Someone has decided that it’s now Bernie Sanders’s turn to catch some #metoo heat.
A story in the New York Times alleges that women who had worked on Sanders’s presidential campaign were systematically mistreated and their complaints were ignored.
According to the Times, a female strategist named Giulianna Di Lauro was harassed by a campaign surrogate. When Di Lauro complained to a male manager, he said, “I bet you would have liked it if he were younger” and laughed. Another woman claims to have been “marginalized” by her supervisor after she turned down an invitation to his hotel room. Several additional women allege that a male campaign manager acted as if females were “like his personal assistants fetching things for him and doing his errands.” The story also alleges that females on the campaign were paid significantly less than the males.
The Times suggests that all this has now cast doubt on Sanders’s feminist credentials and left many former supporters questioning their enthusiasm for him.
It goes without saying that any mistreatment of women during is horrible. But it should go without saying that none of what’s being alleged here means that Sanders is insensitive to sexual harassment. It’s highly doubtful that a handful of spurned advances or demeaning exchanges even came to his attention. These stories might prove that Sanders is an incompetent executive. But you should have been tipped off to that by the fact that he’s a ranting socialist full of impossible plans to give everyone a buffet of free services.
The truly interesting aspect of this story is in the campaign’s response. Jeff Weaver, who was Sanders’s campaign manager and is now a top adviser sent out an email to address the issue. In it, he said of the campaign: “Was it too male? Yes. Was it too white? Yes.” He went on: “Would this be a priority to remedy on any future campaign? Definitely, and we share deeply in the urgency for all of us to make change.”
Too white? Now that’s something. Why? Because the campaign surrogate who allegedly harassed Di Lauro was “a Mexican game show host named Marco Antonio Regil.” The superior who allegedly mocked her complaints was “Bill Velazquez, a manager on the Latino outreach team.” And the male campaign official who treated women like servants was “Arturo Carmona, another manager on the Latino outreach team and deputy national political director.”
And yet, the problem, according to Weaver, is clearly white male privilege. And it will be rectified.
Identitarian bigotry is evil not only because it’s unjust. It makes people stupid and incompetent. If you can just blame the white guys (or the black guys or the Muslims or whomever), you never have to deal with your own shortcomings. Weaver’s response should give Sanders’s supporters second thoughts about their man. But it’s probably exactly what they wanted to hear.