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February 15, 2020

Backing Bernie

Opinion

February 15, 2020

If they were smart, the Democratic Party would support Bernie Sanders as their nominee. But of course, they won’t, if there’s any way they can prevent his nomination.

Not surprisingly, Sanders’ PAC-supported or big money opponents, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Michael Bloomberg, have belittled his candidacy. But the Party’s old guard – Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Barney Frank – have also publicly attacked and/or worked against Sanders. Barack Obama has intimated that he would try to prevent a Sanders nomination.

Even worse, the liberal corporate media have repeatedly dismissed, attacked, and underreported Bernie and his campaign. New York Times opinion writers have virtually lined up to dismiss the Sanders campaign; ‘he can’t win,’ ‘he’s like Trump only his opposite,’ are common refrains. Washington Post columnists follow suit, and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews went off the rails implying Sanders’ rather tame version of democratic socialism could lead to public executions.

Similarly, the well-endowed Democratic PAC, the Democratic Majority for Israel, funded attack ads on Bernie in Iowa, while the corporate Partnership for America’s Health Care Future has mobilized to “change the conversation around Medicare for All” to protect the for-profit healthcare industry. And, of course, the powerful right-wing attack machine, from Charles Koch’s organization to the Federalist¸ have been mobilizing propaganda attacks on Bernie.

There will be a great deal more of this in the coming months, as these interests try to bury Bernie Sanders’ truly populist message. Let’s look at their arguments: “Sanders can’t beat Trump” and “Bernie is too far left.”

The latest Quinnipiac national poll (pre-New Hampshire) has Bernie 8 percentage points ahead of Trump, shortly after Trump’s post-impeachment bump, and Bernie’s campaign will vividly bring out the enormous contradictions in the Trump administration.

But more fundamentally, are any of the centrist Democratic candidates likely to beat Trump with their ‘more of the same’ arguments The New York Times’ conservative columnist David Brooks revealed data showing that tens of thousands of voters in the key swing-to-Trump states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin voted for Bernie in the primary and Trump in the election – in sufficient numbers to cost the Democrats the election.

However, Brooks draws a dubious conclusion from the data, suggesting Bernie voters will sit out the election if a different Democrat is nominated. Voters who voted for Bernie in those primaries but Trump in the general election are not Bernie’s fervid young supporters, but in all likelihood largely alienated white working class or rural Americans, fed up with a Democratic Party that long ago deserted them.

Excerpted from: 'Why the Democrats Should Back Bernie Sanders: And Why They Won’t, If They Can Possibly Help It'.

Commondreams.org