If I was voting based purely on personality, I don’t know if I would have supported Sanders from the beginning. He seems like a genuinely nice guy, but his personality doesn’t strike me.
Out of the few front runners left in the race, I would support him now, purely based on personality. He seems to have the most endearing personality, and most people left seems like a complete ghoul.
But purely in terms of personality, I’d probably support Marianne Williamson the most. She seems fun! (She also probably fulfills the ‘cult’ aspect the most too buh dumm tss)
I would probably support Tulsi Gabbard or Kirsten Gillibrand a lot more too, because I want a hot president.
All of that is besides the point though. I don’t even think about personality much when it comes to my political calculus.
I think very few people support Sanders for any “cult of personality” reasons. They support him because his policy set and general political-economic worldview is the furthest left.
So where does the cult of personality accusation come from? I think it comes from the fact that most democrats support a candidate based on personality and so they float from candidate to candidate whose personality is currently tickling them the most.
The fact that Bernie Sanders supporters are firm in their support and don’t change their support on a whim makes democrats think it’s a cult, but really, it’s just mass support of a worldview that only one candidate comes near.
The “cult of personality” accusation is pure projection from democrats who actually do support people based on personality.
They can’t fathom people being indignantly and emphatically in favor of one candidate, because their political desires are based on whims, PR influence, and
They have new favorites every few months.
I also think a big part of it is anything resembling the left in the United States is obsessed with being an underdog. They’re in a perpetual state of “Resistance”. They always want to play defense, not offense. And yet, the gains that the left has made in the US are relatively insubstantial.
The most substantial gains, like abolishing slavery and universal suffrage, always came with prolonged resistance, with the elite kicking and screaming, happening later than countries of similar development.
But this isn’t unique. Virtually every smear against Bernie Sanders, that isn’t based on his actually policies – which is actually very little of the criticism of him – is pure projection.
The “Sanders isn’t a democrat” line is so obtuse that I’m surprised it stuck. Especially considering a lot of the people saying that’s faves used to be Republicans, like Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg.
When they criticize Sanders for not being a democrat, they’re really saying that he’s been, for most of his political career, on the fringes of mainstream political discourse. These democrats would rather have a pseudo-republican like Bloomberg than someone to the left of the democrats.
They would rather have a player in their oligarchic soap opera as president rather than the most nominal outsider. This is why they describe Sanders so much as “Trump-like”, even though Biden, Bloomberg, and Buttigeig are all more Trumpy than Sanders, in about every way. Their political matrix is purely on “more mainstream = more liberal”. They would rather work with Paul Ryan and people like him than someone with negligible left-wing credibility.
The mainstream political press depends on evoking the bullshit horseshoe theory. The smart pundits don’t evoke it directly, because they know it discredits and overexposes their whole strategy.
But what unifies the left and right in the horseshoe isn’t actual political beliefs. The only similarities is based in how people socialize, relate, interact, disseminate information etc. The far-left and far-right necessarily share some elements in this way. But that’s just because they both want more power in our system, although, the far-right has much more power than the far-left – but they perceive themselves as being aggrieved and oppressed.
Since the mainstream political apparatus is threatened by people looking to alternatives, they perceive the far-left and far-right as the same, because they only care about looking for alternatives, not what they actually believe.
In reality, the centrists will be the ones who enable the far-right, by smearing the far-left as being similar to the far-right. In reality, centrists will always side with the far-right, because capitalism lapses into fascism much more easily than it lapses into socialism. They will smear the shit out of a mere social democrat to prove it.