There have been few more eloquent supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ drive for the Democratic presidential nomination than former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who is precisely on the same page as Sanders when it comes to income inequality and the oppressive influence of money in politics in the U.S.
Reich wrote Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few last year, where he criticized the “revolving door between Washington and Wall Street,” that puts the profits of corporations before the public’s best interests.
In February of this year, Reich — a Clinton-era administration official — endorsed Sanders’ insurgent campaign over Hillary Clinton, calling him “the agent of change this nation so desperately needs.”
Months later, with the writing on the wall — to say nothing of the numbers on the calculator — showing that Hillary Clinton is an overwhelming favorite to wrap up the nomination well before the nominating convention in July, the economist responded on Facebook to Sanders supporters wondering what to do next.
“1. Continue to work like hell for Bernie, especially given upcoming primaries in California and New Jersey on June 7. Putting aside superdelegates, the difference between him and Hillary Clinton isn’t huge.”
But then he went a bridge too far.
“2. Don’t demonize or denigrate Hillary Clinton. If she wins the Democratic nomination, I urge you to work like hell for her. She’ll be the only person standing between Donald Trump and the presidency of the United States. Besides, as I’ve said before, she’ll be an excellent president for the system we now have, even though Bernie would be the best president for the system we need.”
As you can imagine, die-hard fans of Sanders on Reich’s Facebook page found his lack of faith in the viability of a Sanders nomination disturbing, going off on him the same way some did to Sen. Elizabeth Warren when she failed to endorse Sanders before the Massachusetts primary by blaming her for his loss.
“Cmon man?! I love you and all but you are seriously asking me to support the best Republican Standing, HRC?” wrote one Bernie booster. “I am voting for my values not against Trump.”
“I think your former boss may have given you the dubious assignment of mollifying the Bernie folk. Not working when you write shit like this. If Hillary wins the nomination, Trump wins the election. Period.”
“No. Hillary is a monster, and the souls of the millions dead in Iraq, Libya, and Honduras because of us require us to say so loudly.”
“Drastic reform is needed now. Another four or eight years of the status quo could ensure that the oligarchy will take measures to put down any future attempts to restore power to the people.”
“When you apologize for serving Bill Clinton and his Wall St pay masters then I’ll consider you a true progressive. Real progressives fight Clintonism with the same fervor as they oppose Republicans.”
“Disappointing. Im done supporting politicians that are corrupt as hell. which is why I refuse to support Billary.”
“Fuck off I will never give my support to Hillary, she’s everything I hate about the Democratic Party and I’m ashamed at the party elites who have completely shunned and ignored Bernie’s campaign and his message”
This isn’t to say that many commenters didn’t stick up for Reich — agreeing that a Trump administration would be devastating. But others made the oft-suggested argument that letting Donald Trump win will either be better than a Hillary presidency or will bring about the Great Progressive Revolution that Sanders backers believe is just around the corner.
“R U aware that she sat on the board for Walmart and gave all of our jobs away to NAFTA? Did you know that the 100000 jobs they created was from outsourcing and temp agancies being formed while they abolished the 100000 jobs that were worth keeping and changed the tax law to benefit outsourcing? She is the devil and I’m afraid Trump sucks less.”
“I think if Clinton supporters force her nomination they deserve a Trump Presidency!”
“We tried to nominate a good candidate and will continue to fight the good fight. If all the DNC and its supporters can muster is Hillary Clinton then it’s not really on us if Trump is elected.”
“Anybody but hillary, and if i hear one more person begging me to vote for her, i just might consider trump with an democratic congress”
“Robert that is not acceptable. I would rather have Donald Trump in the White House so he can mess everything up, and maybe we can get some real much needed change come 2020. Electing Hillary is like putting a dirty band-aid on open wounds.”
“Perhaps it takes bringing down the government and all its institutions to rebuild it with one that is of the people, by the people and FOR the people. Maybe we need a tyrant, man baby, Drumpf, misogynistic pig for four years who will do and say horrible things to knock us off our tenuous perch so that our children can rebuild and do a better job than we did. We sure screwed this world up pretty badly with corruption, pollution, greed and murder. In some ways I think we deserve Trump.”
Of course, Reich also took heat from Hillary supporters:
“Really Robert, a little late now. KMA! And I use to like and respect you.”
November can’t come soon enough.