So let’s start with something uncomfortable, naturally. Bernie Sanders, one of the most socialist candidates in US history, has been lying about the 2016 election results.
Okay well maybe he just threw out a statement as fact without checking to see if it had any basis in data, but that seems unlikely. Sanders has always been able to back up his arguments about income inequality with hard statistics. But his claim that the Democrats lost the working class is statistically verifiable as false. All exit polls show that Trump voters are majority middle class whose chief concerns are immigration and terrorism (http://edition.cnn.com/election/results/exit-polls/national/president).
But, as much as I, personally, would like to believe Sanders is merely misinformed, it would be politically advantageous for him to spread this myth. His voter base has always been majority white men (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/live-democratic-primary-exit-poll-analysis/story?id=38163893). And between those statistics, and his questionable support for women and POC, as seen by his “identity politics” comments weeks after the election, it is hard to fully refute the idea of “Bernie Bros”. While it is overblown by the media, ever hungry for a clean narrative, we have a candidate who thinks reproductive rights are a negotiable issue (http://www.npr.org/2017/04/20/524962482/sanders-defends-campaigning-for-anti-abortion-rights-democrat), and proposes that identity politics is the problem (http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/bernie-sanders-democrats-identity-politics-231710), who only won the white male category in the primary. And the recent emergence of the Chapo Trap House, who is founded by men who mock rape survivors (https://twitter.com/i/moments/889516709685678080) but still gets applause from leftists for talking about class, indicate this trend hasn’t been diminished.
And I don’t fully blame Sanders for this. He has his blind spots, but he isn’t the kind of scumbag who laughs at and lies about survivors of sexual assault. But he seems to share a similar problem to these guys: a preference for narrative over statistics. Because statistically Trump supporters are the middle class, more paranoid about immigration than the economy, but narratively, the idea that Trump supporters are mostly so desperate for a better economy that they would support such an evil man is very comforting. Far more than the idea that they liked him, not in spite of, but because of the racist paranoia and anger he projected. And in the grand scheme of things, Wall Street execs and the inherited wealth 1% make far better villains than average people who are nice most of the time, but think feminists are the real sexists and that Black Lives Matter is scarier than killer cops.
And what can be done to fix this? I dunno. If I did I wouldn’t be here posting this, I’d be at the UN. But the left needs to recognise this. Trump voters were not motivated by the economy, and throwing women and minorities under the bus would be an awful thing to do, even if it did work. And the Sanders supporters who do support women and POC need to recognise and deal with the fact that they have legitimate concerns and reservations about their candidate and movement.