well the author sets up Warren and Gillibrand as if they do so much more than Bernie, which they don't. But the real answer to this question is it tells us absolutely nothing, other than these Congresspeople do work. So again, this is a complete non-point.

(slightly dated) List of significant bills Bernie brought forward

7) He doesn’t have a progressive voting history on the most important issues such as voting against the brady bill and other anti gun legislation multiple times.

He literally does have a progressive voting history. To focus on a single aspect where he's more ambivalent than on other issues (guns) and to then take that and make it out like he's not progressive is just false. The NRA has often rated Bernie as an F on guns (a ringing endorsement!) But as I mentioned, Sanders has shifted the overton window back toward the left. We owe him for a renewed national dialogue!

8) He voted for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in 2000 (easing regulations on Wall Street) which caused the Great Recession.

Super disingenuous to bring that up but not bring up his vote against Gramm–Leach–Bliley, which repealed Glass Steagall and deregulated investment vs commercial banking. Bernie voted against TARP, and he is against banks as institutions that can become too big to fail.

9) He voted to end the 3–10 year ban on immigrants who overstayed their Visa by supporting the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

Look at this 750 page omnibus bill. Anyway, following the house vote link from here it actually says he voted against it, so...

10) He’s a war hawk: Sanders supported the war on Serbia in the 90’s, and voted for the 2001 Authorization Unilateral Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF), allowing Bush to wage war wherever he wanted.

Yes, Bernie Sanders the war hawk who voted against the Iraq War. More recently he was a sponsor of a bill to end US support for war in Yemen, which passed the Senate. I am not in full support of Bernie's foreign policy stances, but the term "war hawk" has meaning, and it does not apply to Bernie Sanders in the least. Also, good point, when literally everyone else voted in reaction to Sept. 11 to go to endless war, Rep. Barbara Lee did the most courageous thing to do in that immediate fury reaction and voted NO. So to blame Bernie specifically for something that literally any of the other leading Dems would've done is to not indict Bernie, but to indict the whole country. Bless Barbara Lee, though.

11) He voted in favor of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. The bill stated: “It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.”

Good criticism, finally. This one is new to me, and I find this vote regrettable. Though it's time to take note that all these things from the 90s were mostly signed in by Bill Clinton and supported by Dems broadly.

12) “Later that same year, he backed a resolution that stated: ‘Congress reaffirms that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic. government to replace that regime.’ These measures gave congressional backing for the CIA’s covert plan to overthrow the Hussein regime in Baghdad, as well as the tightening of an economic sanctions regime that may have killed as many as 500,000 Iraqi children. The resolution also gave the green light to Operation Desert Fox, a four-day long bombing campaign striking 100 targets throughout Iraq.”

This guy really has to pad out points, 10, 11, and 12 should go together under one point. FP was a weak point for Bernie overall, I agree. BTW, Sanders didn't vote to authorize the Iraq War. Then-senator Clinton did, though!

13) He voted for the crime bill in the 90’s he blamed Hillary for — even though she wasn’t a senator.

Very misleading. Sanders was not for the tough-on-crime parts of the bill, but he said "I have a number of serious problems with the crime bill, but one part of it that I vigorously support is the Violence Against Women Act. We urgently need the $1.8 billion in this bill to combat the epidemic of violence against women on the streets and in the homes of America." Read this for much more. Also, gotta love that the Clintons used prison labor in the Arkansas governor's mansion, and she casually just talks about it in her book and sees no problem with that. But I digress.



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ziq wrote (edited )

Do you have a retort for this one?

"Bernie is a capitalist".


[deleted] wrote


ziq wrote

Go ahead and argue it, so I can see how you came to that conclusion.


jaidedctrl wrote (edited )

Bernie is liberal as heck, but he really has shifted dialogue a bit more leftward in the US. I know several people who have gone from Bernie-style social democracy to socialism and anarchism pretty quickly-- all because he calls himself a "socialist." Would definitely vote for him.


edmund_the_destroyer wrote

You sound like a paid shill, not someone trying to make reasonable arguments. And you're playing the same kind of games with the truth as anyone else by having too little of, "Yes, he was flat out wrong about _____" which would get a lot more respect than pretending the guy is Moses + Jesus + Buddha + Mohammed all rolled into one.


heckthepolice2 wrote

The independent senator from Vermont is the establishment?

Um... Yeah? Any senator is the establishment. You don't exactly wind up in the senior legislative body of the federal government by fighting the power


heckthepolice2 wrote

This kind of suffers from clearly being directed at democrats who prefer the less left wing candidates. This really is not your target audience, buckaroo


Bernie2020 OP wrote

14) He said Trump voters aren’t “racist, sexist, or homophobes” essentially defending trump and his bigotry.

