As with Corbyn, the establishment underestimated Sanders

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The US political establishment is a little less cocky now that Bernie Sanders is surging in the polls. The latest polls show him ahead in the New Hampshire primary race and the Iowa caucuses.

Previously the commentariat laughed at the prospect of a self-declared “socialist” ending up the Democratic Party candidate, let alone becoming President. Hillary Clinton, the establishment candidate, was pronounced a shoo-in.

What all these “experts” forgot about was the people, and their attraction to progressive policies such as free health and education, paid for with more taxation on the rich. The media pundits didn’t learn anything from the Jeremy Corbyn’s successful campaign for the British Labour leadership, which was based on similar progressive policies. When Corbyn entered the race the pundits gave him no chance.

Glenn Greenwald explains in the Intercept the “seven stages of the establishment backlash” against Corbyn, which is now being transferred to Sanders.

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Stage 1 is polite condescension (“its really wonderful that your views are being aired”).

Stage 2 is light casual mockery (“no dears, a left-wing extremist will not win, but it’s nice to see you excited”).

Stage 3 sees angry etiquette lectures directed at supporters of the left-wing candidate as on-line support for him or her grows.

Stage 4 is the beginning of putdowns trying to marginalise the candidate as old, white, male or too far-left.

Stage 5 is the beginning of a more open right-wing political offensive accusing the candidate as weak on terrorism, associating with bad people, etc.

Stage 6 is grave warnings of the damage it will do to the party, maybe lasting years, if they reject the establishment candidate.

Stage 7, is a full-scale attack, launched when the progressive candidate shows they have a real chance of winning. The candidate’s message is twisted, dirt dug up from their past, supposed links with extremists exposed, and there are threats to withdraw support from the party if the candidate wins.

If Sanders wins Iowa and New Hampshire Greenwald thinks Stage 7 will begin in earnest. However, with the polls showing Sanders in the lead in those two states, it may be that we are already entering Stage 7. This week Sanders has been the subject of multiple attacks for using the “S” word (“socialism”) which his critics portray as not much different from “communism”.

Maybe these attacks will make it harder for Sanders. But at present their unfairness seems to be increasing his vote.

One thing the right-wing commentariat doesn’t talk about too much is that Sanders has a better chance of beating Donald Trump (and other Republican hopefuls like Ted Cruz) than does Hillary Clinton. Averaging the polls, Bernie Sanders leads Donald Trump by 11%, where Hillary Clinton is only 4% ahead of the Republican front-runner. Sanders also has a bigger lead than Clinton over Ted Cruz.

27 COMMENTS

  1. other factors in sanders favour are that those self-describing as independents support him by a large margin..

    ..moderate republicans (they do exist..)….freaked out by the gibbering/far-right crazies the gop is offering them..would be more likely to support sanders..than to vote for clinton..

    ..and sanders has amongst registered democrats an astounding 95% approval/trust-rating..

    ..bernie sanders will be the next president of the united states..

    (and i’m off to the bookies..)

  2. Awesome isn’t it! If David Cunliffe was Labour leader here we could have a clean sweep! (He would have to get rid of half of the dicks in Labour first).
    I was listening a few times yesterday to RNZ and all the right wing people are throwing their crap around, it was actually funny they are all really shitty, like kids who dropped a lollypop. They can’t be coping well with this shift happing in the USA and the UK. Very exciting,’ feel the Bern!’

  3. Comparing Corbyn with Sanders is quite risky, because UK and USA have quite different political systems and societies.
    Perhaps the reason why Sanders shows a higher margin over Trump than Clinton is because Americans see Clinton as a variation of the main theme, rather than something completely different. Clinton is obviously much more agreeable than Trump in a personal sense but are mainstream Democratic policies radically different from mainstream Republican policies? Mostly no.
    Sanders represents something a bit different, he comes across as a genuine liberal force, rather than an ersatz liberal like Clinton which makes him stand out sharply against the reactionary Trump. When people are bored they like something a bit different (the makers of Monty Python knew this) and thus Sanders attracts the people who want something other than they have now, a third way.
    I personally would love to see Sanders win the Democratic nomination as I think it would provide some real policy debate, if nothing else.
    Good luck to him.

