As Donald Trump’s campaign continues to be a dumpster fire (or, should I say, Trumpster Fire), one would think that Hillary Clinton would be complacent. After all, with large swaths of moderates starting to break for Hillary, Trump’s epic racism fails driving up Democratic turnout, and the Clintons’ mastery of Snapchat, one would think Hillary wouldn’t need to pull out too many tricks to coast her way to the White House.
Alas, one would be wrong.
This Tuesday, Hillary committed a radical act of political jiu jitsu, hitting Trump on his biggest strength and compounding his troubles. I am speaking, of course, of her endorsement from Bernie Sanders.
After winning the grueling mudsling-a-thon that was the Democratic primaries, Hillary had every right to tell Bernie and his angry misogynist followers (the Bernie Bros) to buzz off. She had suffered countless ugly, gendered attacks from Bernie, from a demeaning “go back to the kitchen” finger-wag on the debate stage to threats of having her intimate paid speeches to Goldman Sachs doxxed. (And that’s to say nothing of the Bernie Bros, the entitled virgin white males who spent the past year sadistically cyberbullying every woman, person of color, and respected insider journalist they could get their pale basement-dwelling hands on.) All because of a dead-end campaign that was obviously over by the time the first Iowa caucuses results rolled in.
So why would Hillary, a respectable candidate (albeit one who is constantly breaking the law and definitely about to be indicted), want Bernie and his army of white male misogynists on her side?
Simple: to steal Trump’s white male misogynist supporters.
For this reason, the Sanders endorsement is a Game Changer. Previously, conventional wisdom held that Trump had a lock on the racist vote. His campaign’s vulgar frog memes, questionable race-IQ tables, and frightening Joker avatars made disappointed Sanders voters switch their allegiance to Trump. Both candidates draw from the same pool of 4Chan-savvy malcontent “incels” (involuntary celibates, for those who have not done the requisite research) who see Hillary as their mom who is hiding the PS4 until they stop urinating in Coke Zero bottles so as to not interrupt video gaming sessions.
But the applecart has been turned over on the bandwagon, and it’s crossing straight through the rubicon.
I don’t know what Hillary offered or threatened to get Bernie’s endorsement. Maybe she’ll dedicate some campaign resources to harassing women online — a key issue for Sanders, personally. Perhaps she cracked her knuckles in mafia don-like fashion and said “It would be a shame if there was….a Vermont Project.”
Whatever the combination of political murder and concessions, it was worth it.
With the majority of Sanders voters mindlessly following their demigod’s recommendation to “Vote for that ah, uh, female,” Donald Trump’s left flank has effectively been pulverized. Sure, there will be some holdouts, the fanatical “lone Japanese soldier” Bernie Bros who will ignore their leader’s command and continue their insurgency to make the internet an unsafe place for women. These hardcore misogynists will vote for Jill Stein, the likely Green Party candidate. But most of the rest will be content to join hands with the Hillary Men and turn their fire on the Trumpkins.
You’ll see this newfound camaraderie play out on Twitter in the coming weeks. Perhaps a paid Correct The Record volunteer will be pinned down by a heavy barrage of anti-Semitic memes from someone whose avatar is a Make America Great Again hat photoshopped on an anime girl; you’ll see the Record-Corrector’s perfectly logical retorts of “Hmm, care to provide evidence for the assertion that Hillary is a Rothschild? #LogicFail” having little effect against the onslaught of vile frog pictures.
But just as the Hillary supporter is on the verge of deleting their account (and penning a 5,000-word Medium post to explain why) into their mentions will slide a Bernie Bro — not as an adversary, but as an ally. The Bernie Bro will deploy a devastating fusillade of cruel personal attacks — attacks like “Fill my hole,” “I’m going to build a time machine to 1453 and launch your round son Colby from an Ottoman cannon through the walls of Constantinople,” and “Aren’t you that stupid journalist whose body odor Gawker wrote a series on? Hey, what’s with you and feet?” — and the surprise pincer movement will send the Trump supporter into a shambling retreat.
There may be some tension at the start. More dedicated Hillary voters won’t be happy to see their volunteer groups swell with acne-scarred gamers in “Bacon Like A Bawse” t-shirts, swilling Bawls energy drink as they obnoxiously attempt to use PUA-style techniques on volunteers. But the high-class Hillary Women will grow to tolerate the Bernie Bros like they would, say, a friendzoned Redditor who offers to fix their printer for nothing in return.
And should this pact hold, Trump will have a hard time overcoming the coalition of Bernie Bro harassers and $2 billion in dark money contributions that Clinton will have at her disposal in November.
Carl “The Dig” Diggler has covered national politics for 30 years and is the host of the Digcast, a weekly podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud. Got a question for the Dig? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet to @carl_diggler.