Bernie Sanders is crushing it. No surprise, though the corporate media continue to downplay the obvious as much as possible. Bernie Sanders remains the most popular national politician. The Zogby poll shows that he has no close competition in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Today’s Zogby poll:
“Democratic primary voters are still excited about the prospect of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders winning the nomination. We tested a potential primary showdown among an expanded list of 2020 Democratic hopefuls (please see chart below) and the Independent Senator from Vermont still maintains his momentum among Democrats… Bernie Sanders (Ind. Senator Vt.) leads (28%) his closest competitors, former Vice President Joe Biden (17%) and Elizabeth Warren (Democratic Senator Mass.-12%). No other name receives double digits… Senator Sanders is the most popular candidate among almost every sub-group.”
The dominant media and establishment Democrats remain desperate to elevate a candidate to Bernie’s right. It’s just as true today as it was a year and a half ago when I wrote: “How on Earth could the Democrats come up with a candidate to compete with Sanders? They can’t. As far as can be seen. Or, at this point, even imagined. Given the need, increasingly in the age of social media, for genuine popular appeal, such a candidate would have to outflank Sanders on his left, believably, and the Democrats in no way are willing to support any such thing.”
A 2020 Democratic Primary candidate running to Bernie Sanders’ left (none currently) would not function primarily to critique Sanders’ positions, though surely there would also be that effect as were critiqued Hillary Clinton’s positions in 2016 when Bernie Sanders ran to her left. Rather, the greatest benefit of a momentous candidate running to Sanders’ left would be to help advance further left positions (popular progressive policy) into the spotlight of public attention, just as Sanders did for his modest progressive policy planks in 2016 that have in large part now been adopted by other candidates and politicians across the entire country, sweeping the country really. Bernie Sanders was a kind of national midwife for this beneficial phenomenon.
Who will it be? This is the one candidate missing from the 2020 Democratic Party primary for the Presidency of the United States. Dozens of candidates are said to be considering running or are already running for the 2020 Democratic primary, but none to the left of Bernie Sanders, who must be considered the prohibitive favorite, for many reasons.
Why are there are no candidates currently known to be considering running to Bernie Sanders’ left in the primary, when this is a publicity supernova, in which critical marginalized progressive positions can gain illumination and subsequent life? This was the effect of Bernie Sanders’ candidacy in the primary two years ago, to help bring progressive ideas, however modest, from the margins to the mainstream.
Much of what passes today for astute election discussion does not pass the ear test. Likewise, respected experts on polling analysis blew the eye test for the Clinton/Trump vote. Dr. Sam Wang (who does good work on redistricting) of the Princeton Election Consortium was the most egregious example. He was so confident in his poll analysis predicting a Clinton win that he promised to eat a bug on TV if his analysis predicted the wrong winner. He ate the bug.
Dr. Wang’s analysis did not pass the eyeball test. He either wouldn’t listen or couldn’t bring himself to believe what was plain to see. A few people tried to point out that his analysis was far too optimistic for Clinton. It certainly didn’t take any special insight to point out as I did days before the election that far from the race being essentially a lock for Clinton, as Dr. Wang had bizarrely concluded, it was a toss up, given the data presented by Dr. Wang himself. It was plain to see, as I pointed out, that Trump needed to win only 3 close states to block any chance of Clinton winning. One of those 3 states was North Carolina, in which the data presented by Dr. Wang gave the edge to Trump, so really he should have been able to see that Trump needed mild “upsets” in merely two states to win it all: Florida and Michigan, which also looked more like toss ups than anything else. (Turned out too that it could have been either Wisconsin or Pennsylvania instead of Michigan.) These states looked like toss ups because the polling data showed that they had flipped back and forth between Trump and Clinton before giving the edge to Clinton (mistakenly, as it turned out). The polls needed to be off in the end in merely those two states for Trump to win, and to cause Dr. Wang to eat the bug. Eye test, simple. Never mind a correlated national polling error; in that case, so much the worse. A real mistake. It wasn’t just Dr. Wang who blew the election poll analysis, among the generally most thoughtful analysts, though it was especially him. Even more egregiously, the institution that by far blew the call the worst in so much of what it did and stood for and utterly failed to realize was the Democratic Party, i.e., the Clinton Machine, the DNC, a corporation actually.
