'Uncompromising' and an 'a--hole': Not everyone loves Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has made headlines for getting sassy with the media, but it turns out journalists don't need to take it personally: He's that way with everyone. Even while "Sanderistas" sing his praises, buoying him ahead of Clinton in some polls, some of those closer to Sanders have less generous things to say about the way he behaves.

"Bernie's an a--hole, but he's our a--hole," one unnamed Vermont politician explained to Boston Magazine. Sanders' campaign field director put it more gently: "Bernie is a very demanding guy. He has very high expectations, and he expects people to meet them."

Chris Graff, a journalist who has covered Sanders for the past two and a half decades, expressed similar sentiments. "Bernie has no social skills, no sense of humor, and he's quick to boil over," he said. "He's the most unpolitical person in politics I've ever come across." Likewise, following Bernie's threats to walk off the stage when Black Lives Matter protesters interrupted him in Phoenix, Vermont's Seven Days newspaper described the move as "exasperating and classic Bernie... Man of the people treating the people like tiresome children, telling them what the issue is, instead of listening to what their issue, our issue, America's issue is right now."

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"Bernie is so certain that what he represents politically is unquestionably correct, therefore everyone should agree," Susan Boardman Russ, the former chief of staff for Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords, told Boston Magazine. "Not much room for compromise... it was, 'Play in my sandbox, or get out.'"

But however the senator might behave, fans haven't stopped flocking to Sanders in droves. In current combined national polls collected by the Huffington Post, Sanders sits at 27.5 percent. Though that's behind Clinton's 42.7 percent, it's leagues ahead of any other Democrat who's actually running.

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Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at TheWeek.com. She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.