Sanders knows that Trump tapped into genuine anger and resentment of the status quo, because you know what? Productivity has massively increased but wages haven't matched it. We live in deeply unequal times, economically, and Trump used that to his advantage by using proto-fascist talking points of blaming minorities and others, scapegoating those who are most vulnerable. But that doesn't mean Bernie Sanders defends Trump, or thinks Trump is anything but a racist, misogynist liar.

15) He voted against Russia sanctions twice.

Good. We've really overblown Russian meddling in our society. They influenced our elections, our country, our beliefs? Hardly. Let me give you a more salient example of foreign influence in our country. What about when Republicans secretly worked with Israelis to bring Netanyahu to speak to Congress in 2015, without informing the White House? They literally invited foreign influence.

16) He voted against the amber alert.

Really grasping here. The article the Medium author linked says Sanders voted against the bill because he thought this part of the bill was too much and unconstitutional: "Among the add-ons placed on the bill by House Republicans was one restricting the discretion of federal judges in crafting sentences for a range of crimes."

17) He first got elected to Congress because of NRA support and money.

Don't be misled, the NRA is no fan of Bernie Sanders, though in my view I'd prefer him to have a tougher stancer on guns. Pretending the NRA and Sanders are bedfellows is wrong. Consider this:

18) He didn’t condemn his supporters for throwing chairs in Nevada or sending out super delegate “hit lists.” In fact, he supported them.

Just a perpetrating a lie. Consider: Consider:

19) He voted to dump nuclear waste from several states on LatinX communities.

Here is some abbreviated remarks, it really is worth paying attention to what he is saying so this is my longest response to the Medium post. (I quote at length from:

Let me address it from the perspective of someone who is an opponent of nuclear power, who opposes the construction of power plants and, if he had his way, would shut down the existing nuclear power plants as quickly and as safely as we could.

One of the reasons that many of us oppose nuclear power plants is that when this technology was developed, there was not a lot of thought given as to how we dispose of the nuclear waste. Neither the industry nor the Government, in my view, did the right thing by allowing the construction of the plants and not figuring out how we get rid of the waste.

But the issue we are debating here today is not that issue. The reality, as others have already pointed out, is that the waste is here. We cannot wish it away. It exists in power plants in Maine and Vermont, it exists in hospitals, it is here.

No reputable scientist or environmentalist believes that the geology of Vermont or Maine would be a good place for this waste. In the humid climate of Vermont and Maine, it is more likely that groundwater will come in contact with that waste and carry off radioactive elements to the accessible environment.

There is widespread scientific evidence to suggest, on the other hand, that locations in Texas, some of which receive less than 12 inches of rainfall a year, a region where the groundwater table is more than 700 feet below the surface, is a far better location for this waste.

This is not a political assertion, it is a geological and environmental reality. Furthermore, even if this compact is not approved, it is likely that Texas, which has a great deal of low-level radioactive waste, and we should make the point that 80 percent of the waste is coming from Texas, 10 percent from Vermont, 10 percent from Maine, the reality is that Texas will go forward with or without this compact in building a facility to dispose of their low-level radioactive waste.

20) He praised trump the day after the election and said he looked forward to working with him.

This is what Sanders said right after the election: "To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him, to the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.”

It's a completely banal statement that you make about trying to work toward solutions. I'm certain most top politicians made statements of the sort after the election. Note how the author of the Medium piece neglected to include the second half of this quote.

Also, this is what Sanders said in his announce video about Trump on Youtube for 2020: "We are living in a pivotal and dangerous moment in American history. We are running against a president who is a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe, and someone who was undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction." Some praise!

21) He had an absurd amount of FEC violations (639 pages worth).

This largely stems from supporters donating more than they're legally allowed, not from Sanders being a serious bad-faith actor. He paid the FEC fines, too. Overblown issue.

22) He voted against rapists having to reveal their HIV status to their victims.

I can't find much on this other than which I'll quote: "...or on a measure giving rape victims the right to find out if their attackers had HIV/AIDS. Yes, Sanders voted against those bills, in some cases because they were attached to other provisions he opposed, in some cases because he voted for other measures that accomplished similar goals, and perhaps in some cases because, as Tarrant told me, "he too often takes the side of criminals' rights."

To that very last part, I take issue with Tarrant, Sanders' then political opponent, on claiming that Sanders takes the side of criminals. Sanders is on the side of the American people, and he's as principled as he is honest. Moving along.

23) He said identity politics shouldn’t matter.

He literally did not. He essentially said gender is not a sufficient reason to vote, your politics matter as well as your identity. Read more here.

24) He saw a bunch of very qualified women, people of color, and a gay man running and decided he’s better for the job than any of them.

Ok, what the fuck? By this rationale is it also simply anti-Semitic to not vote for Sanders? The votes reside with the people who will decide who is right for the job (ignoring for a moment that superdelegates exist). Total non-point.

