Bernie Sanders: Sabotaged by the status quo
By Payton Williams
Bernie Sanders is, by any reasonable measure, the Democratic frontrunner in the current election, and the most likely Democrat to handily beat Donald Trump, but don’t expect to hear that when you turn on the T.V.
For months, major media outlets in this country have been ignoring the momentum of the Bernie Sanders campaign — and using every conceivable trick at their disposal to mask his progress — and they have good reason to do so.
It is, after all, in their material interest to make sure that a Bernie Sanders nomination doesn’t happen.
Let me explain:
There is an entire media class in this country that has sprung into existence since the creation of 24-hour news networks. Political pundits and politicians make the rounds on the networks constantly to talk shop on the subject of politics and, more importantly, on the subject of the apparatus whereby politics happen in this country.
They are very often wrong, but it doesn’t matter.
The political pundits, the op-ed writers and the former politicians and CIA assets (go figure) that appear on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and so on are not journalists. They are salesmen — and what they are selling is a manufactured status quo in which their expertise matters.
When Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez pops up on CNN to say it is impossible for Bernie Sanders to win in an election against Donald Trump, the unspoken premise of that argument is that the only reason it is impossible is because it goes against the rules Tom Perez himself helped to create, and that the world of politics only works the way it does because he decided it should.
And because if it turned out that it were possible for the most popular politician in the country to beat Trump, one of the least popular, Tom Perez would be out of a job.
The same goes for just about every member of the political pundit and media classes, and this is the reason why the Democratic Party establishment, with a massive assist from the media, is putting so much money into quashing the political hopes of one of the most popular politicians in the nation.
But where this all gets most fascinating is when we see what the Democratic Party’s efforts against Sanders have done for President Trump in national polls.
On Feb. 3, the Iowa Caucus, the first major vote during the primary election cycle, took place in the United States.
The Caucus was an absolute catastrophe.
In the lead-up to the Caucus, Bernie Sanders was the clear leader in nearly every poll. Coincidentally, the results of both the Caucus itself, and the results of the Des Moines Register Poll, which has been a consistent indicator of who wins the Caucus for the last sixty years, were both delayed for several days.
This also was the first time the results of both the poll and the Caucus itself were delayed in the entire history of the Iowa Caucus.
When the results of the Caucus were finally released four days after the caucus, Bernie Sanders was tied in the delegate count with South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, who had prematurely announced his victory on the day of the Caucus with no results to justify his claim.
Bernie Sanders had won the popular vote by a handy 2,000 votes.
Coincidentally, during the run up to the Iowa Caucus and after it occurred, at a time when either the blatant corruption or incompetency of the Democratic National Committee was on display for the world to see, Donald Trump’s approval rating jumped from 39% to 49%, according to both a recent Gallup poll and a recent FiveThirtyEight poll.
This is the highest approval rating President Trump has had in the entirety of his presidency.
There are only two options as to how this was allowed to happen.
Either the DNC is grossly incompetent and can’t be trusted to run an election, or they were directly working to sabotage Bernie Sanders at the cost of their own chances of winning the presidency of the United States.
If the latter is true, it indicates that, for the Democratic Party, it would be preferable to have Donald Trump serve another term as president than to allow Bernie Sanders to win the nomination.
There is some evidence to back up such a claim.
The Democratic Party derives much of its current viability from being the opposition party, the “adults in the room” who understand the apparatus of power and are best equipped to hold their hands on the levers of power and to dictate the rules.
This is a good position for them because it requires them to do very little in the way of governing.
A few weeks ago, when Nancy Pelosi ripped President Trump’s State of the Union speech in half after he had given it, she got a lot of positive media coverage.
While I wouldn’t say there was anything wrong with that gesture of defiance, I would argue that it was no more than that. It was a gesture, an act of political theatre.
Nancy Pelosi doesn’t need to simply use acts of defiance to show her distaste. She is one of the most powerful people in the country. She could have started Trump’s impeachment proceedings earlier, blocked all voting on Trump’s proposed Supreme Court judges (like Republicans did under Obama), or ignored all of Trump’s budget proposals that include funding for his racist border wall.
But instead, she rips up a speech, and everyone loves it.
The truth is, any of the above suggestions would involve a fight in congress. A fight that might cause Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and other party leaders to be less popular with Moderate Republicans and corporate entities.
Why go through all that trouble when all you have to do is rip up a speech to get reelected?
The propositions of Bernie Sanders and even those of other progressive candidates like Elizabeth Warren would require a massive restructuring of the Democratic Party. It would require the party to move toward fixing the broken status quo, instead of being singularly focused on scoring points with the media and doing performative outrage on the 24-hour news networks.
If Donald Trump wins again, all they have to do is rip a few more speeches, and shrug their shoulders and claim they stood in opposition while they let the country burn.