    • Hedge fund managers and similarly wealthy people don’t even represent a significant minority of the U.S.

      The irony here is welfare services and regulations to business were used to counter socialism.

  4. Obviously the voting field is splitting towards polarised ends of the spectrum, Donald on one side and Bernie on the other. Not that Sanders is extreme by any historical measure.

    Yet the NZ Labour party doggedly pursues the Blairite strategy of going for the centre, no matter how far the centre has been skewed to the right and how often it fails.

  5. I hope and wish that it will be a contest in the end between Trump and Sanders….Two complete contrasts! Capitalist vs Socialist, Obscene Vs Decent, Vile Vs Wise….

    • I wouldn’t call Sanders a Socialist….just a person who has the decent well being of the populace as his major platform, and who means it!

  6. Stage 8.

    If all else fails, the behind-the-scene fascists, who are in control of the US and most other ‘developed nations’, will rig the election, as per G W Bush, 2000.

    Stage 9.

    In the unlikely event that fails, the behind-the-scene fascists, who are in control of the US and most other ‘developed nations’, will use paid assassins to rid themselves of the problem, as per JFK.

  7. I took a screen shot of a WSJ article posted to Facebook from about 5 days ago titled “Clintons lead over Sanders widens.” The original post received 535 likes in 2 hours, that’s pretty standard for a WSJ post.

    The most liked comment was scathing of the article (so where the majority of most liked comments, but anyway) the comment read.

    “The Wall Street Journal seems to be as out of touch with reality as Trump and his supporters. More polls shows Bernie Sanders Gaining momentum.”

    So people just aren’t buying what mainstream media is selling.

    You can view my screen grab here: http://postimg.org/image/mmm2u888t/

  8. Go Sanders.

    Corporations are forgetting that actually the public still get to vote. With all the spin, lies and charter school ignorance in the US, the public might just vote for their own interests for a change, and that would be Sanders – a politician who is fighting for the American public’s rights.

    Not his rivals fighting for the obscene rich, religious doomsayers and political lobbyists.

    • Can’t see any of the mid west or southern states voting for him. I might be wrong, but I don’t think he’ll win. I don’t want him too either, because he certainly could never win against the republicans. Though I suppose if Trump kept spewing bigotry then it could become closeish….but knowing how right wing Americans are about so many things I just couldn’t see them voting enough in numbers for a ‘socialist”

  9. He might get in as the Democrat candidate but that’s a long way from becoming President.

    In my view both Sanders and Trump are favoured because the voters are fed up with DC insiders. They want real change – not the faux change that Obama has delivered.

    Also, before you claim it as a socialist victory, it needs to be remembered that although Sanders is Left by American standards, he might still be to the Right of the current NZ government. Maybe not in terms of slogans but in actual policy.

    • if bernie gets his/(our) way..and does what he is promising..

      ..that left/right formula you cite will be way out of date..

      ..and if he gets the nomination..he gets the presidency…(haven’t you been paying attention..?..

      ..polling shows him landsliding all over any/all of the shape-shifting lizards from the gop..

    • I was rather surprised by it actually it shows such a restricted group of American citizens – largely white, probably northern and well educated.

      I hope his constituency is much more various than that video focuses on or he will have great difficulty winning the Presidential election.

  10. Unfortunately Clinton has a much better chance of beating Trump.

    If Sanders comes through there is a real risk that Trump will be the next president.

    • Even if that happens. Sanders has already got Hillary talking about the right things. Even trump is turning social with his version of reining in the oligarchs.

      It’s a win win in my view.

