The Anti-Sanders Press Influenced the 2016 Primary. Will It Do the Same Again?

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

How will these people respond if they think Sanders was cheated again?

Like many I watched the 2016 Democratic primary carefully, and like many I was appalled by what looked like rampant cheating of varying types and degrees by national party leaders, state officials and local functionaries. So I’m going to publish an occasional series on what went down in 2016 as a sort of inoculation against the same occurring again.

I have another goal as well. Last time the Sanders campaign was surprised by its popularity, and I suspect it took some time for its leaders to adapt to what it was starting to accomplish. I also suspect that the cheating, the tilting of the playing field, the attacks from the wings by actors not even in the play also surprised the campaign, and it found itself scrambling to respond, or scrambling to decide even to respond at all.

After all, if you’re polling at 5% against a shoo-in opponent, you’re seen as a gnat, barely worth swatting at, and the occasional “slings and arrows” are not meant to wound or kill, just keep you at bay. Not so when, to everyone’s surprise, the gnat grows large, grows a following, and starts filling football stadiums when the shoo-in candidate still can’t fill a gymnasium.

Then the “slings and arrows” become bazookas and howitzers, and no one in the suddenly large upstart campaign has a plan for that.

This Time People Can Prepare

Not so this time around. The events of 2016 offer plenty of fair warning. To that end I’d like to document just what some of those bazookas and howitzers were, so not only the campaign — but you and I, the voters — can be prepared, can know what we’re looking at.

Who anticipated, for example, that California Democratic Party officials at the precinct level would misinstruct election workers, or hand out provisional ballots instead of ballots appropriate for “no party preference” voters (independents) so that much of the (pro-Sanders) independent vote would be disenfranchised? Who anticipated that voters in select precincts in New York, and many other states, would discover on election day that their party registrations had been changed without their knowledge?

This time around we can anticipate all of that, and call it out in real time if it occurs.

The Heavy Thumb of the Anti-Sanders Press

But let’s start with a national problem in the 2016 election — the role of the press in trying to make sure, to the extent it could, that Bernie Sanders would lose to Hillary Clinton. One of the best sources of information for this is Thomas Frank’s long-form examination “Swat Team: The media’s extermination of Bernie Sanders, and real reform,” written for the November 2016 issue of Harper’s Magazine. (Unless you’re a Harper’s subscriber, the article is paywalled. An archived version can be found here.)

Frank states his goal: “My project in the pages that follow is to review the media’s attitude toward yet a third politician, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination earlier this year. By examining this recent history, much of it already forgotten, I hope to rescue a number of worthwhile facts about the press’s attitude toward Sanders. Just as crucially, however, I intend to raise some larger questions about the politics of the media in this time of difficulty and transition (or, depending on your panic threshold, industry-wide apocalypse) for newspapers.”

His examination of the “press’s attitude toward Sanders” produces a striking discovery:

I have never before seen the press take sides like they did this year, openly and even gleefully bad-mouthing candidates who did not meet with their approval.

This shocked me when I first noticed it. It felt like the news stories went out of their way to mock Sanders or to twist his words, while the op-ed pages, which of course don’t pretend to be balanced, seemed to be of one voice in denouncing my candidate. A New York Times article greeted the Sanders campaign in December by announcing that the public had moved away from his signature issue of the crumbling middle class. “Americans are more anxious about terrorism than income inequality,” the paper declared—nice try, liberal, and thanks for playing. In March, the Times was caught making a number of post-publication tweaks to a news story about the senator, changing what had been a sunny tale of his legislative victories into a darker account of his outrageous proposals. When Sanders was finally defeated in June, the same paper waved him goodbye with a bedtime-for-Grandpa headline, HILLARY CLINTON MADE HISTORY, BUT BERNIE SANDERS STUBBORNLY IGNORED IT.

Frank marshalls much data to support his claims. I’ll leave you to examine those details for yourself.