25) He campaigned against several marginalized progressive candidates in the midterm elections who are women in favor of white men, like Sharice Davids for example.

This is the kind of statement made by the people who derided Taylor Swift for not supporting Marsha Blackburn. "Oh, a woman isn't supporting a woman!? L O L!" That isn't insightful, that's just dumb.

AOC also supported Brent Welder over Sharice Davids. So what? I had to do some investigation into this one.

Welder's positions: Fight for 15, M4A full-stop, equality for women & LGBTQ.

Davids supports "access" to care, and "access" to higher education.

You can compare their stances here:

It really is no surprise that Sanders supported Brent Welder. It's about the policies, not just the person. Refer to my link in 23)


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Bernie2020 OP wrote

26) His campaign hacked DNC data.

Is this just a flat, unsubstantiated lie? This appears to be just a flat, unsubstantiated lie.

27) His wife is under FBI investigation.

Sorry, try again.

28) He didn’t pay his female staffers equally.

Pay gap claims are new to me for the Sanders campaign. So just another lie made up, I guess.

29) He did nothing about the rampant sexual harassment that occurred within his campaign in 2016.

Sexual harassment from men is not unique to the staffers on Bernie's campaign payroll. And at least he didn't didn't personally intervene like Hillary Clinton did on the behalf of Burns Strider, who KNEW about the harassment ( This is such an overreach of a claim. We can read more here:

I should also take a moment to note that the night Bernie announced he interviewed on TYT. He agreed that his campaign was too white, too male. He wants to fix these problems. He met with former campaign staffers about sexism ( He promises that his new campaign will have better safeguards as lessons learned from last time. He's certainly not idle or deaf to the problems.

30) He wrote an essay that says women fantasize about being raped.

Okay, this one's really been pulled outta the archives. The essay does not say women fantasize about being raped, it's really not the point of the essay at all. Some backdrop per MotherJones:

"In 1963, as a junior, he waged a crusade for sexual freedom, assailing the school’s leaders for forcing their puritan views on undergraduates—and ruining their students’ sex lives.

In doing so, Sanders made national news. This crusade was emblematic of the way Sanders conducted himself in Hyde Park and throughout his political career—firm in his beliefs, fiery in his rhetoric, and unafraid of confrontation.

It began with a 2,000-word, ALL-CAPS-laced manifesto in the Maroon, the daily student newspaper, outlining the intellectual case for sexual freedom. Titled “Sex and the Single Girl—Part Two” (a nod to Helen Gurley Brown’s feminist treatise), Sanders attacked the university’s strict student housing guidelines—which prohibited women from living off-campus and restricted visiting access for persons of the opposite sex—with the kind of fire he’d later reserve for capitalists and war hawks."

So read the "rape" essay for yourself, see how it doesn't comport with Bernie saying that women fantasize about rape.

Totally misleading claim.

31) He called Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign the establishment.

Because they are. Take for example that PP's union-busting efforts last year ( and

These organizations are political.

32) He used the anniversary of MLK’s assassination to take jabs at Obama.

Knighted and Sainted Obama is above reproach and criticism. More at 10:00PM. Just kidding! This claim is just overblown. It's deceptive to pretend Sanders took the whole day to exclusively jab at Obama, but while we're on the topic of Obama:

33) His campaign was incredibly hurtful to HIV/AIDS activists and refused to apologize.

It is disappointing that that happened, this is a good point. One counterpoint I'll offer is this was truly in the major swing of things during primary season, so if the scheduling was tight it's not a great surprise. But does this mean he literally doesn't give a shit about HIV/AIDS? (tip: answer's no. Side note: Medicare for All would help people avoid contracting HIV, and those who need antivirals would not go bankrupt trying to afford them!)

34) Two words: “democratic whore.”

Sanders did not say these words. He condemned them, however.

35) Instead of supporting the LGBTQ march on Washington, he held the People’s Summit in Chicago — giving no mention to the lgbtq and having no lgbtq speakers.

Not much to say about this, it's just not a strong or interesting point. He was at another conference.

36) He called Hillary unqualified — someone who has served for decades, was SOS and a New York Senator. So actually he was saying women are not qualified.

To paraphrase the Medium post author, "Bernie Sanders didn't say this thing, so instead I'll offer up a strawman and claim that he did in fact say and mean this thing I just made up." Ok, next.

37) He didn’t condemn his supporters for attacking Dolores Huerta.

I'm not sure what this is specifically referring to, and "attacked" is such a strong word for me to not be able to find good context for this. I did find this:

Also refer back to my point 18.


Bernie2020 OP wrote

38) He’s old. Really old. Yes this could be called ageism but men’s life expectancy is younger than women’s. They don’t live as long. Bernie is past the average age for men. We elect people with hopes of 8 years, making Bernie 85 by the time he’s done. In all honesty, do you know a single 85 year old who could handle the job as well as someone 10, 20, or 30 years younger? No. No you don’t.

