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Graham writes: "A New York City septuagenarian with nothing more than a handful of crazy ideas and a band of hardcore followers, hoping to become president of the United States? A wild-haired populist who's openly running against the establishment of the same political party whose nomination he's trying to win? A guy like that can't possibly wi ... oh, wait."

Sen. Bernie Sanders. (photo: Getty)
Sen. Bernie Sanders. (photo: Getty)

Democrats Ignore Bernie Sanders at Their Own Risk

By Michael Graham, The Boston Herald

14 March 19


New York City septuagenarian with nothing more than a handful of crazy ideas and a band of hardcore followers, hoping to become president of the United States? A wild-haired populist who’s openly running against the establishment of the same political party whose nomination he’s trying to win?

A guy like that can’t possibly wi … oh, wait.

I was at Bernie Sanders’ rally in Concord, N.H., on Sunday and, having covered the Trump campaign in 2016, it was Donald Trump deja vu all over again. The fevered zeal of the crowd, the unmoderated rhetoric of the candidate and — oddly — the dismissive attitude of the press.

Democrats desperate to dismiss Sanders as a serious contender do so at their own risk. They can insist he’s just leading a movement, firing up the fringe, etc. But Sanders doesn’t see it that way. He’s not running to make a point. He’s running to make it to Pennsylvania Avenue. And so far, it’s working.

Bernie Sanders is packing venues and powering up polls across the country. Sarah and Jacob, a local Concord couple, braved a snowstorm to see Bernie and told me, “We’re not really political people. This is the first rally we’ve ever been to.”

George W. Bush’s campaign “strategerist” Karl Rove is no Sanders fan, but he observes that since the first of the year, Sanders’ poll numbers have risen steadily, from around 16 percent of Democratic primary voters to 27 percent or so today. Meanwhile, Joe Biden’s numbers have been flat and Liz Warren — Sanders’ New Hampshire nemesis — has plunged.

But read the smart-set punditry from the D.C. crowd, and you’ll hear a lot of the same people making the same “yeah, but he can’t win” arguments they made about Donald Trump four years ago.

The Washington Post’s “Big Crowds But Some Doubt in Early States” was a typical headline. “He is not going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party,” said Clintonista and newly elected Florida congresswoman Donna Shalala.

Former DNC adviser Jamal Simmons calls Sanders “the MySpace or the Friendster of the Democratic left.”

“The campaign has moved beyond him,” Eileen McNamara of WBUR’s Cognoscenti wrote. “Bernie Sanders can be a leader helping to guide a new generation of political activists, or he can be a crusty septuagenarian refusing to surrender the stage. He can’t be both.”

Tell that to Abigail and Geri, two Nashua high schoolers who showed up to see a guy who could literally be their great-grandfather give a political speech. They’re not even old enough to vote, but they’re cheering Sanders on.

“He’s good at connecting with young people, he understands what they want,” said Geri, who also happens to be African-American. “I don’t see his age as a problem.”

“I do like some of the other Democratic candidates, but it’s just like, emotionally, they just haven’t appealed the same way, and they don’t have the same dedication that he has,” Abigail told me.

Oh, and they both made the point they’ll be old enough to vote by Election Day.

And yet establishment Democrats and their stenographers in the mainstream media continue to dismiss Sanders’ chances. My question is — who’s going to stop him?

Even as it continues to grow, the Democratic field of candidates looks smaller and smaller. Elizabeth Warren is on her last legs. Joe Biden is the Democrats’ Jeb Bush — the day he announces will be the best day of his campaign. Kamala Harris’s problematic past is beginning to catch up with her.

But nobody’s catching up with Bernie. There’s a moment in the movie “Rocky” when, early in the fight, Apollo Creed’s manager tries to get the champ to see the danger.

“He doesn’t know it’s just a damn show,” he says of Rocky Balboa. “He thinks it’s a damn fight.”

Democrats, welcome to “Rocky II.”

And remember who won that one?

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+67 # Wise woman 2019-03-14 09:55
We can all hope and pray and then roll up our shirt sleeves and get to work putting the best qualified person in the country in to the oval office!!! That would be Bernie of course.
+62 # economagic 2019-03-14 10:57
"He’s not running to make a point. He’s running to make it to Pennsylvania Avenue."

Well, yes, but the reason he is running to make it to Pennsylvania Avenue is that he is running to do what one man can to thwart the vandals and thieves who have been running the Republican party forever (but especially since 1994, the year of the Newt's (Contract On America"), and the Republican Lites who have been running the Democratic party--into the ground--since 1992.
+59 # chrisconno 2019-03-14 11:49
Bernie, no matter his age, says all the right things and can back up his sincerity with a lifetime stellar record of staying true to his words. I quit contributing to the democratic party after the last convention. I only give directly to the candidates I think hold true to Bernie style social democracy.
+17 # tsyganka 2019-03-14 18:47
Good on you. I've done the same. If enough of us do that and tell the party Why, it may become enlightened. A lightening of their money bags seems to facilitate t hat.

