I’ve been under the impression for some time that Sanders supporters produce more negative material about Hillary…

I’ve been under the impression for some time that Sanders supporters produce more negative material about Hillary Clinton than vice versa.  In an attempt to quantify this, I looked at the first 100 posts in the  Bernie Sanders for President 2016 community and the first 100 posts in the Hillary Clinton for President 2016 community, and counted the negative posts about the competitor.

The Sanders group had 13 posts that cast Clinton in a definite negative light; the Clinton group had 4 posts that cast Sanders in a negative light.  In general, the Clinton group seldom mentioned Sanders, and mostly posts positive messages about their candidate — new endorsements and so on.  The Sanders group, in contrast, had, in addition to negative posts about Clinton,  negative posts about the “establishment”, the “mainstream press”, and “political conspiracies against Sanders”.  Posts mentioning Clinton, in general, are much more common in the Sanders group than posts mentioning Sanders in the Clinton group.

There is nothing scientific about this — the posts in both groups change frequently, and I was just using my own interpretation of what was negative.  The relative mentions of the competing candidate are pretty objective, though.  

10 Replies to “I’ve been under the impression for some time that Sanders supporters produce more negative material about Hillary…”

  1. The attitudes of a few supporters of both candidates are a big turn-off, especially when they are turned on undecided progressives such as myself.

    In my limited experience, I have found the worst attitudes from a few specific Hillary supporters, because I have the audacity to raise issues or concerns with their candidate of choice…. to the point of being called a liar, an idiot, a troll, or a conservative shill.

  2. I plan on voting in the primary as well as in November, just like I exercised my right to vote in previous years’ elections. I have no interest in fighting online with people I will never meet in person.

  3. I support Sanders myself, but I will also support Hillary as the nominee. I think some of these so-called Sanders supporters are actually agents on the right bashing Hillary from any angle they can. That may not account for most of it, but I think it accounts for some. 

  4. Phillip Zachary Complaints specifically about the corporate media conspiracy to deny coverage of Sanders are also common, and part of an overall air of defensive combativeness that I perceive as negative, as I hinted in my post.  But I tried to restrict myself to only posts that specifically mentioned Clinton.

  5. Perceptions of negativity are often influenced by who you support. What one person considers a critical observation of policy positions, another considers a negative attack.

    Generally, criticisms of factual behavior are not negative in my (fairly neutral) opinion, unless they make attributions of motives. Making an observation of funding sources and voting behaviors, for instance, is valid, but then making the claim that person’s vote is for sale is drawing a negative conclusion. For those making such a leap, it seems self-evident, but in fact, there are myriad valid reasons to make a vote that have nothing to do with funding.

    Those sorts of ‘negative’ attacks are fairly modest by past standards though. The attacks that I find the most obnoxious, offensive, and divisive are those aimed not at the candidates, but their supporters, and are obviously the most obnoxious when they attribute motives and insult their integrity.

    Ironically, supporters complaining about who is more negative is another sort of subtle negativity, and while only marginally so, is probably the most tedious form of the problem.

  6. Nate McD​ As for insulting integrity, the phenomenon of trolls inciting attacks with an ulterior motive (such as concealed right wing support) is well-documented, so it’s not without merit that this at least be considered. I would agree it’s offensive to assume an ulterior motive on any individual case without proper evidence, but it does happen and should at least be considered.

  7. If one is going to make a claim that a person is a troll or shill, one should include links to the posts or comments that inform that conclusion. If they have made no public posts at all, that is suggestive of a troll or shill, but is not conclusive. If on the other hand, they have ample progressive posting history, even if for a candidate one does not support, accusations of being an agent-provocateur are ill-founded.

    Making baseless accusation is obnoxious, and is often done simply to troll one’s detractors, shifting the argument onto their legitimacy instead of addressing the points they bring up.

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