“Defining Sanders Out”

Frank then turns to the question of why this occurred (emphasis mine below):

I think that what befell the Vermont senator at the hands of the Post should be of interest to all of us. For starters, what I describe here represents a challenge to the standard theory of liberal bias. Sanders was, obviously, well to the left of Hillary Clinton, and yet that did not protect him from the scorn of the Post—a paper that media-hating conservatives regard as a sort of liberal death squad. Nor was Sanders undone by some seedy journalistic obsession with scandal or pseudoscandal. On the contrary, his record seemed remarkably free of public falsehoods, security-compromising email screwups, suspiciously large paychecks for pedestrian speeches, escapades with a comely staffer, or any of that stuff.

An alternative hypothesis is required for what happened to Sanders, and I want to propose one that takes into account who the media are in these rapidly changing times. As we shall see, for the sort of people who write and edit the opinion pages of the Post, there was something deeply threatening about Sanders and his political views. He seems to have represented something horrifying, something that could not be spoken of directly but that clearly needed to be suppressed.

That threat was to their own status as insider Ivy League–educated friends-of-people-with-power, especially Democratic Party power, which had aligned itself with the upper 10%, the professional class, against the lower 90%, the great unwashed.

In Bernie Sanders and his “political revolution” … I believe these same people saw something kind of horrifying: a throwback to the low-rent Democratic politics of many decades ago. Sanders may refer to himself as a progressive, but to the affluent white-collar class, what he represented was atavism, a regression to a time when demagogues in rumpled jackets pandered to vulgar public prejudices against banks and capitalists and foreign factory owners. Ugh.

Choosing Clinton over Sanders was, I think, a no-brainer for this group. They understand modern economics, they know not to fear Wall Street or free trade. And they addressed themselves to the Sanders campaign by doing what professionals always do: defining the boundaries of legitimacy, by which I mean, defining Sanders out.

And it wasn’t just bias in the way the news was written; the editorials and op-eds were also brutal. As Frank points out, “the Post’s pundit platoon just seemed to despise Bernie Sanders.”

Four Year Later

It’s been four years since 2015, when the upstart first reared his head and showed himself a viable threat. The forces arrayed against him have had time to reflect, as have the forces on his side.

Will the the leaders of the present Party do all they can to extinguish the threat of Sanders’ “political revolution”? It’s clear they’ve already started. Will the press do their part to stem the tide? The jury’s out so far. Some coverage has been remarkably bad (also here), while other coverage is surprisingly fair. We’ll see.

In those four years the voters have also had time to reflect. Many took note of the 2016 sabotage, as they would call it, and many are ready, their remembered anger just waiting to be rekindled. Party leaders are aware of this. As a former vice-chair of the DNC said recently, “if we even have anybody raising an eyebrow of ‘I’m not happy about this,’ we’re going to lose [the general election] and they’ll have this loss on their hands,” meaning the DNC.

It won’t take much to make a martyr of Sanders in the eyes of his supporters, especially after 2016. The only questions are:

• Is the fear of Sanders and his political revolution, which would send many of them scrambling for other work and start to cut Party ties to the donor class, enough to make their opposition turn to obviously illegal means?

•  If Sanders is indeed made “a martyr,” as the party official quoted above fears, what will be the response of the independent voters who swell those stadium appearances?

The stakes were high in 2016. Given our greater nearness to looming catastrophes, climate being just one of them, the stakes are exponentially higher today. We do indeed live in interesting times.

