Pro-Clinton media pundits are having a field day, painting Bernie Sanders supporters as evil for the fervor with which they want to get Sanders elected – to the point of attempting to make Sanders guilty, by association, of putting them up to it.
But the truth is far simpler than that. The ugly truth is that voters are “woke.” This election cycle, the stakes are the very survival of tens of millions of people who are close to the precipice, in a nation that is on the verge of a plutocratic takeover. They know we got to this moment in time through every compromise and triangulation of our most basic and cherished principles of ethics. Voters know that by continuously electing the lesser of two choices, we have gradually lost so much ground that we are now faced with a greatly shrunk middle class, a growing underclass made of the millions of people who lost everything to the great recession, and are in danger of condemning their children and grandchildren to the same fate, depending on how they vote this year.
What Susan Sarandon said, in her own way, is that there’s a hell of a lot at stake and, to many millions of voters, it is cause enough to completely rethink their voting strategy.
But the media doesn’t see it that way, nor is it willing to even entertain the notion that it might be culpable for much of the voter anger and intransigence we are witnessing today. Jonathan Capehart writes:
“When Hayes asked Sarandon if she didn’t think that argument was “dangerous,” she said, “The status quo is not working, and I think it’s dangerous to think that we can continue the way we are with the militarized police force, with privatized prisons, with the death penalty, with the low minimum wage, with threats to women’s rights and think that you can’t do something huge to turn that around.”
Let me state clearly that the passion with which Sarandon campaigns for Sanders is something we need more of in American politics. If more were as engaged and active as she is, our ongoing national discussion of the issues would be as dynamic as they would be thrilling. But the Academy Award-winning actress displayed the downside of such fervent participation: the inability or unwillingness of too many to see that their insistence on political purity could lead to calamity.”
In a Facebook video, New York Times columnist, Charles M. Blow had this to say:
What Blow says would be fine, were it not for his newspaper and the vast majority of its counterparts’ shenanigans, both misinforming the public, misleading it, or outright withholding news from their respective readerships in an all-out effort to prop the candidacy of a candidate whom they endorsed well before she is even assured of clinching her party’s nomination – much less winning the presidency.
It is easy for people like Blow, Capehart and the rest of the pundit class, including Chris Hayes, to continually tarnish Sanders by characterizing his candidacy as “rainbows and unicorns” all the while attempting to denigrate him by vilifying his so-called surrogates and then painting millions of voters as irresponsibly flirting with imminent danger. These pundits not only do so from a very privileged place: the relative economic comfort of the top tier of a disappearing middle class, but from a corporate-owned media that has done more than at any other point in time to force its will in an election season. This time, however, be it thanks to the internet and greater public awareness, or be it thanks to the depths of public desperation in the face of the incongruity of life as it is lived in America versus life as it is painted by the media, voters just aren’t buying the bill of goods they are being sold.
As I wrote in my 2014 post, “Lessons for Progressives:”
“Four years ago, I wondered out loud, in some of my New York Times comments whether progressives wouldn’t be better off cutting their losses and leaving the party. At the time, one could still reasonably argue that the losses resulting from such a departure just weren’t warranted and that working within the party was a sounder approach. This reasoning remained somewhat true in 2012. It wasn’t last week and I have serious doubt that it will be the case in 2016, based on current party dynamics. Election 2014 losses, in large part, stemmed from the gross under-representation of progressives in the party leadership and the steadfast refusal of neoliberal party leaders to share power with those who represent the prevailing view in the electorate. They weren’t willing to bend to the will of their constituents before the election and they aren’t now.”
The DNC has continued its attempt at manipulating the system and forcing its choice of candidate on its voters. Unfortunately for it, those attempts have not succeeded and they’ve been transparent to rank and file Democrats. While the GOP’s troubles are in the form of a very ugly public implosion, the Democratic revolution, will be not in the form of an ugly public leadership fight but, rather, the far quieter result of voter indifference and a repeat of 2014, when its candidates simply fail to get elected. The lesson of 2014 should have been to listen to voters. The DNC has refused to.
Of course, if you’re a voter who, like me, after a year of watching the media play one shenanigan after another, including giving Donald Trump billions of dollars’ worth of free exposure, see things through a slightly jaundiced lens. When you are a voter who, like my family, is now faced with homelessness and no way to cure it, or are so perilously close to that point that you can’t see decent jobs materializing as you’re at the end of everything and our politics are as polarized as ever, then something extreme to end a never-ending stalemate begins to makes sense for the long term.
So far, the voting public has been led to believe that only the short term is of import. Years later, people are realizing that short term decisions lead to long-term misery and decline. After so many cycles of going for the least terrible option we finally have a candidate who offers the best possible option and the corporate media absolutely hates the idea. But, “We, the people” outnumber the corporate media. It may well be, when all is said and done and we’ve all had our chance to vote – that’ll be in June for me, here in California – that Bernie Sanders will be the overwhelming popular choice the super-delegates will be faced with and the conundrum for the Democratic party may well end up being the same one the GOP is facing: popular candidates and party establishments that don’t want them.
