Corporate Crap That Doesn’t Kill Bernie Just Makes Him Stronger

Sanders supporters before a campaign event in Des Moines on Monday.

            On January 19th the New York Times oddly co-endorsed Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for the Democratic presidential nomination. Two days later, the key New Hampshire primary showed Warren down four points. Bernie Sanders’ surge continued. What happened?

            To the extent that they ever did, the editorial boards at corporate-owned media outlets no longer seem to be helping the candidates they support. But I think it goes further than that. In a Democratic Party increasingly dominated by insurgent progressives, authenticity (or the perception thereof) is a politician’s most valuable asset. The approval of “mainstream” establishment entities has become a curse. The imprimatur of an officialdom widely seen as hopelessly corrupt dilutes a candidate’s reputation for authenticity, independence and the voters’ belief that he or she will stand up for we the people over the powers that be.

            Much to the frustration of ruling elites, Bernie Sanders keeps gaining support despite repeated attempts to sandbag him. It began, of course, with a well-documented campaign by the Democratic National Committee to cheat Sanders out of a fair shot at the nomination in 2016. Though less brazen, the sympathies of the DNC, still dominated by Hillary Clinton allies, remain evident in the current cycle. As in 2016, Democratic-aligned media outlets rarely mention Sanders other than to frame him as an elderly fringe wacko. The “Bernie Blackout,” featuring graphics of TV polls where Sanders’ name had been excised, became so ridiculously obvious that it got its own Reddit.

            The last few weeks have been especially instructive. There was the infamous sandbagging of Bernie Sanders at the hands of a CNN moderator. “Have you stopped beating your wife?” became, seconds after Sanders issued a categorical denial, “why did you tell Elizabeth Warren that you did not believe that a woman could win the election?,” a statement that wouldn’t be sexist if he said it and that runs counter to everything he has said and done over the last 40 years.

            Next came the bizarre New York Times two-fer endorsement of Warren and Klobuchar, which included the demonstrably false claims that Bernie Sanders is hard to work with in the Senate and refuses to compromise. This was quickly followed by the news that Hillary Clinton, the nation’s least popular political figure, told a Hulu documentarian that “nobody likes” Sanders, the most popular, and that he’s a “career politician.” As opposed to herself and her husband?

            In the bubble-wrapped imaginations of ruling elites like Clinton and the editors of the New York Times, the hoi polloi care deeply about what they say and think. They think we take their lead.

            Reality is quite opposite.

            It’s not that we don’t listen. We do. We pay attention to what Those In Charge say and what they want us to do—so that we can do the exact opposite.

            Contempt for our “leaders” is one of the key reasons Donald Trump won the presidency. “To the extent that people are using Trump as a way of venting about their general unhappiness, trust is irrelevant,” Stanford University political scientist Morris Fiorina observed during the summer of 2016. “They’re just trying to send a message that they’re tired of being taken for granted and screwed by both sides.”

          People wanted to send another message, albeit a childish one, to the elites: we hate you. 14% of Americans have a “great deal” of confidence in the news media. Congress’ approval rating is 27%. Last time Gallup bothered to check, Hillary was at 38%.

            Americans’ disdain for their masters was placed in sharp relief by polls that showed that many Trump voters would have voted for Bernie Sanders had he been the Democratic nominee and that one out of ten Bernie Sanders’ primary supporters ended up voting for Donald Trump in the general election. Trump and Sanders were the change candidates in a change year. And 2020 is even changier.

            We are witnessing political jiu-jitsu. The more viciously that neoliberals attack Bernie Sanders, the higher progressive estimations of Sanders’ authenticity rises.

            Many on the left, me included, have held doubts about Bernie Sanders. We worry that he isn’t far left enough, especially on foreign policy. After all, he’s OK with drone assassinations, was pretty much silent about the Israeli invasion of Gaza, praised the illegal assassination of Osama bin Laden that denied justice to 9/11 victims, and has not proposed specific numbers by which he would cut the Pentagon budget.

            Even on domestic issues, Sanders’ forte, he is weaker than we would like. The $15-an-hour minimum wage he is pushing for now would have been OK when he started working on it years ago, but due to inflation $20 or $25 an hour would make more sense now. By global standards, Sanders is no radical. He’s a garden-variety liberal—the Democratic Party under FDR.

            Fortunately for him, reactionary goons like the New York Times remind us that whatever his shortcomings Sanders is still the best game in this very right-wing town, the farthest left Democrat to have presented himself for our consideration in the last 40 years.

            If Hillary Clinton and CNN and MSNBC hate Bernie so much, maybe he’s all right.

            It is increasingly likely that Bernie Sanders will become the Democratic nominee and perhaps President of the United States. If and when that happens, when this “democratic socialist” takes the oath of office, he ought to give a shout-out to the clueless enemies who made his victory possible.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of “Francis: The People’s Pope.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)


  • alex_the_tired
    January 23, 2020 11:52 PM

    Two things.
    1. “People wanted to send another message, albeit a childish one, to the elites: we hate you.”
    I don’t think it’s JUST hate. For the ruling elite, hate is right next to feared, and that’s what gets the elite jazzed up, knowing you hate them so very very much and are too afraid to lay a finger on them. They love to be hated by their enemies (and we’re all the enemies of the elites because they know one day we’re going to turn on them). Look at Trump. He loves how much his enemies hate him. Look at the Clintons. Do you think they love us? At best, we’re useful idiots.
    2. Even if Sanders isn’t rad enough (as the young people say), he’s heuristic. Sanders possesses (and demonstrates) the ability to not keep doing the same idiotic FAIL move over and over. Look at the last 40 years of identity politics and triangulation. It never works. So what does every dem leader do? Doubles down on it. Unions gave us the weekend, Clintonian triangulation gave us the same minimum wage for a decade.
    Sure Sanders won’t appeal to everyone on every issue (no candidate ever does, except war criminal Hillary Clinton, whose supporters simply can’t accept that she isn’t perfection, even when she loses an election she was caught rigging).
    When Trump beats the impeachment rap, I bet he’s gonna have the AG go after Clinton for tampering with the election. I mean, it’s not (touch wood) like she’s running in 2020, and I’m sure she’d like the attention.

