Feminists aren’t big fans of Bernie Sanders, which they made clear routinely during the Democratic primary, calling his followers “Bernie Bros” and claiming that Sanders himself suffered from “white male privilege” that made his commitment to progressive ideology suspicious.
Now, though, feminists have recruited fellow progressives in a widespread effort to oust the far-left Vermont independent from Democratic ranks. Their beef is Sanders’ refusal to champion purity tests for Democratic candidates, and oust anti-abortion candidates from the party’s ranks.
The issue of whether to demand Democrats be pro-choice has divided liberals this last month, and is threatening to cause a civil war, with the party’s chair, Tom Perez, on one side, and Congressional leadership, like Nancy Pelosi, in another.
Sanders has been conciliatory towards anti-abortion Democrats, saying he’d rather win races than demand ideological purity—and nearly 30% of avowed Democrats say they against abortion as a practice.
That’s not good enough for progressives, who say that “intersectional feminism” demands that Sanders’ goals of economic justice can only be achieved through a plan that also touts reproductive justice. And if Sanders isn’t willing to be an intersectional feminist, well, he’s going to have to go back to Vermont and plan his retirement.
Feminist writer Anna March tore into Sanders in Salon. “Being pro-choice is not an optional part of being a progressive. Full stop. There is no justice for women, there is no economic justice for women, without the right to control their reproductive lives.”
She went on to suggest that Sanders had “abandoned” his base and was “ignor[ing] reality”—the “sexism” she says lead to Hillary Clinton’s ultimate defeat should have made it crystal clear to her Democratic opponent that women’s issues—and feminist identity politics—are now the only issues that are of any consequence to the Democratic Party.
Jill Filipovic, another radical feminist writer, hysterically labeled Sanders a “sellout” and a misogynist, and theorized that Sanders would align with Donald Trump if it meant he could win a working class white vote.
Unfortunately for Sanders, feminists don’t give up, and he’s likely to be dogged by his dastardly support of personal choice on the matter of supporting abortion so long as he dares to consider himself aligned with Democrats.