When we are told that we must accept what the candidate the Clinton-favoring media is pushing on us because Bernie Sanders is really Susan Sarandon and Killer Mike, but Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright aren’t Hillary, we push back, all the way, and reject the press. Bernie Sanders isn’t responsible for what his voters are willing or unwilling to do. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is responsible when she stands by her surrogates and laughs when they make insulting remarks about her potential voters. See how that works?
Not so long ago, February 2016, as a matter of fact, when Madeleine Albright insulted American women by saying there is a special place in hell for women who won’t vote for Hillary Clinton, she was criticized, to the point where she ended up having to publish a public apology in the New York Times. No progressive accused Hillary Clinton or her supporters of treachery, instead, focusing on criticizing the messenger: Mrs. Albright. But what did Clinton do, as she stood next to Albright on the same stage from which she insulted young women voters? Watch:
Albright’s most unfortunate comments came right on the heels of a huge faux pas by feminist icon Gloria Steinem, while on the Bill Maher show, Real Time:
Steinem’s comment was sexist – something that might be expected from any other woman, but not a long-time leader of the feminist movement.
The same accusations were leveled against Sanders voters when Killer Mike, quoting a feminist, said this:
As I wrote in a contemporaneous blog post, Mike was quoting a feminist advocate who was addressing the issue of voting one’s conscience, rather than one’s gender. But that distinction was set aside by a majority of the press in favor of accusing Mike of sexism and Sanders of having a “bad following.”
But when one has the full context of both Albright and Steinem’s statements, one can easily fault them for the things they said. There was nothing redeeming about what they said, either immediately before or after they said it, given the full context in which they were made. That isn’t the case with Killer Mike, in his Morehouse University speech.
Like it or not, Sarandon’s assessment of voter sentiment is right in quite a few respects, including her assertion that, as a society, we are where we are today because we’ve fallen too many times for the “lesser of two evils” and progressive voters are in no mood to perpetuate the trope.
The economic situation is far starker than the media has been reporting for many months. While a lot of new jobs have been created, a true fact, the media has reported very little about what those jobs pay, acknowledged the existence of a new permanent underclass called “precariat,” or made the connection between them and a significant uptick in homelessness all around the nation.
It takes a special kind of chutzpah to look your viewers in the eye, call yourself a progressive or even a liberal, and then proceed to call them traitors for acting in a manner that is consistent with their beliefs. It also takes a special kind of chutzpah by the Clinton campaign to put up the media to make a brouhaha over some actress’ statements as if Sanders himself had made them all the while sending Clinton’s campaign manager to say that “Senator Sanders doesn’t get to decide when we debate” and no debate with Sanders until he acts nicer toward her. Really? Is that how Clinton plans on behaving if she goes up against Trump? If she does, he’ll make mince meat out of her!
Aside from Clinton’s problems with trust, her constant pivots leftward in order to keep up with Sanders’ popularity and the dirty whisper campaigns through a largely sympathetic mainstream media, her behavior has been less than professional. The only reason it has been ignored by the media is the ugly nature of the GOP primary and the sensationalism and money it has derived from it. That sensationalism may be providing cover for a large swath of Clinton voters, but progressives have been taking notice all along and remain undeterred in their determination to get their candidate elected.
If the corporate media doesn’t want Trump to win in the general election, it had better make sure it changes its tactics and gives Bernie Sanders fair coverage. His voters are intent on Sanders winning the nomination, in spite of the media creating narratives that either erase Sanders or minimize his achievements thus far. Mainstream media needs to stop acting as advocates for Clinton and act like the press corp they are supposed to be. The media needs to reach deep inside and find a semblance of neutrality or else risk waking up the day after the election and explain to a disgusted public why it took a chance and turned off millions of disgusted voters.
The bottom line is that the primary is hardly over and no winner has been declared. A little over 200 delegates difference between Clinton and Sanders, at this point in time, hardly qualifies as a slam dunk. As Charles Blow wrote in 2012, “the fat lady is in the wings, gargling with honey and lemon juice.”
So, go right ahead, media pundits! Keep up the work alienating voters! Keep it up alienating your viewers, listeners, and readers. Risk losing your audience. More importantly, risk alienating the voters with your attempts to convince them there is only one choice and convince them even more that the game is rigged and their votes don’t matter.
Neither the DNC, the Clinton campaign, or the media have learned the lessons of Election 2014. The simple truth is that when Democratic voters are disgusted, they stay home. That’s how the GOP won back Congress and increased its hold over the states in 2014 . With the media’s continued vilification of Bernie Sanders and his voters, that is precisely how Donald Trump will win.
