Are you relatively new to this bustling metropolis? Don't be shy about it, everyone was new to New York once upon a time, except, of course, those battle-hardened residents who've lived here their whole lives and Know It All. One of these lifers works among us at Gothamist—publisher Jake Dobkin grew up in Park Slope and still resides there. He is now fielding questions—ask him anything by sending an email here, but be advised that Dobkin is "not sure you guys will be able to handle my realness." We can keep you anonymous if you prefer; just let us know what neighborhood you live in.

This week's question comes from a New Yorker who is sick of the patronizing attitude directed at him from the so-called "adults in the room" backing Hillary Clinton.

Dear Jake,

I plan on voting for Bernie Sanders in the New York primary and maybe even volunteering for phone banks on his behalf to persuade primary voters in other states. But I keep getting this attitude from people who act like "the adults in the room" and insinuate that I am naive for thinking someone so progressive has a chance. It's just like when I campaigned for Nader in 2000 and all the establishment tools who've given up on making a difference in the world rolled their eyes at me. (And don't even try to blame me for Bush's "victory.")

Anyway, I find all of this very patronizing and refuse to vote for anyone who helped send America into the catastrophe that was Iraq. But can you explain why everyone is so certain Sanders can't win? Isn't the question of "electability" just a theory, and this "he can't win" attitude a self-fulfilling prophecy from otherwise liberal Democrats who'd rather be lazy and jaded than active and hopeful?

Berning Man

A native New Yorker responds:

Dear B.M.,

Most of your friends are just parroting the national media, and isn't it interesting how the national media always concludes that candidates who show any sign of threatening the status quo have absolutely no chance of winning, even when history, time and again, proves them wrong? Like when they said that no one would vote for a community organizer from Chicago with an Arab-sounding name, or how a twice-divorced, loudmouth reality star could never win over the Republican party.

Why do you think that is? The obvious answer is that the national media is owned by billionaires and run by millionaires, who are doing quite nicely under the current system. They enjoy a presidential horse-race only so long as they know that no matter who wins, their interests, particularly in financial affairs, will not be meddled with. This requires that they take a very skeptical attitude towards any insurgent candidates. This becomes more obvious the closer we get to the primaries—expect to see a lot more "Trump has begun to lose steam" and "Bernie thinking about throwing in the towel" stories over the next 12 weeks.

Unfortunately, this does not mean Bernie Sanders can win. He will never, ever win. Not because America is not prepared to elect a socialist, or because Hillary has raised three times more money, or is crushing him in the polls by 25 or 30 points, or that she has cajoled or blackmailed almost all of the institutional Democratic support, including, as of today, our own Sandinista mayor. Certainly not because Hillary will arrange to have murdered any person or group of people that stand in her way on this, her final chance to win the presidency.

No, it's because Americans find New Yorkers, particularly New Yorkers with big honking Flatbush accents, annoying in the extreme. This has a lot to do with historical racism and fear of minorities, but also because of our regrettable local tendency to appear condescending to people who don't live in the greatest city in the world. This condescension comes across in many ways; for instance, our disinterest in the culture of the South, or the values of the Midwestern "flyover states."

Jake Dobkin, left, in Brooklyn on Halloween 1988. (Courtesy Jake Dobkin Private Collection)

It will become glaringly obvious as the campaign goes along that many Americans find being yelled at about progressive taxation by a crazy-looking New Yorker to be a turn-off, and so Bernie's poll numbers will have difficulty rising. In political slang, he has a "low ceiling." There are many places where this is not true: Bernie would just kill in an election for the presidency of the Park Slope Food Coop! But he will never win a national election for the presidency of the United States.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't vote for him. I mean that because it really doesn't matter one way or the other whether you vote for him or not, as New York means precisely dick in terms of the final outcome of the Democratic primary. By April 19th, when you vote, 37 other primaries will already have been held, and barring the truly unexpected (Hillary has a stroke or is caught on tape admitting her plans to overthrow the Republic and replace it with the First Clinton Empire, etc., etc.), the Democratic contest will have already been long decided. If you really want to help Bernie, move to New Hampshire.

But maybe you should give Bernie some money! Despite his inevitable loss, his presence in the campaign has already had measurable results pushing Hillary to the left, and donating will keep him at it for awhile longer. Your decision should be made on the three following factors:

a) Are there any remaining issues on which Hillary is measurably more conservative than Bernie? The answer is clearly yes. On foreign policy, on economic inequality, on free trade—there are many topics on which Hillary remains firmly centrist in the model of Bill Clinton. If you are concerned about her starting another war in the Middle East, being too close to the Wall Street banks, or selling out the workers in another international trade deal, give money to Bernie and see if he can get her to change any of those positions before the general election.

b) Whether you believe that by pushing Hillary to the left, you increase her electability in the general election, or increase the probability of her implementing these policies once she wins. Here, you should be skeptical: the country outside of New York and California is still fairly conservative on many issues‚ particularly on national defense. Running to the left may weaken her candidacy and increase the chance of a catastrophic Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz presidency.

Plus, even if she does win, she will most likely face a House and Senate in Republican hands. In that case, her degree of leftness matters little, as she will be getting no major legislation passed anyway, and will spend her presidency simply defending the advances of the Obama administration.

c) You must ask yourself: is there any chance Bernie will run as an independent? If so, you must oppose him at all costs, for fear of another Ralph Nader situation. Remember everyone who voted for Nader and said "what difference will it make‚ it's not like Gore will do anything different than Bush, as they're both total capitalist pawns" (ok, that was my dad.) Let's agree that Iraq proved them wrong. Right now Bernie says there's no chance he'll pull a Nader—make sure that doesn't change.

We live in very troubling times. Economic inequality is clearly the defining domestic issue of our generation, and Bernie has been working on it for his entire career, while Hillary has tacked right or left depending on what she thought would play the best. But Bernie will not win, and Hillary has a very good chance.

Democracy is a dirty business; even a socialist like Bill de Blasio recognizes that in presidential elections you must be a pragmatist and support the candidate closest to your position who can actually win. If you want to be an idealist, move to Soviet Russia. If you want to live in a slightly more humanist, liberal America, prepare to hold your nose and support the Clinton campaign.

N.B. From a leftist perspective, Bernie isn't perfect; his stance on gun control may give you pause. He's also struggled to connect on the recent Black Lives Matter issues, where Hillary has had a stronger performance.

Ask a Native New Yorker anything via email. Anonymity is assured.