As to age, people who reach their 70s in good condition now live longer and healthier than anyone in their 70s ever has before. Bernie (unlike Fatso the Orange) is in excellent shape.

The only thing that bothers me about Bernie at this point is that he's again said that he'll back the Democratic candidate if he doesn't get the nomination. If we get another person as widely despised as Clinton, or some other F-wad such as Biden, Harris, Booker, O'Rourke - hell, Any of the ones who are running with the Possible exceptions of Gabbard, Inslee, Warren, and Hickenlooper - then we're sunk.

We need to do all we can to ensure that Bernie gets the nomination.
+22 # rural oregon progressive 2019-03-14 19:05
My wife and I did the same thing... And when the Democratic Party calls, as they do from time to time, we spend an hour or so carefully explaining WHY we no longer donate to the Party. And we tell them that until and unless the Party comes back to us, we will not be participating in "the party". We pointed out all the ways that the Democratic Party has swung to the right with specific examples.
+33 # wrknight 2019-03-14 11:53
"Who'w going to stop him?"

The super-delegates . The Democratic party is very skilled at shooting itself in the foot.
+8 # tsyganka 2019-03-14 18:52
Amazingly, Perez has said that the D party has limited the power (particularly first-ballot power) of its so-called super-delegates . But then again, Perez had a role in shoving Bernie types out of the DNC, so who knows.

Fatso the Orange says that 'his' cops, military, Bikers for Trump' and other MAGAts will stop twumpie's opponents. I doubt it.
+12 # rural oregon progressive 2019-03-15 03:19
And therein lies the problem... The DNC keeps encouraging more and more neo-libs into the race. That way, they dilute the field to make sure that nobody has the majority on the first ballot... Then, they magically have their super-delegates vote on the second ballot (for an establishment Dem). Limited power, my ass! The DNC will pull out all of the stops to prevent the honest candidate from prevailing. The Establishment is determined to stay in power (absolute power). And in the end, the establishment (right and left) control the voting machines and their penchant for fractional voting in order to control the final tallies. In order to have true and honest elections, we NEED paper ballots that can be verified. Nothing has changed since 2016 and we are still in peril of another rigged primary, and general election.
+5 # Painter 2019-03-17 00:56
Maybe if a lot of us wrote to the DNC saying we would not contribute to the DNC until it supported progressive candidates, it would make an impression? DNC contact:
+7 # Dale 2019-03-14 11:57
To win against a Corporate Dem sponsered by the party hierarchy, Bernie needs to backtrap on his statement on Venezuela regime change. If the upsurge of progressives fail to get his or other progressive candidate then the answer is to withdraw from, the probabaly hopeless, Dems and start a third party to run against Republican Zombies and Corporate Democrats.
+30 # jimallyn 2019-03-14 12:01
The Democrats don't care if they elect a Republican - again - even if it's Donald Trump. They WANT to elect a Republican. Sure, they may have a slight preference for a Democratic Republican over a Republican Republican, but as long as a Republican is elected, they really don't care.

"The Democratic Party would rather lose than elect a progressive." — Nick Brana
+39 # apotem 2019-03-14 12:05
Democratic establishment is about the money, not fresh, progressive ideas.
+34 # HenryS1 2019-03-14 12:19
The forces arrayed against him are formidable precisely because he is a real threat.

He is substance against style.

I actually doubt he can win, but that is the case for anybody running against Trump. But the more he can get his message out, the more hope there is for this country.

It is too bad that Elizabeth Warren has not been able to get traction. Beto and Biden are only appealing insofar as they are less evil than others.

I do hope that the Democrats don't wound themselves too badly through infighting. My feeling about the Democratic Party is the same as for Beto and Biden, the level of corruption is less, and some of the ideals they give lip service to have value, but the way that Bernie was sabotaged when he ran before shows how ugly the inner working of the Democratic power structure are.
+31 # dandevries 2019-03-14 12:27
Besides his commitment to Democratic Socialism, what I appreciate about Bernie is the fact that he has held consistent principles throughout his long political career. He certainly can, and should be, elected President. How quaint of the MSM to try to discredit him.
+34 # Moxa 2019-03-14 13:30
The differences between Sanders and the majority of the rest of the Democratic 2020 hopefuls are so great that it seems impossible that the MSM don't "get it". More likely they do get it--loud and clear--and it is those differences they can't abide.

They say he can't win because they know that with a level playing field--i.e. a fair minded media attitude toward him--he would very LIKELY win. Saying he can't win is propaganda, to try to insure he DOESN'T win, by making people think his time has come and gone, if he ever had a time.

They say younger candidates can replace him. But the only younger candidates who actually have progressive bona fides are similarly smeared and/or ignored completely. Tulsi Gabbard is a good example. I watched her recently at her town hall, all genuine "aloha" and strength even as Dana Bash, the moderator, asked her would-be GOTCHA questions. Tulsi is a real progressive and especially critical of wars--something the corporatocracy cannot stand.

The ones whom the media considers serious replacements for Bernie--e.g. Kamala Harris and Beto O'Rourke--are so much less credible than he, based on their actual past history.