Similarly, still today among political parties and election analysts is the curious notion of what is commonly called “entrenched” and “polarized” voters. This misprision destroys large predictive and analytic powers. As a disorder it mistakes cause and effect. The reality is that the fundamental positions of the national candidates and parties calcified (via national branding) in the internet age (that is, since the 1990s). Pundits claim instead that the voters / voting patterns calcified. But that’s an induced, not inherent, effect of providing people with false choices and virtually nothing but. It’s not primarily the voters who calcified (“polarized” / “entrenched”), it was the candidates and their campaigns’ brands, their positions political and emotive. And these brands both blocked out and delegitimized progressive positions that the polls all along show most closely accord with voters’ values generally. (Same thing happens in the corporate media and elsewhere of course.) It was the Bernie Sanders campaign, replete with its Occupy Wall Street (OWS) policy planks, that cracked all that, in climbing not too far from ultimate overwhelming electoral success two years ago.
So, finally all the Democratic candidates for President now have shifted to follow the Sanders suit, since they’ve seen that he by his progressive platform can win and win big, potentially sweeping states both red and blue. Thus they’ve begun to somewhat de-polarize themselves, un-entrench themselves from their former “realistic” brand platforms of corporate imposed austerity. (The gap between “realistic” and reality proved to be too great, to be electable. The ironies are not minor.) To the extent that the “new” presidential Dems are campaigning left in order to govern right (apparently nearly all of them, with Sanders the notable, if not total, exception), voters will see directly through this, and the implications for “polarization” will remain.
With more time, more of a head start the last election cycle, Sanders evidently would have won the primary, and the general election in any case, in a blowout not unlikely, and the supposed entrenched/polarized positions of the populace would have seemed to greatly shift. The party platforms are driving the division, not the people. The populace is not the origin of the seeming Blue Dem & Red Rep polarization; the candidates’ campaigns are the origin, which are simply the two calculated extensions of the de facto Business Party, the superficially distinct brands of its two PR wings.
Replace Clinton with Sanders … and there would be no such polarization. Poof. The country would be overwhelmingly for the new New Dealer. At least, that’s what the polls would suggest. For months, the polls consistently predicted that Sanders would beat Trump by more than twice as much (about 11 percent) as the polls consistently predicted Clinton would win by (about 5 percent). Clinton ultimately won the popular vote by more than 2 percent, and lost the election. The Electoral College is structurally racist and otherwise discriminatory against progressives who often must win with overwhelming popularity to win at all. The US Senate, for that matter, may be inherently the most structurally racist institution in the country; although, it has a lot of competition, notably from the thoroughly racist judicial/penal system. How many white-constituent Senators should represent all those cattle and gas and oil wells in Idaho and Wyoming, in North and South Dakota, in Nebraska and Kansas, and on and on and on. About 70 percent of the US Senators represent about a third of the US population, mostly white. This means that the US Senate is structurally both extremely racist and extremely anti-democracy, a key part of the increasingly lethal system of checks and imbalances against the debtors (formerly known as the people), against the planet, against life itself. So, best not to screw up – corporate Dem style – the popular progressive movements, moments, and paths that really exist, and which are in any case the only way forward.
There are real progressive affinities across the wide land, not least in places where people are suffering, that is, most places. It’s not that the books are mainly cooked, or the fix is in, with the populace … but with the candidates (also the institutions). It’s typically harder to beat an incumbent, so the task is more difficult now (thanks DNC, Inc.), but the ostensible polarization is largely superficial, creating mile-wide-and-inch-deep groupings and misunderstandings that originate in the brands, not in the voters. Substantive progressive policy positions would dissolve the calcification, the polls suggest. This is not a particularly well kept corporate secret. But the devilish lie, the toxic mendacity, the myth of polarization remains both poisonous and contemptible (and comic) gospel among the highly paid and the highly visible, that is among the corporate-culture brainwashed, including those fronting in high positions in government, especially those from the Ivies, where the brainwashing often is the most thorough.
The experts assign blame and responsibility to the populace for being calcified Democrat or calcified Republican (a populace that is much White supremacist and often irrational, yes, and deeply so, but in ways that cut far into and across “both” “political” parties). Rather, the party options have been decisively calcified. The options have been absurdly unpopular, the polls show, and artificially limited, phony. The rise of social media has more exposed than exacerbated this, much to the distress of those in corporate command and control, who seek to vilify non-corporate entities and individuals in the US and abroad to censor and suppress socialism in the US (and abroad). The supposed polarization is largely not so, once one gets below the surface. Do I repeat myself? Good. It needs to get through and take better root or we doom ourselves to one corporate phony after another. Here’s looking at you, every previously elected US President, and virtually every runner-up.