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63 comments

  1. ambrit

    Putting on my Bespoke Tinfoil Hat, I’ll posit that the “dirty tricks” are already happening. As Magister Strether declared, the Clintonistas also have had two years to plan for combating a strong Sanders campaign.
    To the extent this is about politics, it is about institutional politics, not public policy politics. The Clinton camp has demonstrated an almost monomaniacal focus on ‘winning’ to the exclusion of all else. So, I expect a crowded field of Democrat primary candidates to drown out Sanders as much as possible and to, most importantly, deny Sanders a first round win at the convention. Then, the “olde guard” comes into play and the Superdelegates can swing the nomination to H Clinton as a “Unity Candidate.” That is when Sanders will face his most difficult decision. Will he abandon the Democrat Party as a bad job? Sanders seems to be leaving a Third Party run option open with his development of a parallel structure to the Party apparatus.
    If Sanders splits the Democrat Party, he will be handing Trump a second term, but laying the groundwork for a reformed and restored Democrat Party in later campaigns. If Sanders toes the line and supports Clinton for a second run, he will also be basically handing Trump a second term. (Unless something catastrophic happens between now and the election. Those Black Swans will pop up out of nowhere, as is their wont.)
    The interesting problem here is whether or not any party can govern the nation with only ten or fifteen percent of the population’s support. To manage such would, presumably, involve the full on imposition of an authoritarian state.
    Our cousins to the South have much to teach us about how extremes of inequality play out “on the ground.” Oligarchies will sail along without a care in the world until a major opposition rises up to contest for supremacy. Usually, as the Southern experience shows, those contests will end up in fire and bloodshed, over and over again, down the years.
    The Clinton phenomenon shows up a basic flaw in politics. Concentration of political power, no matter how effected, will end up in ruin. What is so sad is that the Clintons are not unique, but exemplars of a perennial trend; corruption, both personal and public.
    America was supposed to bring the “blessings of democracy” to the “less well off” of the southlands. The opposite is happening today.

    Reply
    1. PKMKII

      While I certainly don’t doubt that the Clintonistas are banking on that strategy, it’s dependent on all the not-Bernie candidates happily playing along being cannon fodder to stop Bernie. Problem is, the establishment isn’t as unified as it was in 2016, and many of them would have no problem poking the rest of the establishment in the eye if they thought it would increase their chances of winning. A split convention with ~9 candidates coming in with delegates isn’t just a threat to Bernie’s chance, it’s a threat to all but one candidate. There’s a strong motivation for them, even stronger than for Bernie quite frankly, to thin the herd out as fast as possible, and I think we’re going to see some ugly politics done with that goal in mind. The establishment in-fighting is going to be nastier than the Bernie-establishment fighting.

      Of course, if it does work out and they superdelegate Biden in even though Bernie had the most overall votes but shy of an outright majority, they’ll be dooming themselves to not just giving Trump another term but relegating the Democrats to second place status in US politics for a generation. But clearly they’re willing to pay that price to keep their country club in control of the party.

      Reply
      1. Skip Intro

        I think the crowd of idpol neoliberals is going to backfire on the DNC. They will fragment their loyalists while uniting the Sanders voters, who saw through the same shtick in 2016, and arguably in 2012.
        In typical DNC fashion, their scheme to rig the election by bringing in superdelegates for the second round will be sabotaged by their arrogance and opportunistic minions all running for their own [x] slots, and diluting the strength of their donor owners.

        Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The other side is not understanding HRC’s support either. Her voters weren’t all neoliberals. Between the certainty of her victory, the narratives of a secret “liberal” HRC, and her importance to an older generation, these are not transferrable to other candidates because Terry MacAuliffe or any celebrity says so.

          Obama vowed to take it personally if African Americans don’t show 2014 Democrats the same support he received in 2012. Cult like attention doesn’t necessarily transfer.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Too true. And cults do not translate into populist movements. Quite the opposite. The very organizational form of a cult is an authoritarian one.

            Reply
        2. polecat

          What else would one expect, when rainbow swans swoop in, only to drown in a dirty pool of their own projection.

          Reply
      2. Mike

        True. And, if you wish to draw parallels, the demise of social-democratic parties in Europe, especially the British, German, and French, shows this is a global pattern being juiced by, and carried out by, a global elite of which the US is part and a leading member.

