The Nevada caucuses for the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee were held this past weekend and Bernie Sanders won a resounding victory, besting his second place finisher Joe Biden, by more than 20 percentage points. The win sent shock waves through mainstream media as the punditry class was unable to comprehend why Bernie Sanders won by such a large margin. The mainstream media’s inability to understand the appeal of the Sanders campaign is tantamount to the establishment’s inability to understand the concerns of the electorate.
The day before the Nevada caucuses, a story was reported by the Washington Post that US Intel officials had informed the Sanders campaign that Russia was attempting to help his election campaign. After telling Russia to stay out of our elections, Sanders then replied with the tweet that was heard round the world (or at least the twitter-sphere).
To say that this tweet, along with Sanders’s overwhelming victory in Nevada, elicited a strong reaction from the mainstream media would be a gross understatement. Both pundits and those opposed to the Sanders campaign (differences that don’t bare much of a distinction these days) proceeded to lose their mind. The peak of the mainstream media hysteria was the following rant by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.
Most of the internet is still trying to figure out how a pundit could compare the supporters of a Jewish candidate, a candidate with relatives murdered in the Holocaust, to the Third Reich. That task might prove to be insoluble.
Another pundit, Nicole Wallace, a former communications official for the Bush administration, in an interview with long time democratic strategist James Carville, described Sanders supporters, the largest and most diverse coalition of any candidate, as a “squeaky and angry minority”.
Not to be outdone, Carville then claimed that Russian president, Vladimir Putin, was gleefully watching the results of his clandestine operation to overthrow American democracy by enabling Sanders’s victory in the nation’s 35th most populous state.
Witness a panicking Joy Anne Reid, also of MSNBC, imploring establishment Democrats “to figure out what they’re going to do about that”, referring to the surging Sanders Campaign, as if there is something they should or could do in the first place.
The coverage across all of the mainstream media rang a similar bell of dismay and incredulity, as pundit after pundit were, somehow, dumbfounded by the broad appeal of a candidate whose campaign messaging includes medicare for all, free public university tuition, and economic and social justice.
The punditry class, especially those working for MSNBC, kept asking why? How could this be happening? What are democrats going to do about this? Ignoring the obvious answer, that the Democratic establishment should take heed of their electorate’s concerns, the media spent the entire news cycle remarking on how they didn’t understand Sanders’s appeal.
If a candidate didn’t have any grassroots support, then explaining their appeal, or lack thereof, would be trivial, as there would be no base of voters from which to discern any enthusiasm. However, if a particular candidate happened to have the broadest and most diverse coalition of supporters of any candidate in an electoral race, then perhaps said candidate’s message and its resonance with voters might explain said candidates appeal. That the mainstream media is bewildered by the support of the surging Sanders campaign is merely a symptom. The cause of their befuddlement is a way of thinking built firmly on the foundation of an establishment that is both blind and deaf to the afflictions of the working class.
The incredulity displayed by the media, the complete inability to understand why Sanders’s voting base is the most passionate and fastest growing of any Democratic presidential nominee, why his base of “Bernie bro’s” continuously broadens; bringing in voters of a multitude of backgrounds, from working class, to college students, to the highest percentages of voters of nearly every measurable demographic, is due to a bubble built by the inculcation of the establishment’s economic class, privilege, and most of all, power.
The enthusiasm felt for a campaign with an unapologetically left wing populist message is bursting that bubble, and the media, serving as a veritable spokesperson for the establishment, is freaking out. A layman, trying to answer the question of what are democrats going to do?, would be more than capable of suggesting the Democratic party simply heed the demands of their own voting base. The media however, would seem to suggest that policies, undoubtedly energizing a democratic base and meant to improve the quality of lives for the majority of Americans, not only have inexplicable support, but furthermore need to be stopped.
The day after Sanders’s victory, yet another story was published, this time by CNN, reporting that US Intel officials may have overstated Russia aiding the Sanders campaign. This begs yet another question, this time perplexing the American populace; why doesn’t the media understand the public mistrust for them and the establishment?