In the age of the internet, political brand control has both intensified and calcified as the twin political dupe machines roar on. However, given the rise of social media (the people’s media, at its best), the brands become increasingly obviously phony, (and no less malicious), and thus become increasingly brittle. Bernie Sanders cracked more than one brand; whereas, Con Trump appears to have ultimately cracked only his own. Trump has never won a popular vote and likely never will. Sanders’ appeal suggests that a somewhat progressive blue-collar Democrat, such as teachers’-strike-favorite Richard Ojeda from southern West Virginia, could run for President in the Republican Party and do well. (Unfortunately, Ojeda has chosen to stay in his lane and run for President in the Democratic Party where the potential upside for him and everyone else is not nearly as large.) Going forward, Bernie Sanders type campaigns can further breakdown much of the political fakery and suppression. Again, it’s so obvious that entire corporate industries are devoted to covering it up. It may be that this modest step forward is needed to allow for much more genuinely socialist candidates and policies to become nationally viable.
The corporate political parties are greatly discredited. What is Donald Trump, the elected President: a Democrat or a Republican? He has been conveniently both and is realistically neither, an opportunist, also demagogue. What is Bernie Sanders, the most popular national politician: a Democrat or a Republican? He has endeavored to remain an Independent, almost alone, and at times by formal necessity become a temporary Democrat. Realistically he has tried to go free of the parties. It seems he would transcend both parties if he could, toward the progressive. Trump too would transcend both parties if he could, toward the dictatorial.
It’s over, in a sense, the corporate party game (at least for these two presidential election cycles), where most scrutiny is paid, in the quest for the Presidency of the corporate Empire. The CEO Emperors wear no clothes. The corporate Wizards are of Oz: fake. The corporate Presidents are despised as Democrats and despised as Republicans both. Enter (entered) the Demagogue and the Progressive, both populists (one posing, one mostly not, though with some grotesque exceptions, especially in international militancy). The other presidential candidates are merely trailing in their wake, desperately trying to catch up and catch on. It’s cute. They’re cute. There are other words, but let’s stick with “cute” – too cute by half: Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Richard Ojeda, Joe Biden, Beto O’Rourke, etc. Any of these trailers might likely have at least a 50/50 chance against Trump. What warm body wouldn’t? But then like Barack Obama and Bill Clinton they would be likely to almost single-handedly destroy the Democratic Party down ballot and help to yet again massively revive the even and ever more dangerous and damaging Republican Party. Strikingly, politicians like these won’t be able to function much at all even as “sheepdogs” for future nominee (shepherd) Bernie Sanders. They are more like the sheep themselves who Sanders has been dogging forth, toward the future, toward his own camp, which at least is more in the direction of camp OWS than are the camps of any of the trailers.
“But Bernie is not really a progressive! Let alone a socialist!” No shit. (“Finest word in the language.” – literary giant, Victor Hugo) But comparatively, he is. And in part and only in part, he is. Or Occupy Wall Street did not exist. All but written out of history, and written out of history to the extent that it could be, Occupy Wall Street did and does in fact exist, as did and does the Civil Rights movement, as do the variously intertwined progressive movements coursing through the polls and the internet, and along the streets, and within civil spaces, and inside many of the voters of even both dominant parties, and into the previous Presidential election and on to the next.
Come 2020, the Presidency is Bernie Sanders’ to lose. He would pull the biggest coattails, election cycle in and election cycle out, as far as anyone can tell, of anyone now remotely in consideration. During the previous presidential election cycle, it was in the beginning of June and accelerating through July and August of 2015, almost half a year before the early primaries, when three things happened at once: Trump skyrocketed in the polls, Clinton plummeted, and Sanders rose steadily. That equivalent period begins 7 months from now in this election cycle. Within 10 months from now, the bulk of the story going forward (or back) for the next election cycle is likely to be written, as it was previously. (The implications for third party candidates are obvious. And interesting beyond the obvious.) Now is the time, always, to activate, and to activate well.
What to work for per the next national election cycle? A good start would be to work within at least a reasonably clear recognition of reality. It would be good if another viable candidate emerged, this time well to Sanders’ left, instead of off to his right like the rest, to take the Presidency from him, or at least to help move the society, the world, farther forward. So, if you are out there, Support-Group-For-A-Viable-Candidate-Significantly-To-The-Left-Of-Bernie, step forward now. For soon, it will be too late, I expect the polls would agree.
You know, it’s funny what isn’t said. The next president of the United States, upon the 2020 election, is overwhelmingly likely to be Bernie Sanders – things being what they are today and are likely to be in a few years. The only real question at that level is who will be the Vice President? Tulsi Gabbard? Nina Turner?
Who in the Republican or Democratic party could beat Sanders on the second go around? His name recognition is massively increased, to say the least. His political popularity is unmatched, by far. His ability to raise funds is proven.