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Transcript of All In With Chris Hayes interview with actress Susan Sarandon:
HAYES: So, you`ve been on the campaign trail with Bernie Sanders quite a bit, a bunch of states. I`m always curious what you feel like, what do you get from that?
SUSAN SARANDON, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: Oh, wow, so much hope and so much connection with an America that I haven`t seen.
I mean, I`ve driven across country a while back and I worked in Iowa, but to actually have the opportunity to talk to people and so moved by their passion and there`s a lot of independent thinkers in the middle of this country. And to see them give their time and their passion and be so
vulnerable that way to want to be engaged again after not having anyone really that they trusted or spoke to them and see thousands upon thousands of people turn out and also thousands of volunteers from other places and to visit those little offices and to introduce him in the beginning when he didn`t have any security whatsoever and now there`s also these guys, secret service traveling with him and everything.
But I really want to be on the right side of history, and this is a shot
that we`re not going to have again in my lifetime to have a candidate
that`s so morally consistent, makes decisions, whose judgment proves to be true, but does it at a time when it`s not popular, when it`s not comfortable, a candidate whose not taken any money from fracking or Monsanto, or, you know, super PACs or Wall Street or all of the farm, big farm, you known, which all the other candidates have.
And those are issues that are really important to me. So, to have a guy that`s that consistent, that is that clean, is just not going to happen again.
HAYES: You just said on the right side of history, which is interesting to me. I think in certain quarters there`s growing concern that the folks that are into Bernie Sanders have come to despise Hillary Clinton or reject Hillary Clinton and that should she be the nominee, which is as yet undetermined, they will walk away.
SARANDON: That`s been a legitimate concern, because they`ve very passionate and very principled. And…
HAYES: But isn`t that crazy?
If you believe in what he believes in.
SARANDON: Yeah, but she doesn`t. She`s accepted money for all of those people. She doesn`t want to fight for a $15 minimum wage. So, these are people that have not come out before. So, why would we think they would come out for her.
HAYES: You really that?
SARANDON: I think there`s a good possibility. I talk to people who either want to write – I talk to Republicans who have written him in already. And they just feel like she`s not authentic. That she`s a liar. That they don`t trust her so what difference does it make.
You know, if you`re a small farmer and you`re worried about fracking on your property. In Idaho they just passed a bill where they can frack on private land, and you know that she`s taken money from fracking, why would you think that that`s – she`s going to have your back?
HAYES: Well, because they make the argument that there are all kinds of politicians, Barack Obama is the one that Hillary Clinton cites all the time, who have done things to effectively reign in industries, or reform industries, that they have taken money from.
SARANDON: I`d like to see that…
HAYES: You don`t buy it at all.
SARANDON: No, I don`t buy it all, because she`s been selling fracking all over the world. There`s her talking about Monsanto and how clean not talking about Roundup or what they put in it or what it`s done to our economy. and they know that jobs are going out, you know, Bernie doesn`t — voted against NAFTA, you know, TPP, you know all these things coming up that know effect their jobs. And she`s not on the right side of that. She hasn`t voted right.
So, what would you make think that once she gets in she is going to
suddenly go against the people that have given her millions and millions of dollars. I think that`s being incredibly naive and egotistical to think suddenly she`s going to see the right, you know.
HAYES: Right, but isn`t the question always in an election about choices, right. I mean, I think a lot of people think to themselves well if it`s Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and I think Bernie Sanders probably would think this…
SARANDON: I think Bernie probably would encourage people because he doesn`t have any ego. I think a lot of people are sorry, I can`t bring myself to do that.
HAYES: How about you personally?
SARANDON: I don`t know. I`m going to see what happens.
HAYES: I cannot believe as you`re watching the, if Donald Trump…
SARANDON: Some people feel Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in then things will really, you know explode.
HAYES: You`re saying the Leninist model of…
SARANDON: Some people feel that.
HAYES: Don`t you think that`s dangerous?
SARANDON: I think what`s going on now. If you think it`s pragmatic to shore up the status quo right now, then you`re not in touch with the status quo. The statue quo is not working, and I think it`s dangerous to think that we can continue the way we are with the militarized police force, with privatized prisons, with the death penalty, with the low minimum wage, with threats to women`s rights and think that you can`t do something huge to turn that around. Because the country is not in good shape if you`re in the middle class. It`s disappearing.
And you look if you want to go see Michael Moore`s documentary, you`ll see it`s pretty funny the way they describe it. But you`ll see that health care and education in all these other countries, we`ve been told for so long that it`s impossible, it`s like we`ve been in this bad relationship and now we have to break up with the guy because we realize we`re worth it.
We should have these things. We have to stop prioritizing war – and I don`t like the fact she talks about Henry Kissinger as being her go to guy for the stuff that`s happened in Libya and other things I don`t think is good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Click here to read the transcript for the entire All In with Chris Hayes show for March 28, 2016