The continuing awfulness of Donald Trump had been overshadowing the race for the Democratic nomination between Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. But that race is not only very close but has become very ugly, and it does seem to highlight the fundamental schism in the liberal-left.
It’s become so ugly that comparisons are being made with GamerGate. Does this suggest that the culture wars across gaming, fandom and tech are not quite the left-right conflict as they’ve frequently been framed?
It’s not as if either side is innocent here. We’ve seen some ugly casual sexism coming from a small but noisy faction of Sanders supporters, which doesn’t do their candidate a lot of favours. The so-called “Bernie Bros” do appear to have a lot in common with the infamous Cybernats or some of the more belligerent Corbyn supporters that sometimes make the British political internet an unpleasant place.
But the Clinton campaign is no better. It is noticeable is now many of those who have invested heavily in so-called “Social Justice Warrior” middle-class identity politics are solid Clinton supporters. Their attacks on Sanders and his support appear to come from the same playbook as the attacks on GamerGate and The Sad Puppies. On the surface at least, Sanders’ politics have little in common with the conservative-libertarian bent of the Gaters or the Puppies. Is what we’re seeing just their default response when faced with what they see an intruder on territory they believe to be rightfully theirs?
Though it should be noted that Bernie Sanders has distanced himself from the so-called “Bernie Bros” in a way those other groups did not do with some of their own bad actors.
But in the end, much like with Jeremy Corbyn’s labour party, both camps appear to have forgotten that their ultimate goal is to defeat whatever horrific troglodyte ends up on top at the end of the Republican race. Posturing and self-indulgent virtue signalling will not help achieve that goal.