        Bernie wants to have a rebuilt, renewed Democratic Party that reflects social-democratic norms as they have historically been in Europe. The problem? Soc-Dem parties have mostly surrendered to the neo-liberal agenda just as the Dems here have. Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands – all have shifted mightily to the Right.It is no mistake or error on their part. Their class interests demand they take sides. All these parties are outgrowths of professional upper middle-class elements who have taken these parties from the working class. In doing so, they dragged the “liberal” press with them to become propaganda mouthpieces for their true “brothers”. The causes and particular results within each party could take volumes to describe – suffice it to say they wee all enemies of elites in their origin, and were treated as such, spied upon, infiltrated, and whatever else it took to tame them.

        Reply
    2. Off The Street

      All of that seemingly coordinated effort would appear to tin-foil-hatters and many others to be evidence of some conspiring, if not RICOesque activity. Given the thrust of those noted anti-Sanders media efforts, the century-old Upton Sinclair quote may be repurposed.

      It is difficult to get a man to understand report on something, when his salary (and social standing, and access to the best parties, tables, schools, et cetera) depends on his not understanding acknowledging it.

      Freedom of the press keeps getting attacked from ever more clever enemies, thereby reinforcing its utter necessity.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        True, a formal conspiracy is not necessary to have ‘conspiracy like’ outcomes. Feynman’s addendum to the Challenger disaster report sets that out.
        Read, the dreaded Appendix F : https://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/51-l/docs/rogers-commission/Appendix-F.txt
        Sinclair’s Quote (TM) is famous exactly because it is applicable across all timelines, all classes of person, and all types of organization.
        Human nature doesn’t seem to have changed over the last hundred millennia or so.
        Going back over the recent past several thousand years of human history, it becomes clear that the present assault on press freedom is but another evolution of the perpetual war on the individual’s right to think independently.
        The present top predator class’s basic mistake is a common one. After a string of success’s, no group seriously considers the fact that nothing is permanent. That would bring the groups self identity as being “Exceptional” into doubt. Hopefully, this present apex predator class will suffer the same malign fate as have all others who have gone before.
        Happy Good Friday to all the religious out there. For the rest, enjoy a weekday without the stock market to worry about.

        Reply
  2. Cal2

    “How will these people respond if they think Sanders was cheated again?”

    1.Stay home on election day or vote for Trump?

    2. Sanders + Tulsi = Democratic Victory.
    Anything else? See number 1.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      They could also come out and vote for one of the little Vanity Third Parties. If the DemParty ticket is not some combination of Sanders Warren Gabbard . . . . and several-to-many million Bitter Berners vote for a Third Party, and the Dem Ticket loses, and the numbers of Dem voters + the numbers of Third Party voters would add up to having been a victory for the Dems; then a message will have been sent about the cruciality of the Bitter Berner vote and how it can not be safely ignored if “winning the election” really is the goal.

      Reply
  3. skippy

    I think its incumbent to remember its not Sanders per se that is causing orthodoxy to act out …. its what he represents e.g. something that can throw a spanner in the good works of neoliberalism.

    Sanders crimes are for enabling the unwashed an opportunity to consider options outside that dominate narrative.

    Reply
      1. skippy

        Challenging the the foundational cornerstone of methodological individualism and all the aspects bolted on too it – seems a critical point to advance. Lots of time and energy is spent on questioning the bolt-ons, yet for every one refuted the core can spit out more, dog chasing tail experience.

        Even to the point of forwarding nationalism in one breath and bespoke individualism in the other – our nationalism protects my squillions …. and the consequences of that is “Natural” [tm].

        Reply
    1. ambrit

      One of Sander’s main ‘crimes’ is to offer the “unwashed” potentially ‘real’ Hope. The Obama-bot offered Hope in bad faith. Thus, both sides of the Classical Greeks’ ambiguous view of ‘Hope’ are on display. Hope came last out of Pandora’s box. The Chorus is still out on the verdict.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        With Obama’s false hope, you’d be lucky to receive a dry sip from the water bag as you continue to grasp, with bloodied and blistered hands, that trireme oar, knowing in the back of your mind that you’ll Never truly escape the chains holding you down to that hot, burning deck of death !

