- The purported job of journalists is to find out facts. You know, figure out true things about the world by investigating it, asking questions, picking up the phone once in awhile. One factual question is whether or not I am a Bernie Sanders supporter. The factual answer to that factual question is no. This is not a secret! There is no need to skulk around the hall of power, looking for a new Deep Throat to solve the history-defining question of whether Freddie deBoer endorses Bernie Sanders. You could tweet me to find out. You could send an email to my publicly-listed, not-at-all-hard-to-find email address. You could check out this piece I wrote for Politico on the question of Bernie Sanders and his relationship to socialists, in which I did my best to take an even-handed approach. Or you could, you know, read this post of mine from two days ago in which I openly and explicitly point out that I’m not a Sanders reporter. Those are things that you can do, if you’re investigating the crucial, crucial question of whether or not I support Bernie Sanders, who I will not vote for, have donated no money to, and don’t endorse in any fashion.
- Unfortunately, Quartz’s Jake Flanagin did not do any of those things. He in fact didn’t appear to do any of the actual question-asking-and-answering functions of journalism at all. That’s how he ended up saying “Freddie deBoer and Adam Johnson are Bernie Sanders supporters” when, if you ask either of us — who I think count as experts on the question of our own opinions — we will both say the opposite. If only journalists were allowed to ask questions of the subjects of their work!
- I will vote for no punk Democrats in the 2016 election. My choices are someone who was a key supporter of the Clinton crime bill, welfare reform, multiple legislative gifts to Wall Street, and the Iraq war; a supposedly-independent Senator who has terrible views on Israel-Palestine, gun control, and immigration; the guy who went to great lengths to help police degrade, harass, imprison, and kill black people in Baltimore; a guy who makes jokes about killing people with grenades as a way to make himself appear more relatable; and a befuddled former Republican governor who seems to have wandered onto the debate stage while looking for the bathroom. Enticing choices!
- I am, however, dedicated to the idea that American democracy is undermined through the serial insistence by our political parties and our political media that There Is No Alternative, that one candidate or another is inevitable, and that nobody but a tiny group of elites in DC and New York gets to decide who the next president will be. Political journalists on Twitter have been losing their minds at me for the last couple days, because I pointed out that there is a clear divide between what their small, elite koffeeklatsch wants from this election and where the actual popular energy is in this campaign. I pointed out that they are all guilty of a terribly out-of-touch Village mindset, and so to punish me, they demonstrated that exact mindset perfectly. The fact of the matter is, they think that by dint of their role in Very Respectable Journalismismism, they get to decide when the race is over, rather than, you know, voters. And they jealously, angrily guard that privilege.
- The Villagers aren’t pro-Hillary. Hillary’s a woman, and our political journalism apparatus remains staunchly sexist. Hillary has suffered from terrible, systematic, and downright mean sexism her entire political career. But Hillary is the establishment choice, and that beats their preference for old white dudes like rock beats scissors. I find it strange that people are treating Hillary like some sort of underdog, given that her nomination has been discussed as an inevitability since at least the night of the 2012 election.
- You seriously have to have your head buried so far deep in the Washington DC self-obsession navel to think that my opinion makes any difference whatsoever for who Democrat primary voters will pull the lever for, that Bernie’s biggest problem is the opinion of people on the internet. Let’s see: on the one hand, you have the vast host of economic, social, cultural, and moral factors that lead a nation of 315 million people to decide collectively who their chief executive will be every 4 years. On the other hand, you have the opinion of a guy with 6,000 Twitter followers, a WordPress, and too much free time. Which will determine the outcome of this election?!? Do people not know that there’s a whole world beyond Twitter, and that the vast majority of the world doesn’t care at all what Twitter thinks? Go outside every once in awhile. Jeez.
- That mentality is just a facet of the attitude that I’m criticizing: the notion that the pundits control the country, and not the people. Nobody cares about this “angry white dude” angle but a few hundred grown up children who are professionally dedicated to overemphasizing the importance of their own opinions. The people who will decide this nomination and this election don’t have Twitter feeds, have never heard of intersectionality, don’t know or care what Slack is, and absolutely will not vote based on tired, meme-fied internet politics. They’ll vote based on who they think will do the best job of making their lives easier, as they should. All the rest is posturing from people who have no idea what this country is like outside of DC or Brooklyn.
Update: Seriously, nothing that happens on Twitter matters.