'I've been silent': Harvard's Clinton backers face life on a pro-Bernie campus


#1

Source: theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/08/harvard-students-hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-2016-election

’I’ve been silent’: Harvard’s Clinton backers face life on a pro-Bernie campus

As students across the country voice support for Sanders, Hillary Clinton backers say they contend with anger and accusations: ‘You’re evil’

Walk around any college campus and Bernie Sanders’ popularity is immediately apparent. Depending on the climate, you’re likely to see Bernie T-shirts or Bernie sweaters or Bernie hats or Bernie scarves.

You’re less likely to encounter Hillary Clinton memorabilia. In a setting where students are meant to be rebelling against the status quo, to be wearing berets and hanging Che Guevara posters on their walls, supporting Clinton just isn’t cool.

It turns out this is even true at Harvard University – hardly known for revolutionary politics.

In April, Sam Koppelman, a 20-year-old government student at Harvard, wrote a letter to the New York Times lamenting that his support for Clinton meant that on campus he “might as well be Pat Buchanan”.

“At Harvard, admitting that #ImWithHer is nearly tantamount to boasting ‘Make America Great Again’,” Koppelman wrote.

The letter was a coming out of sorts for Koppelman, who told the Guardian that despite having written frequently about politics for his student newspaper until 2012, he stopped this year for fear that it would “cast me as an outsider, cast me as someone who’s more conservative”.

“The 2016 election I’ve been entirely silent, save for a few snarky tweets. And I think that’s definitely emblematic that I’m trying to avoid these conversations,” he said. He made a conscious decision – until last month – to not write about his support for Clinton.

“If you’re a Hillary supporter, you’re kind of in this happy medium. Or really an unhappy medium,” Koppelman said, “where, by voicing support for Hillary Clinton, you’re at once alienating college Republicans – who still view her basically as the antichrist – and you’re alienating Bernie supporters who view her as this remnant of a time when Washington was extremely corrupt.”

Koppelman, who grew up in New York City, has spent his time at Harvard engaging in leftwing activism. He is involved in the Black Lives Matter movement and started a group called “Harvard can’t breathe”, after Eric Garner died while being arrested in Staten Island, New York City. Garner’s death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, but a grand jury decided not to indict the officer who arrested him.

Koppelman is still involved with those groups but said he had been conscious not to announce his support for Clinton to his fellow activists.

“If you’re engaged in activism and you’re a part of the campus left, and then you choose to support Clinton’s campaign … that’s almost a traitorous act,” Koppelman said.

Not all Harvard’s students are as reluctant to admit their support for Clinton. As a member of the Harvard for Hillary group, Janet Ho canvassed for Clinton during the Massachusetts primary. Ho, a 19-year-old freshman, is an open advocate for the former secretary of state, but admitted that being a Clinton supporter can be difficult.

“Do I feel more challenged by Bernie supporters? Yeah. Do I feel more challenged in general? Yes, I do,” she said. Ho said she felt she had to “justify” her backing for Clinton to Sanders fans.

“They see the Hillary supporter as someone who doesn’t really want as much equality as they do.“Like: ‘What do you mean why don’t you want free tuition for everyone? It’s not fair. Why don’t you want equal pay for everyone? Why don’t you want to tax the rich? What’s wrong with you?’ Like: you’re evil.”

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#2

Yet another wild card in a tumultuous campaign.

It could be argued, however, that Hillary is directly responsible for the hostility shown to her supporters by the message she is sending and the climate of corruption she has created…


#3

What might they do to a Trump supporter?!

I’m a Bernie supporter myself but a little older and wiser.


#4

In April, Sam Koppelman, a 20-year-old government student at Harvard, wrote a letter to the New York Times lamenting that his support for Clinton meant that on campus he “might as well be Pat Buchanan”.

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

I sneezed coffee on my monitor when I read that one.


#5

Very, very, interesting. At the community college I go to most people seem to say they are fans of Hillary. There are also some fans of Trump, but I have yet to meet a Bernie fan. I have, however, seen some Bernie bumper stickers and I think I overheard someone who supported Bernie in a hallway. :shrug:


#6

It may well be very difficult for many people to see anyone who would even conceive of supporting HRC as having a faulty moral compass.


#7

My sister is a professor on a state university campus, and she tells me the level of Bernie support is very high, and that the pressure to support Bernie among the student body is insane. (Much of the faculty is pro-Hillary, but they’ve learned to keep their mouths shut around pro-Bernie professors and most students.) Supporting Hillary is like announcing a preference for Lenin among rapid Trotskyites.

My daughter tells me at her public middle school there’s also a lot of Hillary-shaming going on by Bernie supporting students (none of whom can even vote, of course.) Others are supporting Kanye West as a write-in (I kid you not. If they were a little younger, they would probably be backing Big Bird.) (Who probably has a better chance to secure the nomination than Bernie, to be honest.)

Some of the students in my son’s scout troop who attend a Jesuit-run prep school tell me the level of Bernie support from both faculty and students is over the top. One of the boys is a closet conservative and Trump supporter who says he would never dare tell anyone that in his school. He doesn’t know anyone who supports Hillary, everyone is a hardcore Bernie Bro. A Hillary supporter who was a professor got repeatedly shouted down by his students when he tried to discuss the elections and his preference.


#8

At my public high school (I’m assuming we’re in the same state, and if I’m correct about what that Jesuit school is, then you and I should be around the same area), the Bernie support is super high too. I have a friend who supported Rubio before he dropped out, and she had a Rubio bumper sticker on her car. When she came back at the end of the school day to drive home, she discovered that someone actually scraped off the Rubio bumper sticker!

I think a lot of my high school colleagues are about to experience their first major political heartbreak. The Bern’s gonna stop Berning soon. I’d like to gloat about that, except: 1) That’s an uncharitable thing to do and 2) Trump’s the presumptive nominee of my party. I’ve had a good amount of political heartbreaks in my teenage years. Santorum lost in 2012, than Romney lost in 2012, and just when the GOP supposedly had a strong field of candidates, Trump came in and dominated. Oh well, at least Ducey won our state in 2014.


#9

At I expect college sophomores to be sophomoric.


#10

The level of political anger out there is so high that I think people are much less likely to put on a bumper sticker for any candidate - the risks of getting your car keyed are pretty high, I see a lot fewer bumper stickers out there than I used to.

My prediction is that Bernie will continue to fight up to the Democratic convention, in the hopes that a) Superdelegates will switch and b) the FBI presents a case for indictment to the DOJ. Beyond that, it depends on whether Hillary agrees to adopt part of his party platform (which will hurt her with the moderates among the electorate) for an agreement to back her, or if he decides to send the temple walls crashing down and run as an Independent. It’s likely that his fans will riot at the Democratic convention if there is any resolution except Bernie getting the nomination.


#11

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