Bernie's old, yeah. I, too, wish he were younger. At least he's younger than Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, RBG, and is only one year older than Joe Biden. And Bernie can still ball (for an old guy:

39) He generally only employs straight white men for high up positions.

Faiz Shakir. Carmen Yulin Cruz.

This claim wasn't even true in 2016.

40) He praised Castro

Presented as if this is ipso facto a bad thing. Doesn't cite what Bernie actually said. Anyway, yeah Castro successfully resisted US imperial efforts. They have great healthcare. Think about Nicaragua, El Salvador, Haiti, Guatemala and how US intervention has horribly damaged those nations. Cuba would just be another victim of US imperial might. Elliott Abrams being brought back out from his crypt to is a perfect reminder of this.

41) He praised Daniel Ortega.

Presented as if this is ipso facto a bad thing. Doesn't cite what Bernie actually said. Anyway, Reagan was basically funding right-wing death squads at this time, so...

42) He praised Hugo Chavez and Venezuela, even though his policies are literally starving people to death.

Sanders did call Chavez a "dead communist dictator." So this point is just wrong, and I could stop writing here, but I'll take a moment to mention Chavez was democratically elected (and survived a US-backed coup). Poverty was significantly reduced in Venezuela under Chavez's presidency.

Also consider:

43) He supported getting discount oil from Venezuela — capitalizing on their poverty and not chastising their government for their treatment of their people.

The linked article is from when Chavez was alive and president. During this time Venezuela was successfully reducing its poverty rates. I'm trying to imagine how we could reframe this issue in other ways, like... "He did not support getting a good price on oil from Venezuela, wasting US dollars." "Bernie Sanders topples OPEC with his oil negotiating tactics." Come off it, already. (Just in case you missed it the first time from point 42, this was during a time when poverty was significantly decreasing in Venezuela:

44) His support of military actions in the 1999 Kosovo War was so bad it caused one of his advisers to quit.

Identical to point from #10 (original author even linked the specific letter of resignation in 10). So this point's redundant.

45) In 1999 anti war activists stormed Sanders office because his pro war policies were so bad… you know how he preaches against overpolicing and giving people a right to vote? He had all of the protestors arrested. Will Miller wrote about his experiences with this in 1999.

Yes, Sanders needed to clarify his FP. Perhaps he'll be stronger on the point this election than last time. But this doesn't condemn everything Bernie stands for, so it's just again a really flaccid point.

46) There’s a difference between supporting equality and fighting for equality. The truth is, Bernie has never focused on passing legislation to help marginalized groups. It’s not his focus.

Just plainly not true. Look at him protest segregation.

He voted against DOMA.

Check out more here: (which includes that great video of Sanders not allowing another rep to insult gay troops on the basis of their sexual orientation

Here is a bonus smear that is brought up on Twitter often:

Bernie Sanders does not poll well with women and minorities

Alright, so what's Bernie's "Favoribility" among Americans? If everyone hates him so much, why did he clobber Kamala Harris's first 24 hours of fundraising, pulling in 4x as much?

Sorry, but the polling data does not hold on this claim.

Among women Bernie is 58% favorable. African Americans poll him at 73% favorable.

Another look at the polls. Seems like minorities favor Sanders more.

If you need more we can defer yet again to the excellent Katie Halper:

And just in case someone tries to claim that Bernie's supports are all rich white bros, and that's how he earned his record first round fundraising, ask them why the average donation was $27 with 223,000 donors. Yeah, all these rich guys just dropping $27, because they're so rich they cannot afford more.

Second bonus: Bernie Sanders will be vetted this time! We will really get him!

Just read this while keeping in the back of your mind that it was written almost three years ago:

I guess the myth really won't go away!

Okay, since you've made it this far, here's some good reading in support of Bernie.


conseil wrote

To focus on a single aspect where he's more ambivalent than on other issues (guns) and to then take that and make it out like he's not progressive is just false.

It seems like its a mistake to assume that taking worker's guns and leaving it with the cops and military is progressive, to me.

So to blame Bernie specifically for something that literally any of the other leading Dems would've done is to not indict Bernie, but to indict the whole country.

Dog, I don't think anyone here minds indicting all the politicians.

Yes, Sanders needed to clarify his FP. Perhaps he'll be stronger on the point this election than last time. But this doesn't condemn everything Bernie stands for, so it's just again a really flaccid point.

I'd argue that supporting the deaths of many cancels out supporting healthcare to save people; you can't just protect some whilst condemning many, many others.

Ultimately I'd say that these are all liberal talking points and its good to pick them apart, whilst Sanders is the least harmful candidate; but they also seem to make an attempt to appeal to liberal ideas rather than really throwing them in the garbage where they belong.