Updated below (on Saturday, December 12, 2015)
Associated Press photo
Bernie Sanders addresses a crowd in Davenport, Iowa, in October. Despite the myth that Sanders is “unelectable,” he is doing better against the top Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidates in match-up polling than is Billary Clinton. As I type this sentence, Real Clear Politics’ averages of match-up polling show Billary beating Donald Trump by 3.3 percent, whereas Sanders beats Trump by 8 percent. Sanders beats Ted Cruz by 5.6 percent, whereas Billary bests Cruz by only 2.5 percent. Neither Sanders nor Clinton beats Marco Rubio — who is, as I have said, the Repugnican Tea Party candidate to take down (Trump is just an incredibly loud distraction) — but while Rubio beats Bernie by only 0.7 percent, he beats Billary by 1.6 percent. Billary Clinton is so disliked by the electorate as a whole that the comparatively unknown Bernie Sanders does better than she does against the top-tier Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabes.
A few items encouraging to us Bernie Sanders supporters have caught my eye over the past few days.
There are plenty of naysaying pieces on Sanders on the Internet that amount to screaming to us Sanders supporters, “Surrender, Dorothy! But in reality, we have no reason to give up.
First, as I’ve noted, Bernie Sanders is polling significantly better than is Billary Clinton against the top three Repugnican Tea Party presidential contenders (Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz) in match-up polling. (Again, I’m quite confident that Ben Carson will not emerge as the Repugnican Tea Party’s presidential nominee.)
As El Trumpo himself might say, that’s yuuuuuge. It annihilates the “argument,” the conventional “wisdom,” that only Billary can win the White House. In Reality Land, there is a good chance that she cannot.
But then there’s also this (from refinery29.com):
Though there’s no way to know exactly how Americans will vote in the 2016 elections, one university has a perfect record when it comes to predicting presidential outcomes.
Western Illinois University has correctly prognosticated each president since 1975, and it’s got some ideas about next year’s contest, too. According to the university’s mock election, the 45th president of the United States will be Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’s running as a Democrat in 2016. The university also predicted that former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will be Sanders’ vice president.
So how did the university reach its conclusion about Sanders? While his main opponent in the Democratic field, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, is leading in many polls, Sanders has managed to raise support from small donors at an unprecedented pace. The senator has supporters from a variety of demographics, explains Liberal America, which makes him a highly electable candidate. And a recent Quinnipiac poll found that Sanders is polling better than all of the GOP’s 2016 presidential candidates, including Donald Trump.
In WIU’s mock presidential election, Sanders garnered more than 400 Electoral College votes. A proposed Jeb Bush/Marco Rubio ticket, meanwhile, earned just 114 Electoral College votes in the mock election. As for the popular vote in WIU’s mock election, Sanders beat Clinton in 22 out of 26 primary states there, too.
Thousands of students at the university simulated the election process, including Iowa caucuses, state primaries, nominating conventions, and the Electoral College vote, from October 20 to November 2, in order to determine the results.
I find it interesting and encouraging that the university that correctly has predicted the next U.S. president since 1975 has predicted that Bernie Sanders will be our next president. (I’m not wild about Martin O’Malley as Bernie’s running mate, but O’Malley is better than is Billary, who wouldn’t deign to be Sanders’ running mate. But Sanders shouldn’t ask her, as her center-right political record and philosophy are contradictory to his left-of-center record and philosophy.)
There’s this, too, from Matthew Yglesias for Vox.com (emphases in bold are mine):
Donald Trump, as you have probably heard, is dominating national polls of Republicans who want to lead their party in the 2016 presidential election. As you have likewise probably heard, Hillary Clinton is currently crushing left-wing challenger Bernie Sanders in national polls of Democrats.
What you have probably not heard as much about is that Trump and Sanders have approximately equal levels of public support. …
Trump right now is a few percentage points ahead of Sanders in terms of the number of Republicans backing him versus the number of Democrats backing Sanders. But because there are more Democrats than Republicans in America, Philip Bump of the Washington Post reckons that there are actually slightly more Sanders supporters in America than Trump supporters.
