The knives are out for Bernie Sanders as his popularity surges

Political commentators are expressing surprise at the surge in support for Bernie Sanders and already the political and media establishment are trying to find ways to undermine him. His massive fundraising haul from mostly small donations and the endorsements from unions and the rise in polls could not be ignored any longer so now they are trying to foment conflict between him and Elizabeth Warren, a naked attempt to revive the ‘Bernie Bros’ narrative that was used in the 2016 campaign by some supporters of Hillary Clinton to suggest that Sanders’ support came largely from anti-women men.

Establishment columnist Margaret Carlson is urging other Democrats to attack Sanders now “before it is too late” (i.e., before he gets an overwhelming start to the nomination) while they are quick to criticize him if he should dare say the slightest word against their favored candidates like Joe Biden, accusing him of forming a circular firing squad. There have been conflicting recollections about a meeting between Sanders and Warren in 2018, and disputes about what was actually said, especially that Bernie has been on the record for decades saying that women can be president.

Interestingly, 15 wealthy people who donated to Trump’s inaugural festivities have now contributed to the following Democratic candidates: Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper, Eric Swalwell, and John Delaney. Notice who is missing from the list? Sanders.

This article says that what sustains the Sanders campaign is its fiercely loyal and diverse base of supporters, especially among the young, who recognize in him an authentic voice for social justice, who has been on the right side of issues all his life and long before those stances went mainstream.

It was an extraordinary reversal of fortunes for a presidential candidate who, three months earlier, was in a Las Vegas hospital recovering from a heart attack. At the time, Sanders was under immense political pressure, eclipsed by fellow progressive Elizabeth Warren and counted out by many in the party and by the president.

The episode might have derailed Sanders’ second quest for the White House had it not been for his army of loyal supporters, whose abiding faith turned the Vermont senator into a formidable contender for the Democratic nomination.

With less than four weeks until voting begins and the next debate looming on Tuesday, Sanders is surging in Iowa and New Hampshire as his campaign touts new signs of growth in his support, particularly among young people of color.

In the days and weeks after Sanders’ hospitalization, an outpouring of concern and well wishes turned into a record wave of campaign donations that culminated in a “Bernie is back” rally in Queens featuring Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York congresswoman who traces her political rise to Sanders’ 2016 campaign. There, she formally endorsed him in front of more than 20,000 people.

“The heart attack was in some ways the best thing that happened to his campaign,” said Ana Maria Archila, the co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy, a coalition of progressive groups that endorsed Sanders in December.

She said it turned out to be a clarifying moment for his supporters, with Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement serving as a literal rallying cry.

“Bernie has built a movement that makes people believe a different kind of politics is possible,” she said. “So when he came back, everyone wanted him to feel the love.”

In surveys, Sanders supporters are significantly more loyal to him than those backing any other 2020 Democrat. They are more likely to say they will definitely vote for him and that they are “enthusiastic” about his candidacy.

A recent Fox News poll found Sanders defeating Trump by nearly the same margin as Biden in Wisconsin, perhaps the most critical 2020 battleground.

To win, Sanders’ campaign says he must expand the electorate by turning out a coalition of people who vote infrequently or have never voted before, including young, working-class and minority voters. Sanders’ campaign knows it must do better, particularly among black voters, a critical Democratic constituency that prefers Biden by wide margins.

But his team argues that they are making progress. New polling has him running close behind Biden in Nevada, the first state with a large Hispanic electorate to vote in the primary. And he is leading the field in California, a state with a large Hispanic electorate that is also the largest prize of the Democratic nominating contests.

Polls show Sanders beating Trump and leading in the Iowa and New Hampshire primary races.

The next Democratic presidential debate will be held today (January 14th) and you can be sure that people will be watching the dynamic between Sanders and Warren and the moderators will try to goad them into an argument because the media like CNN love personal drama more than discussing, you know, policies.

The first votes in the primary race will be cast at the Iowa caucuses in just three weeks, on Monday, February 3rd.


  1. Steve Bruce says

    Nothing surprising. They will throw everything at him- sexism, racism, anti-semitism- just like they did to Corbyn. He is a real threat to the establishment unlike Warren or even Trump.

  2. spitzmutt says

    Sorry to break the perceived composite. This 85 yo man has contributed a total of $800 to Bernie for this campaign.

    I also pester the DNC with emails to dump Biden.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    @1: it’s particularly entertaining to see them throwing anti-semitism at him.

    With Corbyn there was actually some justification (he was entirely hopeless at dealing with what is definitely a problem). On the other hand, a little part of me wishes he’d had the brass neck to point out that in all of the UK combined a total of about 29,000 Jews vote Labour, only about 10% of their tiny total population, and that those votes are heavily concentrated in big cities (London, Manchester) where Labour typically does well even without them, so, y’know… fuck em. If nothing else, it would have been fun watching the staunch Tory Chief Rabbit’s head explode.

  4. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    I just wish Bernie was pro-science on nuclear. But otherwise, Bernie is an excellent candidate, and I hope he wins the nomination and the presidency. I think he’s my foremost pick.

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