        Reply
  4. drumlin woodchuckles

    The Sanders staff and supporters and well-wishers should think about how to re-engineer Trump’s “fake news” schtick as much or as little to be able to use it for the Sanders’ Campaigns own self-defense and protection.

    Whenever the media run a dishonest news article, the Sanders Campaign could call it Fake News. Whenever the media run a dishonest editorial, the Sanders Campaign could call it Fake Views. The Sanders Campaign could speak of Fake News and Views from the Rich Corporate MSM.

    Reply
  5. nathan

    the “liberal”, “progressive” upper class and most of the upper middle class democrats did well by trump’s tax giveaway.
    noam chomsky calls them moderate republicans. they stand for identity issues but not financial ones, nothing that would involve taxing them to give to the rest of the country.
    when it comes down to it most of them will prefer to give trump four more years and hope for the best and taking back the white house with one of their own later than supporting a socialist. they’re hoping not to face that prospect (in the mirror as well as otherwise) by defeating bernie – and probably warren, who isn’t seen as a big threat now – in the primaries. if the bernie supporters sit the election out then trump is on them goes the view.
    if biden falters early i see bloomberg coming in as a democrat. if bernie wins anyway i see schultz coming in as an independent.
    it will take a near miracle

    Reply
    1. Kurt Sperry

      I want to see a Sanders vs. Trump election not least because it I think the choice it forces will put the neoliberal, entitled 10% — the same neoliberal Clinton supporters who derided and mocked those Sanders supporters who wouldn’t or couldn’t get on board with HRC — in an a similar but reversed position. Will they follow their own self-righteous admonitions from four years ago and vote for their hated primary opponent to remove Trump as they hectored Sanders supporters to do? Will they sit out the election, unable to hold their noses and vote a Sanders ticket likely to raise their taxes? Exactly the way many Sanders supporters did with HRC and were viciously excoriated by that same 10% for doing? Or will they go full “evil”/self-loathing and secretly vote for the Satan Trump to keep the country out of socialist hands and prevent having their taxes raised? I can’t wait to hear the neoliberal chattering classes trying to publicly reason it out. Many exploding heads, rank hypocrisy, and much cognitive dissonance will be on full public view.

      I get schadenfreude just thinking about it.

      Reply
  6. John k

    The article mentions that some media seems reasonably fair this time around… maybe some thinking sanders can’t be stopped, or the lack of somebody obviously about to be coronated.
    If Biden doesn’t take off more media will become fair… institutions want to be on the winning side.

    Reply
  7. Andy Raushner

    Anti-Sanders press? Oh come on. The Anti-Clinton press was in full bloom as well. Sanders has been a mess so far. SJW politics, health care reform and free college…..basically the Clinton 2016 playbook. It didn’t build the enthusiasm to make her campaign electoral proof against the Trump Russian supporters hack, bots and fake news campaigns to ship up her likeability issues.

    Then Biden comes out with what one union rep called kitchen table issues. Major corporate welfare for domestic manufacturers, multi trillion dollar infrastructure program, stuff Obama campaign ed on in 2008 but pivoted away from by September 2009 which in Biden’s opinion, hurt his Presidency. Bernie much like AOC live so much in esoteric fantasy, much like Hillary Clinton….which made him such a nice foil to her. The problem is this time, he is going to go against a bunch of other candidates that are bullshitters, reality manipulators and salesmen, he gets drowned. Well beyond Biden as well, there is going to be 15+ sniping away.

    Bernie needs to pivot imo by fall of the union vote is going to turn on him

    Reply
    1. Donald

      You seem confused. The press was anti Sanders and very much pro Clinton during the primaries.

      The anti Clinton press played some role in the general election, but for the most part by noticing her actual flaws. There was also an enormous amount of anti Trump press, again based on his actual flaws, but he also received massive free publicity during the whole year and it turned out his voters simply didn’t care about his flaws.

