Conservatives freak-out over the popularity of Bernie Sanders’s positions


Tomorrow is the Democratic primary in South Carolina that polls predict Hillary Clinton will win handily. What has been extraordinary is how Bernie Sanders has made the word socialism and socialist ideas so acceptable, especially among the young, so that they view it as a more compassionate system than capitalism. This is certainly true but the mainstream media in the US has been relentlessly extolling the virtues of a particular form of capitalism that leads to vast inequalities, and they cannot believe that their sustained propaganda has been upended by a hitherto obscure senator from Vermont.

Republican pollster Frank Luntz finds that young people are “terrifyingly liberal”. Sanders is not only their favorite politician, beating even president Obama, but he is also the favorite choice of 18-21 year olds to have dinner with, beating out Obama, Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Gates, Taylor Swift, and (if you can believe it) Beyoncé.

As Glenn Greenwald says, Sanders represents the future of America and the Democratic party would be taking a huge risk by nominating Hillary Clinton, since all the empirical evidence suggests that Sanders will do better than she would against all the Republican possibilities, including Donald Trump.

Despite this mountain of data, the pundit consensus — which has been wrong about essentially everything — is that Hillary Clinton is electable and Bernie Sanders is not. There’s virtually no data to support this assertion. All of the relevant data compels the opposite conclusion. Rather than data, the assertion relies on highly speculative, evidence-free claims: Sanders will also become unpopular once he’s the target of GOP attacks; nobody who self-identifies as a “socialist” can win a national election; he’s too old or too ethnic to win, etc. The very same supporters of Hillary Clinton were saying very similar things just eight years ago about an unknown African-American first-term senator with the name Barack Hussein Obama.

Perhaps those claims are true this time. But given the stakes we’re being told are at play if Trump is nominated, wouldn’t one want to base one’s assessment in empirical evidence rather than pundit assertions, no matter how authoritative the tone used to express them?

It’s possible to argue that electability should not be the primary factor. That’s certainly reasonable: Elections often are and should be about aspirations, ideology, and opinion-changing leaders. But given the lurking possibility of a Trump presidency, is now really the time to gamble on such a risky general election candidate as Hillary Clinton?

Seth Meyers takes a closer look at these unusual developments in US politics

Comments

  1. says

    The Overton Window has been dragged so far to the right that the pendulum MUST start swinging back to the left if we are to survive as a country. Given how the Democrats have been chasing the every rightward center, we cannot expect the party establishment to be of any use.

    If not Sanders this year, I desperately hope we can get three such candidates in the next presidential election.

  2. doublereed says

    The Young Turks on Frank Luntz’s polling.

    Cenk Uygur attributes a lot of it to the fact that young people just don’t get a lot of propaganda that’s on television.

  3. says

    Sanders represents the future of America

    Are you kidding?

    At best, he’s convinced a lot of young people he represents them, but he’s another fucking politician. You can see that – he’s already said that if he loses the nomination that he’ll support oligarch Clinton. After all, the establishment gotta stick together. But that means that he doesn’t represent the future – the hippies were right “don’t trust anyone over 30!”

    What this marks is the change from politicians marketing to the old oligarchs and now they are realizing there is always a new generation of suckers coming along who’ll fall for the “hope and change” message. Shit, this batch of rubes are probably too young to still have a foul taste in their mouth from Nobel Peace Prize-winner Obama’s message of hope and change.

  4. doublereed says

    You can see that – he’s already said that if he loses the nomination that he’ll support oligarch Clinton.

    You think he should support Trump instead?

    there is no way a 74 year-old can represent much of the future of anything.

    You know perfectly well that he’s talking about his political views, not his literal body.

    Shit, this batch of rubes are probably too young to still have a foul taste in their mouth from Nobel Peace Prize-winner Obama’s message of hope and change.

    Marcus, go eat a Snickers. You get really cynical and angry when you’re hungry.

  5. says

    doublereed:
    You think he should support Trump instead?

    What a stupid question. Did you think that was a “gotcha”?

    If he actually believed in all this changey socialism outsider stuff, he wouldn’t flip around and toe the party line the second he loses, which is what he’s basically promising to do. That tells you everything you need to know about how serious he is. Either way he’s going to support oligarchy. Yay.

    One reason Trump and Sanders are doing OK is the “no politics as usual” outsider position against the political machine that expected to anoint Jeb and Hillary. Sanders is “no politics as usual until, uh, it’s convenient.” I think he could beat Trump but I don’t think he’s a whit less of a phoney than Obama, Clinton, Rubio, and all these other assholes that have survived the winnowing-away of beliefs and values that allow a politician to survive in the Washington shitstorm.

  6. says

    You know perfectly well that he’s talking about his political views, not his literal body.

    I’m talking about his body. Actually changing this country would take more time than a 74 year-old has.

    Marcus, go eat a Snickers. You get really cynical and angry when you’re hungry.

    You can kiss my ass.

  7. lorn says

    Is it too early to say that Sanders would make a grand vice-president?

    I think he has the hope and vision things down. I would really like to see his vision, single payer healthcare, real public spending on education, breaking up the banks and reforming Wall Street, and massive spending on infrastructure and renewable energy all become reality.

