Because it feels like it has come to this, it must be said: I am endorsing Hillary Clinton. The only Bern I feel is that of my peers constantly trying to ding Clinton for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on.
It’s weird to even have to articulate any of this because Hillary Clinton for millennials has become a bad word. If you support her, you are supporting Wall Street. If you support her, you are supporting government sameness. If you support her, you are supporting email hacks and high pizza spending. You know what? I don’t give a shit.
Why? Clinton is an ace, experienced, strong politician who has seen some shit in her life. She’s been in the White House once with her husband, who publicly cheated on her yet she persevered. She ran for president once before and almost won. She served as Secretary Of State. Yes, that comes with the baggage of being well connected to industries and money. And? She has worked her entire life to build connections and respect. Also: she’s a woman. She’s a great woman. She is a woman I would love to meet and who I will never stop supporting.
Somehow, that’s weird. Somehow, supporting Hillary Clinton has become synonymous in my age demographic as being passé and antiquated. Excuse me? Supporting an old white dude who may or not be a Larry David character is not antiquated? Are you people just reacting to eight years of a black president with a fucking old white guy who doesn’t know how to deal with protestors at his events? Are you really that afraid to have a female politician, a woman in power, as our president? I’m sorry. Bernie is not progress. He’s an old white dude and not a particularly special one either because socialism and Killer Mike can only make you so hip. Old white dudes will never be cool. Bill Murray isn’t cool. Woody Allen isn’t cool. Your dad isn’t cool. Sure, they might have been cool and did some shit in their day but they just aren’t cool anymore: they’re old and they are the product of a privileged gender and a privileged race.
So why Bernie? Why the hype? Why the protest and the reaction and the glomming onto yells that “HE IS COOL!!!!!”? I’m not sure—and this is definitely an uneducated guess—but it feels like it all has to do with the tastemaker economy, the idea that you have clout from your beliefs. “If I have a taste for X—and a taste for X is popular—I am popular,” is a simple explanation of the tastemaking philosophy, that need for cool, cool, cool.
These memes. This is the latest in the millennial smear campaign against Hillary by projecting poor taste and aligning Clinton with the old. It’s not only sexist but represents the need to legitimize a potentially shallow point of view with something cool, with dick swings about taste. “Who has bad taste?” they yell. “HILLARY HAS BAD TASTE!!!” and then they throw up one of these images on their Facebook or Twitter or elsewhere. A little funny, sure, but—Again.—it plays into this complex that Hillary is less-than, that her storied history of being a pretty badass—if not a little flawed—politician is null because Bern likes Vampire Weekend. Is this just insider Trump campaigning to smear Hillary? Is this not just the Urban Outfitters version of the Tea Party?
It feels like there is a lack of education, that support is coming from an “I Heard This And I Am Repeating It!” mentality. The best example comes from Ta-Nehisi Coates—one of the leading thinkers in America—who explained that Bernie has issues. Are the issues really Bernie’s issues? No. The issue is instead that anyone questioning Bern comes is met with the caveat “YEA BUT HILLARY….” instead of doing the digging and explaining the why, the how, the who, the what, etc. It all seems very surface level, very sheepish, very flocked into a cult of thinking. It’s basic. It’s a hear-and-repeat culture of under education, of Internet culture eating the brain and one being able to skirt by with soundbites gathered from headlines.
The problem is that everyone has become a Bernie Bro, hardcore anti-Clinton rebloggers who do it for the Likes, for the online adulation, for the sake of hearing their own voice heard. The irony is that Bernie Bros are probably, maybe, probably Bernie minus fifty years: white guys with a lot of opinions. There is a lack of diversity in both opinion and point of view. There is no room for questioning in this mentality. It’s macho, it’s a predictable, and it’s ultimately illustrating a gross byproduct of youth and online (male) culture.
So what now? Do I have to yell it out in all caps? Bernie Sanders is cool and good and fine enough but there are better options. There are people with better skill sets and experience and better supporters. Bernie and Berners are the political version of the “No, I’m not drinking right now.” resolutioner. They are loud, they are annoying, they are trendy, and they are super basic.
And, like all trends, they fade. Like the blazer and hoodie combination, you see a photo of yourself six years after it’s trend half-life ended and you realize “Fuck: what was I thinking??” Like bootcut jeans and bleached tips, the trends died and live on in photos of ourselves from “way back when,” from a taste from another time. Bernie feels like that. The cult that surrounds him feel like they are riding a big wave and, like all waves, in a few weeks or months or years, it will come crashing down and they’ll look back and go, “Fuck: what was I thinking??”
That, Internet friends, is the catch of the tastemaker economy.