Nonetheless, Trump has dominated media coverage of the 2016 campaign while Sanders has largely been a non-factor in coverage since Clinton started handing in solid debate performances.
The reasons for this are not exactly mysterious – Trump is ahead in the polls and might win the GOP nomination, while Sanders is losing badly and clearly won’t be the Democratic candidate.
But while the media’s priorities are comprehensible, the horse race fact that mainstream Democrats have consolidated around a single champion while the non-Trump Republicans remain badly divided is creating a distorted picture of the real state of the country. Wall-to-wall Trump coverage is, for example, helping boost morale at white supremacist groups, which are now benefiting from a newfound sense of momentum.
But while there is clearly significance in the fact that a large minority of Republicans are willing to flock to Trump’s banner and the cause of ethnic chauvinism, the reality that an equal number of people are flocking to Sanders’s banner and the vision of an expansive Nordic welfare state is equally significant.
Indeed, in terms of analyzing broad trends in American life, the Sanders phenomenon is probably more significant than Trumpism. Trump’s supporters, after all, are older than the average Republican, while Sanders’s are younger than the average Democrat. The Trump movement is benefiting from an exceptionally chaotic situation among mainstream Republicans, while Sanders is up against the strongest non-incumbent frontrunner in American political history.
In the short term, that all means that Trump is more relevant to 2016. But the values that Sanders reflects are likely to grow stronger in future cycles, while Trumpism is likely to grow weaker.
Don’t get me wrong; I’ll take the word of the students of Western Illinois University over Yglesias’ where it comes to Bernie Sanders’ chances of winning the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination (and then the White House). But I like (and agree with) Yglesias’ conclusion that the future belongs to us Sandersistas, not to the Trumpites.
And, as I’ve noted before, if Sanders’ 2016 run ends up like Barry Goldwater’s run in 1964 – if in retrospect it’s clear that Sanders rescued the Democratic Party from the death grip of the center-right Clintons – then we can count Sanders’ 2016 run as a win, whether he becomes our next president or not.
Speaking of which, it’s true that Billary’s lead in nationwide polls have her far ahead of Bernie – 55.4 percent to 30.8 percent, per Real Clear Politics’ average of polls, and 55 percent to 31 percent, per the Huffington Post’s average of polls. So it seems safe to conclude that right now, nationwide, Billary does beat Bernie by more than 20 percentage points in the polls.
But the nation won’t be voting and caucusing for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee as a whole on one day, but states will be voting and caucusing over the course of many weeks. And wins in early states often (if not usually) snowball into wins in successive states.
First to vote (caucus) will be Iowa, on February 1.
Yes, Billary is leading Bernie by double digits in Iowa polling right now – by about 14 percentage points, per RCP, and by 19 percent, per HuffPo – but, as prognosticator god Nate Silver pointed out recently, since 2004, “In Iowa, on average, only 35 percent of voters had come to a final decision before the final month of the campaign. And in New Hampshire, only 29 percent had.”
That leaves plenty of room for Bernie to win Iowa, as we have more than a month and a half before Iowans caucus.
Should Sanders pull out a first-place finish in Iowa – which we were taught is not an impossibility when, in 2004, the “inevitable” Howard Dean came in at third place in Iowa after the moribund John Kerry came back from the dead like Lazarus on crack and came in at No. 1 in Iowa and then went on to win the nomination (due to the aforementioned snowball effect) – Sanders no doubt would win New Hampshire, too.
And I don’t see Billary recovering from Sanders winning both Iowa and New Hampshire.
It’s true that Donald Trump has been sucking most of the oxygen from the room, and that the pundits (like Yglesias) have coronated Billary Clinton as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee already.
But the pundits and the corporately owned and controlled media whores won’t be caucusing and voting in Iowa and New Hampshire (well, the vast majority of them don’t live in those two states, anyway).
