Updated below (on Wednesday, February 20, 2019)
Bernie Sanders started the fire, and his party-hack competitors don’t hold a fucking candle to him.
I’ve read a lot of the Bernie Sanders “news” coverage and “analysis” since he announced his 2020 presidential candidacy this morning, and it’s all the same old, same old.
There is the typical, old let’s-fabricate-a-conflict-if-there-isn’t-(much-of)-one trick — Will Bernie do better with black voters? Will Bernie put the allegations of sexual harassment by his staffers behind him, even though we’re completely ignoring the sexual harassment by Kamala Harris’ top staffer that resulted in a $400,000 taxpayer payout? Will Bernie do better with women voters?
I fully had expected this toxic identity politics bullshit, so probably what irks me even more is the trope, repeated endlessly by wolf-pack “journalists” mutually masturbating each other in their echo chamber, that “Bernie is a/the victim of his own success.” (If you think that I’m exaggerating, click here — this link will take you to the Google search results for “Bernie Sanders victim of his own success.”)
The “idea” is that because most of Bernie Sanders’ lesser “Democratic” rivals have co-opted his big and bold progressive ideas, everyone will forget, I suppose, that it was Bernie who originated these ideas, that it was Bernie who fought for them when they were deemed “crazy” and “pie in the sky” and the like, but now (some of them, at least) are considered litmus tests for a Democratic Party presidential nominee. (I’m talking “Medicare for All,” $15 federal minimum wage, free college tuition, getting Big Money out of electoral politics, etc.)
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t underestimate the ignorance of the low-information voter, but I surmise that there are fewer low-info voters in a presidential primary election or caucus than in a general presidential election, because it’s generally those who pay more attention to electoral politics who participate in primary elections and caucuses.
And most of these voters, I surmise, know fully fucking well that it was Bernie who first pushed these ideas, not one of the cheap knock-offs who are running now. (Maybe we can call them “Me Too 2.0”: Bernie Sanders supports that? Me too!)
Addressing the issue of whether Bernie will be “a/the victim of his own success,” there are two quotes that struck me.
The first, which I’ve already quoted, I’ll quote again, but I’ll quote more fully. Norman Solomon of Truthdig noted a week ago:
With a launch of the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign on the near horizon, efforts to block his trajectory to the Democratic presidential nomination are intensifying. The lines of attack are already aggressive — and often contradictory.
One media meme says that Bernie has made so much headway in moving the Democratic Party leftward that he’s no longer anything special. We’re supposed to believe that candidates who’ve adjusted their sails to the latest political wind are just as good as the candidate who generated the wind in the first place.
Bloomberg News supplied the typical spin in a February 8 article headlined “Sanders Risks Getting Crowded Out in 2020 Field of Progressives.” The piece laid out the narrative: “Sanders may find himself a victim of his own success in driving the party to the left with his 2016 run. The field of Democratic presidential hopefuls includes at least a half-dozen candidates who’ve adopted in whole or in part the platform that helped Sanders build a loyal following…”
Yet Bernie is also being targeted as too marginal. The same Bloomberg article quoted Howard Dean, a long-ago liberal favorite who has become a hawkish lobbyist and corporate mouthpiece: “There will be hardcore, hard left progressives who will have nobody but Bernie, but there won’t be many.”
So, is Bernie now too much like other Democratic presidential candidates, or is he too much of an outlier? In the mass media, both seem to be true. In the real world, neither are true. …
Indeed, the wolf-pack “journalists,” who are too busy lazily copying each other’s “news” stories and “analyses” to be able to write insightful analysis based in reality, need to get their narratives about Bernie straight; if Bernie is such a has-been loser, then why are his competitors copying him?
I also love this quote from Bernie’s former campaign manager, Jeff Weaver (who reportedly is sitting 2020 out because in our “woke” society of today, white men aren’t allowed to participate in Democratic presidential campaigns anymore):
“People in many ways are rightfully cynical about politics. And the fact that somebody has been consistent, including when it was not easy and including when it was perceived by many in the establishment to be politically disadvantageous to have stood for those issues, I think signals to voters that one is truly committed to those issues and that the person will aggressively pursue those policies and not trade them away when it’s hard.”
Absofuckinglutely. Look at Kamala Harris, who eagerly signed on to Bernie’s “Medicare for All Act of 2017” when she apparently thought that it would boost her presidential ambitions but who apparently recently backed down on a firm, bold stance on that; she apparently actually supports incrementalism, which ensures that the pro-corporate, for-profit status quo remains firmly in place (see also: Obamacare).
As Weaver indicated, how hard are those who just cribbed an actual political leader’s ideas actually going to fight for them once the campaign is over?
That is the question that we, the people, need to ask ourselves — not whether Bernie Sanders is “a/the victim of his own success,” for fucking fuck’s sake.
Update (Wednesday, February 20, 2019): Politico reports today (emphasis in bold is mine):
Bernie Sanders’ 2020 campaign is off to an impressive start: The Vermont senator crushed other Democratic candidates in his first day of online fundraising, and boasted social media stats that easily outstripped his competition, too.
The Vermont senator brought in more than $5.9 million from more than 220,000 donors in the 24 hours since he announced his presidential candidacy, according to his campaign. He easily eclipsed other announced 2020 candidates’ first-day fundraising figures — as well as his own in 2015, when he he raked in more than $1.5 million online in the first 24 hours.
Sanders broke small-dollar fundraising records in that campaign, and his staff has worked to amass an online media empire, posting more than 1,000 videos on his Facebook and Twitter pages over the past two years.
Another show of his digital strength: The Vermont senator’s announcement video racked up nearly 5.4 million views on Twitter in the first day, more than any other 2020 contender’s formal announcement or exploratory committee video, most of which have been online for weeks.
The rest of the field is playing catch-up with Sanders, currently the only candidate in the Democratic primary who begins on the foundation of a full-blown presidential campaign. But the numbers show that many of his followers are on board with his repeat bid for the White House, at least at this early stage of the campaign.
Sen. Kamala Harris’ campaign said it raised $1.5 million in the first 24 hours of her January 21 launch, and her announcement video has received almost 4.3 million views on Twitter. Sen. Cory Booker, who kicked off his bid on February 1, has seen his announcement video garner nearly 4 million views on the site.
On the day she revealed her exploratory committee on December 31, Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised more than $299,00 online. Her exploratory announcement video has gotten more than 3.8 million views. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who launched her campaign on February 10, raised more than $1 million in her first 48 hours, according to her team, and her announcement video received 150,000 views.
I stand by what I asserted four days ago:
My guess is that once Bernie’s second presidential bid is official, not only will his poll numbers go up and Biden’s and (most) everyone else’s will go down, but his pre-existing army of supporters from 2016 will flood his campaign coffers with individual donations (I sure will!).
We Berners aren’t dead; we are diehards and we’ve just been waiting for Bernie’s bat signal, and once it is illuminating the sky, it’s on.
It is on, indeed. (That said, it’s going to take at least a few days, maybe a week or so, to see the effect of Bernie’s official announcement on the nationwide polling of Democratic presidential preference.)
And the “Bernie Sanders is a/the victim of his own success” bullshit officially is dead and buried. Anyone who asserts that now is lying blatantly.
Another prediction: Joe Biden, if he officially announces, won’t do as well in the metrics as Bernie already has.
The people love Bernie, as evidenced by the fact that more than 220K of them gave him a donation in 24 hours, and by the fact that his online success also beats his competitors’.