      Reply
    2. GramSci

      Bernie is using the Clinton playbook? I don’t think so. And as for the unions endorsing Biden, it’s been at least 40 years since the rank-and-file voted with the union bosses.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        I know…
        Sanders has been a mess so far. SJW politics, health care reform and free college…..basically the Clinton 2016 playbook
        what?

        Reply
    3. flora

      The Union vote ain’t what it once was. In 2016 the Union brass supported Clinton but the rank and file did not.

      Reply
    4. Mac na Michomhairle

      If I say something enough times, especially if I have a big media outlet, it is true. Up is down; an orange is the city of Houston; DNC slicksters who would sell your grandmother for cat food are just reg’lar folks fighting for all of us…

      Reply
    5. rob

      wow, you don’t think the press was aligned against bernie, that is stunning. What color is the sky in your world? Have you ever been to earth?
      So bernie was using hillary’s playbook? Hillary clinton?
      I’m guessing you think you can just “say stuff”, and it will be taken seriously. Fat chance… with that drivel…. time to get a clue…
      even the most casual observer would remember the hit squad on bernie in every aspect of the media…. but for those who don’t have the ability to discern reality, the secret is to ” bang the rocks together”…. so dude.. watch your fingers.

      Reply
    6. jhallc

      Pretty much guaranteed to get push back around here with your comment. The “Liberal Press” was clearly anti-sanders as was the usual conservative media. Although, they really did’t pay much attention to Sanders because they knew HRC was going to be the nominee.
      I’m curious as to where you stand on the political spectrum and why you think the union rank and file will abandon him. And which way should he pivot?

      Reply
    7. Grant

      This is the most incoherent post I have seen on this site. I truly mean that. How in the world could anyone think that Bernie is copying Clinton of all people? SHE was the one leading on policy? What bubble do you live in?

      “Bernie much like AOC live so much in esoteric fantasy”

      Based on what? What policies that he supports are unpopular and would not work? When he goes to West Virginia and meets with a room full of Trump supporters, goes on Fox and connects with people there, are you claiming that most other candidates, especially left of center, could do the same? How could anyone, especially after the leaks, claim that the press wasn’t fully on the side of the Clinton campaign, often openly colluding with the campaign?

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        HRC was trying to lead on policy (M4A will “never, ever, happen”). Thankfully, she failed as a policy leader.

        Reply
    8. drumlin woodchuckles

      You seem confused about who kept playing the SJW cards as well. I think I remember in the first Sanders-Clinton debate a point where Sanders called for re-breaking-up, re-Glassing and re-Steagalling the banks. And Clinton said ” breaking up the banks won’t do a THING about racism.” And it is the anti-Sanders Neera Tandecrats seeking the nomination who are presenting themselves as a live action multi-choice menu of SJW Housekeeping Seal of Approval Identy choices.

      You seem confused in many directions.

      Reply
  8. GramSci

    Bernie is using the Clinton playbook? I don’t think so. And as for the unions endorsing Biden, it’s been at least 40 years since the rank-and-file voted with the union bosses.

    Reply
  9. Carolinian

    Sanders was here yesterday and as requested by Lambert I’ll have something to say about it during Water Cooler. But I will say that the crowd was very enthusiastic and the press coverage fair. 2020 may not in fact be a replay of 2016. This time Trump including TDS is the spectre that hangs over the entire process.

    Reply
  10. jefemt

    Remember when Bernie had pulled even, if not ahead of Hillarity, just prior to the 2016 Dim convention? And he had the Speech of His Life in either AZ or NV?
    And Trump was set to speak at the identical time?
    And the media focused on Trump’s empty podium, mysteriously empty for 1.5 hours…
    And the media did not cover Bernies speech-of-the-year, not one whit?

    Never, ever forget — and treat the media with the derision and suspicion they have so justly earned…

    Reply
    1. anon4

      Remember when Bernie had pulled even, if not ahead of Hillarity, just prior to the 2016 Dim convention?

      nah, didn’t happen

      Reply
  11. divadab

    Yes the Dem press will be flinging poo at Sanders. But take a gander at Faux News and their town hall with Bernie – and Tucker Carlson’s amazing mention of Dem Party cheating of Sanders in the primary. Just as the “liberal” press gave Trump tons of free publicity, so too the reactionary press seems to be giving free coverage to Sanders.