    I would love to see it all in my lifetime. But I think, because it is going to be a revolution that has to happen within an established constitutional system (with two, four and six year cycles) it is going to take four years to turn the tide and get the nation turned around and moving in the right direction.

  8. Anders Kehlet says

    Marcus, pull your head out.

    Sanders is promising to support Clinton, in the eventuality she wins the nomination, because:
    1. Like every other sane American he doesn’t want Trump to win.
    2. It would likely hurt his campaign to do otherwise.

  9. Irreverend Bastard says

    I fear the Democrats are going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by going with the “acceptable” candidate, Hillary. “Acceptable” or not, she’s also much weaker against Trump than Bernie.

    And when it comes to the Republican candidates, it is more important to defeat them at any cost than to do so with a “preferred” candidate. Satan himself would be a better president than Trump.

    Bernie as President would show everyone (except the right wing-nuts) that there is an acceptable alternative to the continuing strengthening of the established oligarchy. 4 years with Bernie might well tempt the GOP Christofascists to split off into a new party and make the remainder more palatable.

    I do not understand how the 99% keep voting the hyper-capitalists into power (and increasing riches) again and again. Are the voters asleep, dreaming of the American Dream?

    The US needs a revolution. Let’s not do it French style.

  10. tkreacher says

    Marcus,

    Sanders has been pretty consistent for fucking decades. You’re talking out of your ass.

  11. Dunc says

    Marcus, go eat a Snickers. You get really cynical and angry when you’re hungry.

    If you’re not really cynical and angry at this point, I have to wonder whether you’ve been paying attention.

  12. says

    @13 Dunc
    True. Perhaps it’s not so much being cynical and angry that’s the problem as it is channeling those feelings into being destructive instead of being constructive.

  13. StevoR says

    @10. Irreverend Bastard :

    I fear the Democrats are going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by going with the “acceptable” candidate, Hillary. “Acceptable” or not, she’s also much weaker against Trump than Bernie.

    Is she though? What is your basis for saying that? I’m not sure polling is a reliable guide here especially considering that the Republicans haven’t really bothered focusing on or arguing against Sanders because they don’t see him as realistically having much chance.

    Bernie as President would show everyone (except the right wing-nuts) that there is an acceptable alternative to the continuing strengthening of the established oligarchy. 4 years with Bernie might well tempt the GOP Christofascists to split off into a new party and make the remainder more palatable.

    The GOP is already pretty split with the Tea party effectively hijacking the formerly kinda moderate~ish wing and the Libertarian group too. Its a pretty riven party in severe decline – otherwise they’d have a lot better choices than the ones on offer. Not so sure its got more palatable as a result so far though – rather the opposite – but i guess we can hope

    I do not understand how the 99% keep voting the hyper-capitalists into power (and increasing riches) again and again. Are the voters asleep, dreaming of the American Dream?

    Yes. Sometimes all the above and more. Misinformed, poorly educated, confused and tribalised ,polarised and led astray (by the likes of Faux and the various Churches and Corporations and lobbies) and constantly hoping and expecting and even actually believing they’ll get a trickle down of something other than crumbs and drool and urine from the top for them. Or that they’ll be able to pull themselves up by he bootstraps to become like Trump – rich and powerful and able to impose their drunken uncle bigotry on others a she does forgetting where Truimp started and what obstacles they have but he doesn’t. I mean Trump sounds like them to a lot of them, vulgar, crude, racist, hateful, ordinary. He’s rich but not sophisticated fancy rich with y’know taste and understanding and all that fancy-schmancy intellekshual stuff above their pay grade. Trump appeals to the worst in everyone – especially the poorly educated who lack the education in say critical thinking to see how bad and how much of a con-artist liar he really is.

    The US needs a revolution. Let’s not do it French style.

    Or Russian or Egyptian or Libyan or .. so many other examples where revolutions have made things worse.

    OTOH, things can’t keep on going indefinitely the way they have been either without reaching some kind of horrible breaking point. It seems to keep on getting nastier and worse and more unequal. Escalating feedbacks and yet eventually they’ll hit a (metaphorical) wall.

  14. Holms says

    #10 Irreverant
    I fear the Democrats are going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by going with the “acceptable” candidate, Hillary. “Acceptable” or not, she’s also much weaker against Trump than Bernie.

    I do not understand how the 99% keep voting the hyper-capitalists into power (and increasing riches) again and again. Are the voters asleep, dreaming of the American Dream?

    A large amount of the reason comes from cop-out reasoning, as championed here by lorn and StevoR. You can spot them by their ‘Hillary will get more done by aiming lower’ anti-logic.

    #15 StevoR
    Is she though? What is your basis for saying that? I’m not sure polling is a reliable guide here especially considering that the Republicans haven’t really bothered focusing on or arguing against Sanders because they don’t see him as realistically having much chance.

    What do you offer as countering data? No, your hunches do not count.

  15. Dunc says

    I do not understand how the 99% keep voting the hyper-capitalists into power (and increasing riches) again and again.

    Well, it’s usually less than 60% of the 99% who bother to show up, and when they do, they’re usually only offered a choice between Hyper-Capitalist A or Hyper-Capitalist B.

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