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Will ‘BernieBros’ cause a 1968-like disruption for Democrats?

Within the fortnight the narrative has changed from Trump inducing chaos in Republican ranks to Sanders’ supporters causing unrest among Democrats.

us presidential election Updated: May 23, 2016 19:46 IST
BernieBros,bernie sanders,hillary clinton
A Democratic Senator has warned that this may be 1968 all over again, when anti-war protestors turned the perimeter of the Chicago venue of the party’s convention into a near war zone.(Reuters)

There was once a band called Steely Dan. Bernie Sanders’ millennial supporters may be unaware of it since they were way over their age bracket. But Steely Dan made music mellower than a marshmallow.

Steely Dan occurred to me as reports of the recent Nevada convention of the Democratic Party filtered through. Among the highlights (or low, given how it went down), was a Hillary Clinton backer, California Senator Barbara Boxer facing a fusillade of projectiles, including dildos, from miffed Sanderskinder. Media attributed this to the BernieBros, the moniker given to the Vermont Senator’s young male legions.

Two questions occurred to me, and woefully, neither will ever be answered: 1) What sort of person carries a dildo to a political convention? 2) Whatever happened to them? (the dildos, I mean).

Steely Dan, for those immune to rock trivia, was named after a steam-powered dildo in author William Burroughs’ counterculture classic, Naked Lunch. Maybe Bernie’s kids were reminded of these lyrics: See the glory/Of the royal scam.

Most of us have become used to drama being staged by Donald Trump and his followers. But within a fortnight, that scene has shifted. It’s now the Democrats that are beset with more chaos than the latest Marvel supermovie. Even The Donald’s acolytes never tossed sex toys at opponents, though, given their demographic, throwing beer cans might be more likely.

Two weeks earlier, the punditry was still predicting violence and viciousness at the Republican convention in Cleveland. Instead, those stakes have been moved to Philadelphia, where the Democrats will have their do. Instead of Texas Senator Ted Cruz trying to derail the Trump train, we have Sanders raining on Hillary Clinton’s parade. We had the commentariat unloading historical details about previous contested conventions of the GOP. Now, you have a Democratic Senator warning that this may be 1968 all over again, when anti-war protestors turned the perimeter of the Chicago venue into a near war zone.

This is a pretty good reason to stop with the predictions this election season – it’s as unscripted as Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha.

Something tells me there will be plenty more of this to watch before we return to our regularly scheduled programming. Till then, this is the world of alternate reality TV. Perhaps, rather than dildos, Sanders’ supporters ought to be carrying chill pills. Or at least listen to some Steely Dan – I’d suggest starting with their excellent debut album, Can’t Buy A Thrill.

First Published: May 23, 2016 15:28 IST