    It will be nice to see Sanders wipe the floor with Biden. And if the Dems cheat again and nominate Biden or some other obedient and photogenic bought and paid for candidate, watch Trump wipe the floor with them.

    Will the Dems fall on their swords again to keep Sanders out? They will try, helped by their pals in the propaganda apparatus.

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        Good heavens. I’m prone to make jokes about Ronald Reagan being a Disney Animatronics “Robot Being,” but that image looks exactly like one.
        Someone should do a spoof of that image and photoshop it with smoke coming out of it’s ears. Or that image next to Hillary Clinton in an exoskeleton suit.

        Reply
        1. Svante Arrhenius

          It’s kinda like how we used to tease our Nazi ‘bagger, Republican friends, about Re-antimating Zombie Reagan to run, since they had nobody that wasn’t a pathetic, waddling stereotype to vote for? Maybe, simply run Dead Kennedys. Meanwhile, perhaps a holographic Fred Rodgers, Sally Struthers’ disembodied whine or comforting Dr Seuss character? Liberals all like Gandalf, right?

          Empires FALL, it’s what we do: https://mobile.twitter.com/alyssa_milano/status/1112869883069382656

          Reply
  12. Ptb

    A fair contest, it will not be. That’s the nature of the game. It’s still winnable.

    Ultimately, the nuclear option for progressives is going to a 3rd party in significant numbers.

    Destructive as this is, removing the 90s era Democrats via primaries and state level elections, is the more humane option. Ot would take some years to flush put all the faux-centrist delegates from the state and national Dem conventions, but that is the only way.

    Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The people here have more time than money. And they ( we) have invested our time in finding out enough things to where the spenders of fire hose-loads of money find us resistant to their propaganda.
        So since the money will not be taken out of politics until the people who engineer the money into politics have been driven out of public life, the rest of us will have to fight on various un-monetized battlefields.

        Time isn’t money. Time is life itself.
        A British-India Indian is once supposed to have said ( to the West in general . . .) ” You have all the watches. But we have all the time.”

        Reply
  13. rob

    After a couple of years of ” the press” yammering on with stories of “Russians” subverting our elections, when will we see the real “deplorable’s” be shamed. The press, and their snide comments,their acts of omission,their down right lying, their assault on the hearts and minds of the voting population. The press is probably the most valuable group in the election of Donald trump. They are the ones who champion the lie and the smear, they are the ones who make the news “fake”, so the supporters of trump have something to latch onto.

    where is the congressional investigation of the role the press played in “the disinformation campaign against the american people and their presidential election of 2016?”
    now THAT would be news worthy.

    Reply
  14. ChrisAtRU

    Thanks for taking on this, Yves! I look forward to future installments!

    IMO, it has become increasingly difficult for mainstream media (MSM) to de-legitimatize Bernie this time around. My take is that I see #TeamSanders taking steps to make sure the signal-to-noise ratio remains in Sanders’ favor. MSM attempts this time around take on more of a mindless screeching tone, and thus far, given the Senator’s now nationwide popularity, it appears that far less people are being moved by these attempts (see latest nationwide poll). But it’s all going to play on repeat from 2015/2016. Krugman has already begun his insufferable tone policing and disqualifying. Some us remember that WaPo published 16 negative pieces on Bernie in 16 hours during the run up to the last election. By those standards, “our famously free press” is only getting warmed up … but the electorate is ready this time.

    Reply
  15. Joe Well

    Here’s something that worries me about Bernie:

    Here in Massachusetts, almost all the Our Revolution chapters are in affluent municipalities (if you’ve studied American history you’ve heard of them: Concord, Cambridge, Lexington, Amherst), with a couple that are supposedly forming in less affluent communities. The events that have been advertised have all been in these more affluent communities so I imagine that’s where the real action is. I emailed the one chapter I saw for a more working class community like my hometown and got no response.

