Peace among the Hillary-bots and Bernie-bros: This Thanksgiving, it's not your right-wing Trump-loving uncle you have to worry about...

Forget right-wing relatives. The real Thanksgiving fight to avoid this year is the Sanders vs. Clinton battle

By Amanda Marcotte

Senior Writer

Published November 26, 2015 10:59AM (EST)

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton   (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson/Brian Snyder/Photo montage by Salon)
Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson/Brian Snyder/Photo montage by Salon)

It's Thanksgiving, which means turkey, being deluged with department store sales pitches, and service articles for liberals on how to get along with your right-wing relatives.

Those who are privileged enough to sit at a table full of fellow liberals, either because they celebrate with friends or because they are lucky to be spared the drunk Trump-loving uncle, don't usually need such articles anyway.

That is, until this year. This year, liberals who dine with like-minded people might find that things are just as tense as if they had someone ranting about how the Syrian refugees are all terrorists over pumpkin pie. This year is marked by a fraught primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. It's likely going to be even harder to avoid conflict between Team Clinton and Team Sanders than it is to avoid fighting with your right-wing relatives. After all, liberals and conservatives have practice agreeing to talk about football instead, but with your liberal peeps, talking about politics is a habit that will be hard to break.

With that in mind, here are some dos and don'ts to keep your Thanksgiving dinner sane and you friendships lasting after the primary.

For Sanders supporters

Do acknowledge that while Clinton is more centrist than Sanders, she is still quite clearly a liberal and falls to the left of both her husband and Barack Obama.

Don't accuse Clinton supporters of only supporting her because she has a vagina. That just suggests that's the only reason you're voting against her.

Do accept that Clinton's plan for reining in the big banks is thoughtful and more detailed than Sanders's plan, even if you think it does not go far enough.

Don't pretend that Clinton would have invaded Iraq just as surely as George W. Bush did, just because she voted for the war authorization. No one buys that, not for a minute.

Do acknowledge that whoever wins will be facing a Republican-dominated legislature that will make sweeping change nearly impossible for any Democrat sitting in the White House.

Don't assume that people are unaware of what the term "democratic socialism" means and that they need lengthy lectures to rectify this assumed ignorance.

Do acknowledge that Wall Street donors are actually throwing their weight behind Republicans far more than Clinton this election season, even though they supported Obama over John McCain in 2008.

Don't swear that if Clinton wins the nomination over Sanders, you refuse to vote for her in the general election. That just confirms that you're less interested in economic justice than fluffing your own ego or that you panic at the thought of women in power.

For Clinton supporters

Do praise Sanders for holding Clinton's feet to the fire and making sure she keeps her focus on pleasing liberals rather than trying to win over imaginary swing voters.

Don't try to argue that Sanders is unelectable. Factors like voter turnout and the state of the economy will likely have more impact on the election than words like "socialism."

Do agree with Sanders that income inequality and the disappearing middle class are the biggest problems facing our country, and that far more needs to be done to address them.

Don't dismiss Sanders as a lightweight. His tendency toward sweeping rhetoric is a sign that he's a smart politician, not that he's careless or wouldn't know how to hire the right advisors and policy analysts.

Do acknowledge that Sanders is a feminist candidate who supports every line item on the feminist agenda and that his ideas about labor and economic justice are critical to helping secure women's equality.

Don't accuse Sanders supporters of being sexist. Most aren't, and those who are tend to prove it quickly enough without any prompting from you.

Do admit that Clinton is cozy with Wall Street and that her horrid 9/11 comments during the debate reached Republican levels of pandering.

Don't gloat about the fact that Clinton is almost surely going to win this. After all, both candidates are great and no one likes a sore winner.

For both camps

Do reserve the majority of political talk to the appetizer portion of the meal and cut it off before anyone has had too much wine. It's a holiday, people. Talk about Netflix and the amazingness of the Golden State Warriors. Gossip about your friends. Surely there's something in your life you share besides politics.

Don't get angry. In a few months, this will all likely be over. By next year at this time, it will all be forgotten.

Do remember to talk about how much you have in common -- on economics, on foreign policy, on social issues like abortion rights and gay marriage.

Don't forget that the most important thing is keeping a Republican out of office. One thing is for certain: This country cannot survive a debacle like the George W. Bush presidency.

By Amanda Marcotte

Amanda Marcotte is a senior politics writer at Salon and the author of "Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself." Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMarcotte and sign up for her biweekly politics newsletter, Standing Room Only.

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