Today is the New York state primary that it looks like Bernie Sanders will lose, even though some national polls have recently shown a steady tightening of the race with just a two point gap between them, down from nine points just a month ago. The establishment media will seize on a Hillary Clinton win of any size to suggest that Sanders has lost and should leave the race. It is interesting to note that although both Trump and Clinton lead in the delegate counts of their respective parties by roughly the same amounts, Trump is always portrayed as if he is in a precarious situation while Clinton is seen as inevitable. Could this be because he is opposed by the establishment while she is favored by them?
Matt Taibbi argues that those Democrats who dismiss the enthusiastic support of young people for the Sanders campaign as being impractical and that we need the pragmatic compromising of a Clinton are missing the big picture and that we have been sold a bill of goods by the Clintons and other Democratic centrists who have gradually ditched all their former principles.
The new Democratic version of idealism came in a package called “transactional politics.” It was about getting the best deal possible given the political realities, which we were led to believe were hopelessly stacked against the hopes and dreams of the young.
Young people have repudiated the campaign of Hillary Clinton in overwhelming and historic fashion, with Bernie Sanders winning under-30 voters by consistently absurd margins, as high as 80 to 85 percent in many states. He has done less well with young African-American voters, but even there he’s seen some gains as time has gone on. And the energy coming from the pre-middle-aged has little to do with an inability to appreciate political reality.
Instead, the millions of young voters that are rejecting Hillary’s campaign this year are making a carefully reasoned, even reluctant calculation about the limits of the insider politics both she and her husband have represented.
For young voters, the foundational issues of our age have been the Iraq invasion, the financial crisis, free trade, mass incarceration, domestic surveillance, police brutality, debt and income inequality, among others.
And to one degree or another, the modern Democratic Party, often including Hillary Clinton personally, has been on the wrong side of virtually all of these issues.
Young people don’t see the Sanders-Clinton race as a choice between idealism and incremental progress. The choice they see is between an honest politician, and one who is so profoundly a part of the problem that she can’t even see it anymore.
They’ve seen in the last decades that politicians who promise they can deliver change while also taking the money, mostly just end up taking the money.
And they’re voting for Sanders because his idea of an entirely voter-funded electoral “revolution” that bars corporate money is, no matter what its objective chances of success, the only practical road left to break what they perceive to be an inexorable pattern of corruption.
Young people aren’t dreaming. They’re thinking. And we should listen to them.
And right on cue, as if to underscore this ‘taking of money’ that has led to the disconnect between the Democratic establishment ethos and the zeitgeist among the young, wealthy backers of Clinton that included a venture capitalist and actor George Clooney recently hosted a fundraiser in San Francisco in which guests paid up $353,000 to attend. This is, as even Clooney conceded, an obscene amount of money.
Speaking to NBC’s Meet the Press, the actor was asked by host Chuck Todd whether the sums involved in his events, such as $353,400 a couple to be a “co-chair”, were, as critics and protesters have said, obscene.
“Yes,” he said. “I think it’s an obscene amount of money. I think – you know that we had some protesters last night when we pulled up in San Francisco and they’re right to protest, they’re absolutely right, it is an obscene amount of money.
“The Sanders campaign when they talk about it is absolutely right. It’s ridiculous that we should have this kind of money in politics. I agree, completely.”
Sanders also appeared on Sunday morning shows, telling CNN’s State of the Union he had “a lot of respect for George Clooney’s honesty and integrity on this issue”.
“One of the great tragedies is that big money is buying elections,” he said, adding that party leaders should not be “responsive to the needs of Wall Street and wealthy campaign contributors”.
“There is something wrong when a few people, in this case wealthy individuals are able to contribute unbelievably large sums of money,” Sanders said. “That is not what democracy is about. That is a movement toward oligarchy.”
“This is the issue of American politics today. Do we have a government that represents all of us or represents the 1%?”
This buying of access to candidates by the wealthy prompted demonstrations in San Francisco and highlighted the difference in attitudes between the supporters of the two candidates.
Nearly 200 Bernie Sanders supporters gathered last night with pots and pans outside Shervin Pishevar’s star-studded Clinton fundraiser, co-hosted by George and Amal Clooney. The Sanders supporters argued corporate interests were buying Clinton that night – tickets for Pishevar’s dinner started at $33,400 (for a seat at the Fairmont hotel) and went up to $353,400 (for a seat at his house). Most of those in the streets were young, and many were in tech.
Before marching, the protesters gathered for a potluck on a warm afternoon in Huntington Park, at the top of the tony Nob Hill neighborhood and the epicenter of old town San Francisco. People brought enchiladas, sandwiches, oatmeal cookies. When one man rolled up with a stroller stacked with half a dozen pizzas, everyone cheered.
Sanders has become something of a cult hero to the group.
Last year I wrote about a conference I attended that was held at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill at which there was also a ‘mystery guest’ whom it did not take much deducing to figure out was president Obama. It was indeed a very posh hotel, the kind of place that I would never dream of staying at of my own volition because of its opulence and price but would be just ho-hum to people like the Clintons and the crowd they move among.