Sanders supporters have a long history of engaging in hostile and sometimes hostile conversations with other Bernie Sanders fans.
“I will vote for Hillary Clinton,” said a woman in a car who had recently joined the movement.
Another woman told me: “Bernie’s a good man, but he can’t lead.
He doesn’t want to.
I’m tired of his BS.
He’s a liar, a con man and an old-fashioned socialist.
He just wants to divide us up.”
I was shocked by the intensity of these negative comments.
They seemed to have no regard for how good the candidate is or even the seriousness of his intentions.
In fact, they seemed to be aiming at my own political views.
I felt as if I was going to have to defend myself against a barrage of personal attacks.
I was not the only one who had experienced this.
Many Bernie Sanders admirers have been harassed online for years.
But they also feel threatened and uncomfortable by their own political opinions.
I felt vulnerable.
Some of the worst reactions were directed towards me, my friends and family members.
I was not just singled out, but I was treated as a threat, said my friend and fellow Sanders supporter, David Rocha.
“I’m going to come after you because you are my friends, not because I am going to support you.”
I was targeted by a swarm of messages on Facebook that made me feel as though I was “saying something that could get you killed”.
My Facebook account was targeted too.
“You are just a spoiled little baby who has a problem with being told what to do,” one of them read.
I have no problem with my friends being entitled to their opinions, but you are wrong about one thing: Bernie Sanders is not the leader of the Democratic Party and you have no business telling anyone how to vote.
When I asked for help, the Facebook account owner threatened to delete my account and delete my family and friends.
This was not an isolated incident.
I received threats, death threats and even death threats online.
The harassment and violence continued even after I left the Bernie Sanders movement.
I saw threats made to my parents’ and friends’ safety.
A few days later, I received an anonymous phone call threatening to kill my wife and daughter if I didn’t delete the Sanders platform page.
My friend, Jill Stein, was threatened with rape.
I even had the account hacked and her emails leaked.
I thought I was safe but I soon discovered the extent of the harassment and threats.
In addition to being targeted, I was called a “bitch”, a “liar” and a “traitor”.
In many ways, my experiences with these threats have taught me the hard way that if you don’t agree with the positions of the Sanders campaign, then you must defend your political views and beliefs.
But the most disturbing reaction I have received came on Sunday.
“I am going home tonight,” a man on a bicycle said.
“Bernie is a socialist, but the left is a cancer on the country.”
The message was clear: Bernie’s campaign is bad.
I would rather die than vote for it.