Bernie, Episode 2: The Empire Bites Back!

* Sigh *

I have to say, I’m a little disheartened today about Bernie’s chances to win the nomination. Yes, he has a solid lead in the New Hampshire polls, and he’s edging upward in Iowa to within 5 points or so, but Nevada and South Carolina seem safe for Hillary. Plus, Hillary claims nearly 500 “superdelegates” in her pocket – nearly two-thirds of the 718 – while Bernie has just 7 (there are 4,482 total convention delegates this year). Plus, the DNC is solidly in her corner, breaking their own rules in several ways to help Hillary win. They’re supposed to be impartial, but that’s now a joke.

150718_BERNIEphoto(Photo: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons, some rights reserved)

I’m disheartened that the Clintons are so rich and powerful and so cozily wired into the mainstream media that Bernie really can’t get a fair shake (see this great piece on Alternet or this letter in the Cedar Rapids Gazette). The news is about her and Trump, and not about him. I’m concerned that in Iowa, where Bernie could have a small popular lead come caucus time Feb. 1, the Clinton forces could steamroll him, the way the Kerry-Kennedy camp did to Howard Dean in 2004, after hijacking Dennis Kucinich’s people. Caucuses are a little weird and not always representative of what the people want. *Sigh*…

Just for fun, let’s call the Hillary and her campaign the Empire, and let’s call Bernie and his campaign the Rebel Force. It makes a certain amount of sense since the Empire is bigger, richer, more powerful, and more embraced by the media than the Rebel Force. You could also substitute “Goliath” for Empire, and “David” for the Rebel Force – same idea. Or Overlord and Underdog. Or Plutocratic Imperialist vs. Real Guy (or “Mensch”) with a Cheap Suit and Messy Hair. Whatever you choose…

Heavily on the side of the Empire is the Democratic National Committee (DNC). It’s supposed to be impartial, but it’s not acting that way. They’ve scheduled several debates on weekends, when people are watching football, so Sanders and O’Malley will get minimal exposure. In the DNC’s Nevada headquarters, the Clinton campaign has moved in — which they’re not supposed to do. The DNC’s head of finance, Henry R. Munoz III, organized a big fundraiser for Clinton in Texas last summer – a monster no-no! But worst of all, the DNC exercised its national power to help line up hundreds of superdelegates for Clinton last summer and fall, long before the first primary. (Source: Amanda Girard, in U.S. Uncut).

The Empire is formidable indeed.

But wait!

It’s still early! And accurate polling these days is nearly impossible. Many Gen-xers and Millennials – a big chunk of Bernie’s base – have ditched their land lines, and pollsters have resorted to robo-dialing random numbers in hopes some of them might be mobile phones/smartphones. There are fewer polls these days because they’ve become hugely expensive to conduct, and don’t promise a very impressive margin of error.

Plus, the argument that we need Hillary to beat whoever emerges from the Republican clown car just doesn’t wash anymore. Bernie does as well as or better than Clinton against GOP candidates. (Hit the link for a solid report from The Hill).

Plus, Hillary’s support, though strong with party insiders, is pretty squishy with the voting public. It’s the old “enthusiasm gap.” From what we’ve all seen week after week, Bernie doesn’t have that problem. At. All.

Plus, the argument that Hillary and Bernie are very close on the issues, because their senate votes were 93% identical, doesn’t wash anymore. Check this, from Politifact:


But I think what can really help Bernie turn the tide is that he didn’t say this:

“So we always have to balance liberty and security, privacy and safety, but I know that law enforcement needs the tools to keep us safe.”

Hillary did, in the Dec.19 debate. When I Googled that quote verbatim the next day, there were just 2 hits – both from news sources who’d transcribed the debate.

Today, four days later, there are 123 hits. The red staters, the right-wingers, have jumped all over it. Actually, all of us should jump on it, pass it around, knowing what it really means.

So I’m feeling a little better about this. Actually, a little madder. In fact, really quite mad, maybe as mad as Howard Beale.


Here it is again…

Next time: Bernie, Episode 3: Stormfront.

Ned White

About Ned White

Ned White is a writer, novelist, crossword puzzle constructor, traveler through 49 states, and at times a danger in the kitchen. He lives with his wife in South Thomaston.