I suspect that in February we will see, rather jarringly, that there are two parallel “realities” in the United States of America: (1) our corporately mediated “reality” that pumps up center-right, pro-corporate political candidates like Trump and Billary and, at best, mostly ignores truly populist candidates like Bernie Sanders, since truly populist candidates like Sanders aren’t great for the corporations and the plutocracy; and (2) actual reality, which consists of individuals voting and caucusing the way that they want to, not the way that they’re told to by our corporate/plutocratic overlords.
I suspect that for some time now, Bernie Sanders, in actual reality, has been soaring under the radar of our corporately mediated “reality.”
While we might compare Sanders to the tortoise in the parable of the tortoise and the hare, I think that I’d rather liken him to the bald eagle that had to put Donald Trump in his place.
P.S. I get it that way too many “superdelegates” have jumped the gun, voicing their support for Billlary before we, the people, have weighed in on our choice between Billary and Bernie, but how would these “superdelegates” proceed if Bernie pummels Billary in the caucuses and primary elections?
Many if not most of these “superdelegates” are, after all, accountable to the voters. And they aren’t bound to supporting Billary; they may flip their support to Bernie instead.
Update (Saturday, December 12, 2015): I find it interesting that within 24 hours of my having written that there exists a “corporately mediated ‘reality’ that pumps up center-right, pro-corporate political candidates like [Donald] Trump and Billary [Clinton] and, at best, mostly ignores truly populist candidates like Bernie Sanders,” the Sanders campaign put out an e-mail that reads:
I’ve always been interested in media and have always been concerned that corporate media doesn’t really educate people in this country. They refuse to talk about the serious issues facing our country.
That’s why I wasn’t surprised yesterday when I saw this headline: “Report: ABC World News Tonight Has Devoted 81 Minutes to Trump, One Minute to Sanders.”
It’s no shock to me that big networks, which are controlled by a handful of large corporations, have barely discussed our campaign and the important issues we are bringing up. They’re just too busy covering Donald Trump.
We can’t allow the corporate media to set the agenda. We have got to get the real issues out there. And that’s why I’m asking you to join me in a major petition to the big networks.
This is what the corporate media is all about: more Americans support our campaign than Trump’s according to recent polls, but still ABC’s news program has spent 81 minutes on Trump and only 20 seconds talking about us. NBC Nightly News only spent 2.9 minutes covering our campaign. CBS? They spent six minutes.
The point is: our political revolution certainly will not be televised. It’s more important than ever for us to hold the large corporations that control the media accountable.
I know we can win this fight if we all work to get the message out there.
I encourage you to sign the petition.
The corporately owned and controlled mass media give more time not only to Donald Trump over Bernie Sanders, but also to the many Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabes, like Jeb! Bush, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and even Lindsey Graham, who aren’t polling at even 4 percent within their own party and who don’t have nearly the chance of securing their party’s presidential nomination that Bernie Sanders does of securing his.
As Matthew Yglesias points out in his piece above, “Sanders is up against the strongest non-incumbent frontrunner in American political history.” Given that fact, Bernie Sanders is, again, soaring — albeit under the radar of the corporately mediated “reality” in which we live.
P.S. Sanders’ e-mail correctly notes, as I noted yesterday, that Donald Trump is sucking all of the oxygen from the room, but the media are covering El Trumpo not only because he is, as he has been called, a carnival barker (on crack, I would add), but also because the plutocrats who own and control our corporate media would much rather that their media outlets cover The Donald’s latest “gaffe” than cover issues that might actually threaten treasonous corporate/plutocratic profiteering, such as:
Income inequality (including, of course, the need to pay every worker a living wage, the necessity of forcing the rich and the super-rich to pay their fair share of taxes, and the need to whack the Wall Street weasels), climate change (our No. 1 problem, even though it might not be evident to us on an everyday basis, because it’s a slow, ongoing progressive problem), the unaffordability of health care (including, of course, treasonously priced pharmaceuticals) and of higher education (student loans have got to go — we must foster our youth, not treat them as cash cows), our crumbling-from-neglect infrastructure, and the waste of billions and billions and billions of our tax dollars on the treasonous war profiteering of the military-corporate complex.