Column

The Hater’s Guide To Bernie Sanders

The old man ain’t no angel. Not yet anyway.

Drew Magary
GEN
Published in
7 min readJan 22, 2020

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Photo illustration; Source: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Some people (raises hand) are supporters of Bernie Sanders. But many, many more people are NOT supporters of Bernie Sanders. This 2020 GEN magazine haters’ guide, the second in an already famed and illustrious series, is for those in the latter group.

Your candidate

The U.S. Senate equivalent of the old guy at the gym who works out for 10 minutes on an exercise bike while wearing Lee Jeans and a dress shirt.

His résumé

2016 Democratic primary runner-up. He’s a socialist! But he’s also a Democrat! But also, he was always an independent! He’s a floor cleaner AND a dessert topping! You know how some closet Republicans love to say they’re independent while brandishing a big ol’ name tag that says Avowed Libertarian on it? Bernie Sanders is the liberal equivalent of that, which is somehow more irritating to deal with. Throughout his tenure, Bernie has served as the designated empty can that rattles the most, remaining steadfast in his opposition to unfettered capitalism and for-profit wars: a righteous man who also froze himself out of the political process so that he could be conveniently free to bitch about that process from the inside. As a legislator, Sanders was content to Bernie up minor provisions of bills while rarely, if ever, pushing through major legislative initiatives of his own.

If you’ve already drank the Kool-Aid, you can see all this through the prism of Bernie being the “eternal outsider,” sticking to his principles until, with Donald Trump as president, the rest of his party finally came around to seeing things his way. If you’re just a touch more skeptical about Berniemania, you can see this as an old and intractable kook ignorantly trying to seize control of a moment that never really belonged to him. Bad things happen when you let white dudes—especially ones who have been able to stroll along the corridors of power for literal decades—indulge in the delusion that they’re outsiders. That’s not even a coy Trump allusion I’m making. That’s always been true.

Also, Bernie defended Iran during the hostage crisis of 1979–81. That was 41 years ago, so my man doesn’t get to chalk…

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Drew Magary
GEN
Writer for

Columnist at GEN. Co-founder, Defector. Author of Point B.