Bernie supporters in July 2016, at the height of conspiracy theories about the DNC. If you still believe those conspiracy theories, you have some reading to do.
Bernie supporters in July 2016, at the height of conspiracy theories about the DNC. If you still believe those conspiracy theories, you have some reading to do. Gregory Reed/Shutterstock

One of the surprising turns in the election was Newsweek as a source of serious, important journalism, and when I say "serious, important journalism" I'm thinking entirely of the reporting done by Kurt Eichenwald. See his pieces on Trump's ties to Putin, Trump's bogus doctor's letter, Trump's history of lying, Trump's history of business failures, and more.

In a piece published yesterday, "The Myths Democrats Swallowed that Cost Them the Presidential Election," Eichenwald takes a long, hard look at the left. It's brutal. As we all know, no one does infighting like the left. But have you taken into account just how much fake news and outrage damaged the left in this election?

Included in his analysis: the Bernie-fan conspiracy theories about the DNC that were just flat wrong (and contributed to a sense of "corruption" surrounding Clinton), how the number of one-on-one debates Clinton was forced to have with Sanders (several more than ever before in history) contributed to Trump's win, and what Jill Stein and Gary Johnson voters contributed to Trump's win.

The essay begins, amazingly, with this sentence:

On Friday, I almost assaulted a fan of my work.

I'm not going to give everything away, but let's just say the fan in question was a Stein voter. An arrogant, patronizing Stein voter. I've come to know the type because they've been sending tedious, self-important letters to the editor almost every day since this.

But it's not just Stein supporters. Sanders supporters, in particular, have some reading to do. Especially if you lay blame at the DNC's feet. Among other things, Eichenwald reveals how "Sanders supporters were tricked into believing a false narrative" created by Russian propagandists. He also tackles the canard that Sanders would have won against Trump—remember those polls? remember when anyone believed polls?—by revealing what he found when he looked into a Republican opposition playbook on Sanders. Spoiler alert: Worse than email servers.

Here are a few tastes of what was in store for Sanders, straight out of the Republican playbook: He thinks rape is A-OK. In 1972, when he was 31, Sanders wrote a fictitious essay in which he described a woman enjoying being raped by three men. Yes, there is an explanation for it—a long, complicated one, just like the one that would make clear why the Clinton emails story was nonsense. And we all know how well that worked out.

Then there’s the fact that Sanders was on unemployment until his mid-30s, and that he stole electricity from a neighbor after failing to pay his bills, and that he co-sponsored a bill to ship Vermont’s nuclear waste to a poor Hispanic community in Texas, where it could be dumped. You can just see the words “environmental racist” on Republican billboards. And if you can’t, I already did. They were in the Republican opposition research book as a proposal on how to frame the nuclear waste issue.

There are two more paragraphs, beyond those above, on what Eichenwald saw in the opposition playbook on Sanders, but I'm not going to quote his whole article: just go read it. And maybe subscribe to Newsweek while you're at it?

I'll leave you with one more bit of Eichenwald's piece:

Trump won slightly fewer votes than Romney did in 2012—60.5 million compared with 60.9 million. On the other hand, almost 5 million Obama voters either stayed home or cast their votes for someone else.

And what about millennials? How did millennials vote?

More than twice as many millennials—a group heavily invested in the “Sanders was cheated out of the nomination” fantasy—voted third-party. The laughably unqualified Jill Stein of the Green Party got 1.3 million votes; those voters almost certainly opposed Trump; if just the Stein voters in Michigan had cast their ballot for Clinton, she probably would have won the state. And there is no telling how many disaffected Sanders voters cast their ballot for Trump.

If you need me, I'll be at my desk deleting emails from Stein voters outraged that I included the phrase "laughably unqualified Jill Stein" in this Slog post. Don't I care about the environment? Don't I care about women? Don't I care about our democracy?