Dear Cynthia Dill,

My name is James Ayotte. I’m a resident of Auburn and I am a lifelong Democrat. I’m writing to you in response to your recent article ‘Cynthia Dill: Democrats need to cull the fringe – starting with Bernie Bros‘.

You cite Trump and Hillary’s voting results with women nationally compared to white women. If one takes even a brief moment to evaluate the election, it’s obvious that race was the critical factor in the election, far superior to gender.

You use the derogatory term “Bernie Bros.” It’s extremely disheartening seeing fellow Democrats use a term coined by David Brock, a former conservative propagandist and a paid attack dog for Hillary to de-legitimize an entire sector of the Democratic base. By using the term Bernie Bros, you have mistakenly bought into the narrative that the most liberal generation in existence, supporting the most liberal Senator in the US, fighting for the most liberal treatment of women is somehow sexist. You have accepted the laughable notion that the only reason that a Democrat can dislike Hillary is because they are sexist.

“…one response has been to throw on a flannel shirt and some Carhartts – as if trading in a hybrid for a pickup truck will win future elections”

No one is advocating for this superficial method to win future elections. In order to show the working class that the Democratic Party is still on their side, as we used to be, we must listen to their needs and challenges on a much deeper, sincere level. We have to stop looking at these people as votes and get back to valuing them as Americans. If we do so, the votes will follow.

“Imagine if all the women who marched on Washington decide to march into the polls next November.” 

Do you have data to show that the women who marched on Washington and all across the country didn’t vote during the General? It’s naive to believe that people passionate enough to march in the cold for hours didn’t make the effort to go vote during the General. A key factor you conveniently left out is that there were lots of men who joined the Women’s March. Presumably, many of these were been Bernie supporters.

“The Bros hated Clinton and her supporters with such ferocity that it became impossible for the party to put its hate back in the bottle after she won the primary.”

Regardless of your false narrative, the vast majority of Bernie supporters voted for Hillary. Anecdotally, every single “Bernie Bro”supporter I met or talked to during the primaries ended up voting for her, citing the danger of Trump. Nationally, some didn’t vote for her, but that is to be expected for every single General after every primary. The party was much more divided in 2008 and up to 50% of her supporters claimed they wouldn’t support Obama in the General. Have you forgotten this contentious moment in the party’s history?

To name just a few legitimate reasons, voters were put off by her ties to Wall Street, support of the TPP, and direct link to Bill Clinton’s administration. The very administration responsible for passing NAFTA, welfare reform, and repealing Glass-Steagall. These are all issues Trump campaigned on. Hillary had no defense against these attacks. The simple reality to accept is that she was a deeply flawed candidate, and almost anyone other than her (including any other woman Democrat) would have beaten Trump convincingly. Ignoring an honest assessment of Hillary’s strengths and weaknesses is something the party will do at its own peril.

“Public expression of irrational hatred of Clinton or any Democratic woman running for office or in office is not a trait that should be tolerated by the Democratic Party or anyone seeking the privilege to lead it.” 

Why are you stopping at “Democratic woman”? We should be focusing on equality and treatment of all women, regardless of the letter next to their name. Our country’s equality for all needs to exceed our own party limits.

“Democrats under the new leadership of their party must cull out the fringe instead of weaving it in if we want the fabric to change.”

Bernie’s passionate and enthusiastic youth movement is perhaps the most liberal and the most Democratic the party has seen, and people want these policies implemented. All Democrats looking to get politically involved, including young Bernie supporters need to be welcomed with open arms, not ostracized or “culled”.

Immediately after winning the DNC Chair, Tom Perez made Keith Ellison his Deputy Chair. This is a symbolic gesture of unity between the rift of the Clinton and Bernie Democrats. This is an example of the winning formula for strengthening the party and succeeding at the voting booth: Unity and accountability, not division and blame.

Thank you,

James Ayotte

All opinions are my own and not representative of anyone other than me. -James




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