    In the Our Revolution MA Facebook group, there are some wonderful people, but there has been almost no discussion of the housing crisis, which is the biggest progressive issue facing the state right now. The resolution to the housing crisis will require precisely overcoming opposition to new housing in those affluent municipalities.

    So, how do your organize a real progressive movement when the people who call themselves progressives are overwhelmingly deeply embedded in the top 10%?

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This is unfortunately Putnam’s decline of bowling leagues. There isn’t an easy answer. One of the points of The 50 State Strategy was the recognition of this problem and the need for support and even the ability to access space for the purposes of meeting places. Obama used his celebrity to stamp out much of these efforts. People can’t do it forever, so in a sense everyone is starting over with an openly hostile DNC under Perez. Obviously, the decade of additional economic decline for most Americans is a problem.

      One problem is the sympathetic among the 10% need to understand the “moderate suburban Republicans” have polished jackboots ready to go and have no interest in good government despite their seemingly “polite” nature. The DSA’s brake light clinic is probably the model that needs to be followed, just expanded. Something like “free tax filing” assistance in January. Obviously, CPAs have to earn a living, but taxes don’t need to be done in April. Maybe they could be paid.

      Time and resources are obvious issues.

      Reply
    2. nathan

      i live in washington heights in manhattan, a gentrifying community. i’ve been invited to a bernie get together on the 27th in spanish harlem, not a gentrifying community (although everything in manhattan is moving that way, more slowly in some areas than others). but your point is a good one.

      Reply
    3. EricT

      It’s the weather. Affluent upper middle income homeowners have the ability to entertain in their own homes during Winter weather. Once the weather gets nicer don’t be surprised if you see more bbq for Bernie in the poorer communities.

      Reply
  16. lordkoos

    • Is the fear of Sanders and his political revolution, which would send many of them scrambling for other work and start to cut Party ties to the donor class, enough to make their opposition turn to obviously illegal means?

    ———————-

    Yes, no doubt in my mind.

    Reply
  17. sharonsj

    If the establishment rigs the process once again and Sanders doesn’t get the nomination, I will not vote for the anointed Democratic candidate. I forced myself to vote for Hillary Clinton and I will never do that again. I also will do everything in my power to burn down the Democratic party. I wonder if the establishment has a clue as to how furious most people are? Are they paying attention to what’s happening throughout Europe–and I wonder how long it will be before you see weekly protests here? P.S. I’m ordering my yellow vest now….

    Reply
  18. mrtmbrnmn

    In the 2016 election campaign, the Wall Street/War Street/Washington DC Axis Of Evil’s media amen corner were just practicing up for the big show. The deep dive into the massive drivel-spewing, propaganda-peddling, dishonesty and irresponsibleness of the 3-yr-long zombie jamboree to regime change Trump and pin the tale/tail on the Russians. The corrupt, self-absorbed and sclerotic political establishment’s media amen corner has out-Orwelled George. There is no coming back to honest, honorable professional reporting from this blatant and maniacal journalistic malpractice. It’s in the Frankenstein monster media’s DNA now. Alas.

    Reply
  19. Ko

    You don’t have to dig very deep to see the Sanders perspective in the major media. Eg, here are the last few times Sanders has appeared on the front page of the New York Times:

    April 11: Using Senate Standing, Sanders Reintroduces Medicare for All. “Senator Bernie Sanders stepped to the lectern on Wednesday, red-faced and rumpled as ever, with a placard screaming “Medicare for All,”…”

    April 15: Sanders Attacks ‘Smear’ Tactics At Think Tank

    April 17: Sanders, Surging, Has Democrats Jittery (Again). “…mainstream Democrats are increasingly worried that their effort to defeat President Trump in 2020 could be complicated by Mr. Sanders, in a political scenario all too reminiscent of how Mr. Trump himself seized the Republican nomination in 2016.”

    Reply

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