  11. Seeing Sanders win the presidency would be satisfying for same reason seeing Obama win was; a spit in the eye to all the people who said he couldn’t win because he was too “left” or “radical” or whatever. But anyone who seriously thought having Obama in the White House would change anything substantially has been thoroughly let down, and I see no reason Sanders would be any different.

    The Presidency is now merely a figure-head role, a bit like Miss World, whose job is to give solemn, fluffy speeches and read books to school children. The real power is held by Congress (which combines the Senate and the House, upper and lower house respectively), who pass laws written by corporate cabals like ALEC:
    http://www.alecexposed.org/

    • I suppose the difference would be that anyone who was watching saw that Obama was an associate of Zbigniew Brzezinski well before he was elected, and a graduate of the Chicago Democratic party machine. Nobody comes through that system a ‘political outsider’ who doesn’t work with ‘lobbyists’ as Obama was claiming during his rise. It will be worth keeping an eye on who Sanders intends to work with on foreign policy if he gets the nomination. If he’s a bought off as Obama was, the same old names will emerge from the woodwork soon enough…

  12. As predicted the U.S.financial establishment and political establishment both Republican and Democrat (bought and paid for by the financial establishment) have already started their “Dirt” campaign against Bernie Sanders.
    The most recent was a put down about Sanders possible nomination by Claire McCaskill – Democratic Senator (..”the Republicans cant wait to use a Hammer & Sickle advertisement”) and all the Democratic sycophants have recently put their public support behind Clinton….to no avail.
    This support is NOTHING like the wildly exaggerated Donald Trump phenomenon which for the last 9 months saw the U.S.mainstream media such as TV networks (ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC) and Newspapers (WSJ, NYT, WP) hype up the small numbers at the Trump rallies while totally ignoring the genuinely massive grassroots public support for Sanders. (More than 2.5 million donations average about $35)
    Bernie will win Iowa and New Hampshire DESPITE all the best efforts of this “establishment.”
    When his campaign gets rolling in South Carolina and the following States the U.S.People including African Americans and Latinos will finally hear his message and the momentum will carry him to the nomination.
    The Presidential race will be “DIRTY” and come at him from “all sides”. The MSM and “Political Commentators” are already using terms such as Democratic Socialist, Socialist, Communist, and whatever they can to destroy him.
    Social Media can and will will destroy these blatant and pathetic methods.
    If he wins the Presidential race he will have an uphill battle to clean up a corrupted system just as FDR, Truman and JFK did.
    He NEEDS to win if true Democracy is to survive globally!

  13. As predicted the U.S.financial establishment and political establishment both Republican and Democrat (bought and paid for by the financial establishment) have already started their “Dirt” campaign against Bernie Sanders.
    The most recent was a put down about Sanders possible nomination by Claire McCaskill – Democratic Senator (..”the Republicans cant wait to use a Hammer & Sickle advertisement”) and all the Democratic sycophants have recently put their public support behind Clinton….to no avail.
    This support is NOTHING like the wildly exaggerated Donald Trump phenomenon which for the last 9 months saw the U.S.mainstream media such as TV networks (ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC) and Newspapers (WSJ, NYT, WP) hype up the small numbers at the Trump rallies while totally ignoring the genuinely massive grassroots public support for Sanders. (More than 2.5 million donations average about $35)
    Bernie will win Iowa and New Hampshire DESPITE all the best efforts of this “establishment.”
    When his campaign gets rolling in South Carolina and the following States the U.S.People including African Americans and Latinos will finally hear his message and the momentum will carry him to the nomination.
    The Presidential race will be “DIRTY” and come at him from “all sides”. The MSM and “Political Commentators” are already using terms such as Democratic Socialist, Socialist, Communist, and whatever they can to destroy him.
    Social Media can and will will destroy these blatant and pathetic methods.
    If he wins the Presidential race he will have an uphill battle to clean up a corrupted system just as FDR, Truman and JFK did.
    He NEEDS to win if true Democracy is to survive globally!

Comments are closed.