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CSUSB professor interviewed about Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and its supporters
The Christian Science Monitor
Feb. 24, 2020
Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, was interviewed for an article that focused on the followers of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The supporters who have propelled Sanders to the front of the Democratic field range from septuagenarian social justice warriors to millennials saddled with student debt. But they share this: The iconoclastic senator from Vermont has awakened in them a sense of empowerment, at a time when liberals have been feeling particularly demoralized. Many put it in Kennedyesque terms, saying it isn’t just about what he can do for them – it’s about what they can do for their democracy.
At the same time, there’s a darker side to some of this enthusiasm. Some Sanders devotees have sparked concern within the Democratic tent for vitriolic and even menacing rhetoric toward political opponents, raising questions about the extent to which Mr. Sanders should be held accountable for all his supporters’ behavior.
While the senator has repeatedly condemned any harassment or violence in his name, his campaign – like the Trump campaign in 2016 – faces a particular challenge as it’s bringing in people who feel disenfranchised and tend to distrust the system, says Levin.
“His campaign is in a unique position to inspire people who would not otherwise be involved in politics,” says Professor Levin. And although that’s clearly a positive thing, some of his supporters also tend to operate from an anti-institutional framework – and may be willing to go to extreme lengths to achieve their goals. “We have to beware of the ‘any means necessary’ people,” he says.
Read the complete article at “Behind Bernie Sanders, a passionate grassroots army – with a sting.”