That is why the MSM like them. They don't represent real change. Of the top candidates, only Bernie realizes the world is on fire, and cares deeply about it.

One has the feeling Bernie doesn't even want to be president. He just realizes he is the only one who can both win and the get the job done right.
+16 # tsyganka 2019-03-14 19:16
Good points.

We have NOT forgotten Biden's disgraceful treatment of Anita Hill, his war support, his making bankruptcy harder to declare for suffering people, his support of greedy credit card corporations, his getting his son Hunter on the BoD of Bursima after the overthrow of Ukraine, and so forth.

Likewise, we have NOT forgotten Harris's support of the death penalty, her upholding convictions wrongfully secured by the prosecutors when she was California's A.G., her punishment of parents for their children's behavior (truancy) that the parents couldn't stop, thus dragging more low-income and minority people into court and jail and costing them the little money that they had, and so forth. -- Why did she become a prosecutor anyway instead of a public defender? Prosecutors too often abet the racism and other bigotry in a system known to be biased against anyone who's not rich and white.

We need to mock, contradict, and reason down the considerable propaganda against Bernie. He's the president we want, as he's the consistently straightforward one with the platform that we need.

And I wouldn't mind it at all if he or anyone else came up with a finished version of FDE's economic bill of rights.
-2 # Trumpistheswamp 2019-03-14 14:58
Bernie, Liz warren or Jill Stein.
+2 # stoher9 2019-03-14 15:58
Quoting Trumpistheswamp:
Bernie, Liz warren or Jill Stein.

Jill Stein is just another vote for Trump. Didn't any of you "statement" makers get the last election? America is a 2 party democracy, not a parliamentarian democracy. A vote for a 3rd party candidate is a vote for the candidate whose views are furthest from that 3rd party candidate.
+5 # economagic 2019-03-14 21:04
Didn't any of you "lesser evil" folks get that voting for evil still gets you evil? If I'm going to be shot I would rather it be in the head (Republican) than in the stomach (Democorps), a long and painful death, and I would rather it be by an avowed enemy that I didn't vote for than by someone claiming to be my friend who obviously isn't.
-7 # wrknight 2019-03-14 17:13
Bernie & Jill.
+11 # tsyganka 2019-03-14 19:00
Not Stein. She shows up every 4 years, but hasn't done any organizing in between. Moreover, I think she still has fossil fuels in her portfolio.
+19 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-03-14 14:59
Bernie is "the real deal". The rest of the Democrats are "Johnnie Come Latelys".
VOTE BERNIE. He may be our last chance.
+5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-15 07:34
Sanders is a populist insurgent candidate. He has always been that. He isn't even a democrat. He's been a socialist and then later an independent. Most people like that. There are more people registered as "independent" than are registers in both establishment parties.

This is both about the good policies Sanders advocates and about the death of the two formerly hegemonic parties. Trump is an insurgent and has broken up the old republican party. He is no good but he appeals to people's animosity toward the mainstream republicans like the Bushes and the mainstream media which supports them -- the NYT, Wapo, all cable news.

I hope Sanders' popularity continues to grow. People will certainly continue to be attracted to his policies. But the democratic party and the major media are very powerful and they know what they want to do. I think it is going to get very rough. They have run a really bullshit Russiagate scam against Trump. I expect to see the same kind of thing against Sanders coming out pretty soon.
+8 # Peter Lindbergh 2019-03-16 06:24
+4 # upsetter 2019-03-16 18:20
RBG is not going to last another presidential term. Thomas has been rumored to possibly be retiring. The Court is going to be 6-3. I bet they champion ALL progressive ideas. VOTE democrat. It's a 2 party system, for f*#k sakes. Here we go again. If Sanders gets the nomination then he gets my vote. If not I vote the best option not stay at home. Can our planet take 4 more years of Trump? Can the world take 4 more years? A democrat is the only hope to give progressive policy a chance.
+5 # librarian1984 2019-03-17 07:23
Your post suggests you want to be seen as rational but your message is irrational.

Why is this addressed to progressives? Why not tell 'moderates' that if Sanders wins the nomination they should get behind him .. because THAT is where the problem lies.

The establishment has shown they are willing to rig the primaries and cheat on funding to keep a progressive out of the nomination EVEN IF THAT IS THE CANDIDATE THE VOTERS PREFER.

IF they had run fair primaries Sanders would have won both the nomination and the presidency.

Your post makes it sound like progressives are the problem, but many progressives voted for Clinton (more than her supporters voted for Obama, btw) -- and more would have done so if she hadn't cheated and repeatedly attacked them.

Address your comments to the neoliberals and it would make more sense.

If a progressive wins the nomination, will the establishment support him/her?
-1 # johnescher 2019-03-17 07:57
Your post, librarian1984, would make more sense if you identified the "you" to whom you refer.
0 # librarian1984 2019-03-19 15:54
Lacking substance and accuracy, as usual.
0 # librarian1984 2019-03-19 15:56
Pardon. You, johnescher, lack substance and accuracy. Don't let the agenda drive.

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