  • Ms Clinton’s comments on Mr Sanders are interesting, given the fact of how hard the latter campaigned for her in 2016, as detailed by Michael Moore, who himself went over the top for her….

    Unlike Ted, I don’t think Mr Sanders has a snowball’s chance in (the Sixth Circle of) Hell of being allowed to win the Democratic nomination (although I agree that in the event he did, he would have a good shot at the US presidency, if, that is, he weren’t shot himself). I certainly hope I’m wrong in my first prediction above, and that if he does get the nomination, he picks Ms Gabbard for his running mate….


    • Bernie’s entire role as sheepdog for the “left” dictated that he shill for Hill.

      • Bernie avoided taking the blame for Trump’s election by nor running against the Democratic Party’s nominee.

        Stupid dumb ass war mongering Democrats blamed Nader for the election of stupid dumb ass George W. Bush.

        Had Bernie run against Hillary he would not have maintained the political viability he shows today.

        Today, stupid dumb ass war mongering Democrats would be blaming Bernie for the election of stupid dumb ass Trump.

      • Today’s stupid, dumb-ass Democrats are lining up to kiss the ring of Fake-OC and the rest of the Squat.

        You may remember AOC the Fake Socialist from such tweets as her breathless encomium to John “Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran” McCain as an exemplar of “Decency and humanity in government” from whom she “learned so much.”

  • As so often before when it comes to US politics, the Onion puts it best. This issue also has offers an in-depth analysis of Mr Sander’s policies… 😉


  • Reactionary Goons like the New Yellowcake Times remind us that the media is shifty. The fact that these “views and disinformation” orgs have lost all credibility among the popular masses, the idea that they would not attempt some sort of cheezy false or double psychology on the electorate should not be readily dismissed. The F35 “Socialist” may well be the secret darling of the Establishment. Though I would wager that Joe Biden is the overt darling of this Establishment, it may well be that Plagiarism Joe is considered too much of a loose cannon at this point, and that a “peace” candidate is needed to once again put a “new face” on US foreign policy just as was Barky OilPharma’s role.

  • Susan Montgomery
    January 28, 2020 6:38 PM

    And what will Bernie do, once elected? Give everyone a free pony thanks to the power of Magic Hippie Groove Waves?

    @mrhenriday, I would not want the support of anyone who deems the civil and human rights of anyone a matter of debate or opinion. Nor would I support a candidate whose supporters believe that they can decide when the “right time” is for assuring those rights. And if you want to tell me to shut up, smile and “be civil” to people who want to decide who gets rights when, well, you’re out of luck there too.

    • «And if you want to tell me to shut up, smile and “be civil” to people who want to decide who gets rights when, well, you’re out of luck there too.» Well, Susan, given that I had no intention of telling you anything at all, perhaps I’ll survive. With regard to «human rights», however, I can’t resist mentioning that it’s people like the two Michael Richards – Pompeo and Pence, respectively – that most often employ that phrase, which, to my mind, tells us all a great deal on how much that piece of rhetoric is worth in practice….

      As for Mr Sanders and the US presidential elections of 3 November this year, I think Jim Kavanaugh over at Counter Punch has nailed it pretty well. But then again, I’m a foreigner, and by commenting here I am, no doubt, «interfering» in your elections and imperiling your «democracy»….


  • A vote for Burn-e The F35 State Department “Socialist” is a vote for John “Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran” McCain, Bernies “good friend”.

    • Scamming old people out of their life savings is “heroic” in Bernie’s twisted mind.

      We Remember the Keating Five even if Proglodytes have consigned that to the memory hole, along with their endless support of endless war.

  • I just read the Wikipedia article on Bernie. Sanders has dedicated his life to improving the lives of ordinary people. “We are all in this together.” Other than his book royalties and some speaking fees, he does not profit from the work. There is no money in civil rights and fighting against segregation, benefits for veterans and opposing oil pipelines.

    If Bernie is the “farthest left”, that is only a sign of how far right we have been dragged. More than anything, Bernie is trying to RESTORE the social gains that were made before, and to protect what good things we have today. Unfortunately, it has been a loosing battle. The “three tenors” (three amigos?) Bezos, Gates and Buffet, now have a massive share of the nations wealth. Inequality and inequity are worse than ever.

    President Sanders would be an amazing reversal. We can only hope; and donate, and volunteer, and vote.

  • Bernie threw anti-war activists out of his office in 1999 as he was pimping War Proglodytes can Believe In.

    Bernie is complicit in the destruction of the single remaining socialist government in Europe.

    Compare F35 Bernie with actual socialists such as Gene Debs (who went to prison rather than support the war machine) and Victor Berger (who also chose to uphold the principles of socialism rather than unprincipled liberalism).

    While Socialists like Debs and Berger were opposing war, Bernie has spent his career supporting the Military Industrial Complex – from his days as mayor of Burlington CT shilling for General Electric’s plant that produced gatling guns used to murder central American peasants, to his unqualified support for the F35 30 yers later: Burn-E is cancer.

    Here’s a joke for ya:

    What do you get when you cross Bernie Sanders and an F35?

    Friedrich Ebert.

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