Bernie Sanders Is The Future Of The Democratic Party–And Party Leaders Ignore This At Their Own Peril

Bernie Sanders Oregon

Bernie Sanders is creating a tremendous amount of excitement in the Democratic Party, but much of the media is trying to downplay this. Politico showed why it is frequently called Tiger Beat of the Potomac in an article which totally misses the big story of the year.  The authors ask, Can Bernie Sanders Win the Love of a Party He Scorns?  They miss the point that Sanders’ independence from the Democratic establishment is one of his strengths, not a weakness. This year both parties have a candidate who is outside the mainstream but, unlike Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders can win elections and can make an excellent president.

The support for Sanders can be seen in the crowds who come to see him, such as 28,000 in Portland last weekend. He is pulling in the biggest crowds of any candidate, from either party. Many in the media claim he is unelectable, as if his twenty-five years in Congress still leaves him too far outside the system to be taken seriously, Even the Politico article cited above notes that he was successful at passing amendments in a conservative Congress. National Nurses United recognized his track record in endorsing him on Monday.

Sanders is surging in the polls in some states, including the first contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. He has pulled into a statistical tie in New Hampshire, and we have seen in past elections that the winner of the early contests receives a major bounce in the national polls. General election polling shows him gaining in strength in the battleground states while support for Clinton is dropping.

While anecdotal findings have little predictive value, I cannot help but be impressed by the support for Sanders on social media. One of his comments on the Republican debate became the most retweeted comment of the night. I am amazed that one of my early posts on Sanders entitled Former Clinton Adviser Predicts Bernie Sanders Will Beat Hillary Clinton has received over 16,000 Facebook “Likes” as of this evening, and the number is continuing to grow. When my wife and I wore a Sanders t-shirt while traveling in New Hampshire and Maine last month numerous people came up to me to say how much they love Bernie. It was if I was a celebrity just by wearing the shirt.

Democrats have had a problem in recent years. Polls show a majority supporting Democratic positions but Democrats have been losing elections, except for the two years Barack Obama was on the ballot. Democrats having been losing badly in Congress and many state governments. Returning to the Politico article, the truth of the matter is that many of us who have voted Democratic also scorn the party, and many other potential voters stay home. While some partisan Democrats might oppose Sanders for being an independent, many Democrats, as well as independents, will be more likely to support Sanders because of his independence.

Democratic leaders base their strategy on getting people to vote against the Republicans, not necessarily for the Democrats. They ran Republican-lite candidates in 2014, and were slaughtered in the midterms as many Democratic voters saw no reason to vote. Now the party leadership is pushing the candidacy of another Republican-lite politician for president, hoping that things will be different in a general election than in a midterm. While certainly preferable to the Republicans, Hillary Clinton’s views are far too close to those of the Republicans for many Democratic voters to accept, no matter how much she now tries to copy ideas which Sanders promoted years ago.

Rather than embracing a candidate who is pulling in such popular support, the Democratic National Committee has been trying to rig the contest to favor Hillary Clinton. While Republicans have started debating, the DNC is limiting Democrats to six debates, starting in October, and forcing candidates to agree not to participate in any debates not sponsored by the party. How undemocratic can the Democratic Party be?

People are supporting Sanders because he is seen as honest, and outside the dirty politics we have experienced. Instead of embracing this opportunity, the Democratic leadership is pushing Hillary Clinton, who is involved in one of the biggest scandals since Watergate, placing not only the presidential ticket but all Democrats running in 2016 at an unnecessary risk of defeat. It makes no sense to push for a candidate who is rightly seen as dishonest by a majority of voters , and frequently shown to be dishonest by fact checkers, when there is a far better, and honest, alternative. Initially Clinton supporters claimed that it was necessary to support Clinton in order to avoid a Republican victory. Will they now back Sanders as the polls increasingly show that he would make the stronger candidate in the general election?

Update: Sanders had a crowd of 27,500 in Los Angeles

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19 Comments

  1. 1
    colleen says:

    I have been getting hundreds of friend requests on FB as a supporter of Bernie from others who also support him.  What has surprised me most is that so many are Republican, Independent, and even Libertarian.  People recognize the qualities important for a president: intelligence, integrity, continuity, and commitment.  Bernie is all of these things and more.  Go Bernie!!!

  2. 2
    Ed Foster says:

    Over 75,000 people have shown up in the last 3 days. This brings the total amount of people that have turned up to his rallies to over 150,000 so far. I've checked, That is more than twice as many that have attended all the other candidate for ALL the other candidates COMBINED!! DNC and HRC are going to get a VERY RUDE awakening!!!

  3. 3
    Stephen Justino says:

    Bernie Sanders addresses INSTITUTIONAL RACISM in America . . . and purposes comprehensive, "no-nonsense," Criminal Justice/Prison/Economic, reforms to take the pernicious problem head-on.

    Bernie is a very different kind of politician. He doesn't use the typical, political, "weasal-words." And he doesn't tell everyone what they want to hear just to gain their support. 

    Bernie clearly identifies the problems that he sees, and then he lays out a clear, "no-nonsense" proposal for addressing them, just like he has done here. 

    Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent, I strongly encourage you to check out Bernie Sanders. He is the ONLY Presidential candidate for either major Political party who will put YOUR best interest ahead of the interests of Wall St. and the super-wealthy.  

    In my mind, that makes him the ONLY Presidential candidate from either major Political party worth voting for.

  4. 4
    Brian says:

    Don't forget to count the people watching via live streaming at home!  100,000 on July 29, don't know the others.

  5. 5
    Catherine says:

    Ed, I am looking for the number of attendees from Davenport, IA.  I know Walker had about 225 attendees when he was there.  I wanted to see the comparison between his number and Bernie's. 

  6. 6
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    No way Bernie wins the general if he wins the nomination.

    Not likely he wins the nomination, either.

    Chris Matthews is right.

    It's the Democratic Party, not the Democratic Socialist Party and not the Social Democratic Party.

    The people who like Bernie are the left fringe of the party, and people who generally aren't actually in the party at all.

    Just like Bernie.

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:

    Colleen,

    "I have been getting hundreds of friend requests on FB"

    That has created a need for adjustment son my part as I was approaching 5000 friends. That limit is a real nuisance. I had to remove a lot of people to make room for new FB friends from Sanders supporters. Obnoxious Clinton supporters now get dropped quickly.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    Philo,

    The polls do not agree with you. Sanders has broader reach than Clinton–not the "left fringe." He beats the Republicans in head to head polls, and is looking like a stronger candidate than Clinton in the battleground state polls (where she is doing poorly).

    He does get some of his support from those who aren't in the Democratic Party. That is a good thing–the Democrats need to expand their support to win.

  9. 9
    Jan says:

    Bernie is the real deal.  Not since JFK's much-too-brief term in the oval office have I felt a tinge of hope for our beloved democracy.  Be careful, Bernie.  Look over your shoulder often.  The big guns of sleaseville feel threatened by your popularity; e.g., barely a mention of your soaring numbers on the networks.  But, somehow, Truth gets out.  And Truth will prevail!  Go Bernie!!!

  10. 10
    EuroYankee says:

    There are three key factors at work here:

    1. Americans seldom elect the same party after a two-term President leaves. And Hillary definitely looks like more of the same. Bernie is radically different and so stands a chance in this regard.

    2. As has been written several places and most recently by James Carville, Hillary supporters would also be happy with Bernie Sanders. BUT THE REVERSE IS NOT TRUE. Many Bernie supporters are virulently anti-Hillary, and still others are simply not attracted to her, so they would just stay home on election day – and we know that is bad for Democrats.

    3. Bernie is pulling in Independents and even Republicans. The "Republicans for Bernie Sanders" page on Facebook has 4800 "Likes" with 4200 people "talking about this." By contrast, the "Republicans for Hillary Clinton" page on Facebook has 226 "Likes" with just 2 people "talking about this".

    4. If the Democrats are to retake the rains of government and really turn the country around, they will need to attract not only Independents, but that large cohort we used to call "Reagan Democrats" — Bernie sanders can do this, Hillary Clinton quite clearly cannot.

     

  11. 11
    EuroYankee says:

    Opps – I know that is 4 , but the fourth point is part if the third 🙂

  12. 12
    JimZ says:

    There's nothing in Sanders' positions that are fringe as far as I'm concerned, and I'm a pretty run-of-the-mill Democrat in the FDR, JFK, LBJ, Carter, Clinton, Obama tradition.  I realize that that list occupies a large tent, but they all fall within the idea of liberalism of the past 300 years.  Of course I'll vote for any Dem over any GOP candidate, the stakes are way too high to do otherwise (think Supreme Court…).  "Socialist?"  The use of this term as perjorative is long past its usefulness and certainly every presidential candidate, both parties, want to use the power of government to pursue their chosen ends – it's merely the question of what ends we voters want the next president to champion with that power.  And on that count, at this moment, Sanders' positions align best with this mainstream Democrat.

  13. 13
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    Dream on. Hillary is still way ahead in the polls.

  14. 14
    Ron Chusid says:

    National polls have zero predictive value in a nomination battle. Sanders has the lead in New Hampshire now. Sanders' favorability is higher and Clinton is seen as dishonest but many–which will increase now that her legal problems have worsened today.

    Clinton could still pull out the nomination due to insider party support, but Sanders would make the stronger general election candidate, and far better president.

  15. 15
    David Sheridan says:

    If Sanders gets the nomination it will energize Democratic voters and turnout will be high – might even take back some congressional seats.

  16. 16
    Ron Chusid says:

    In contrast, I fear that if Clinton gets the nomination, not only will Democratic turnout be suppressed, with the high level of distrust for Clinton I could see many people splitting their ballot if they do vote for Clinton (because the GOP candidate is worse)–voting for Republicans for Congress to put a check on her.

  17. 17
    NeoLotus says:

    I'm going to be a spoiler for all those so afraid of the Republicans they would vote for Hillary. In my book, voting for her IS voting for the Republican agenda of serving the 1%. Just because she's "the lesser of two evils" does NOT mean she should become president. I think our country is sick, tired, and utterly FED UP with all this crap. 

    In order for Bernie to get the Dem nomination, people will HAVE to either go to a caucus or vote in the primary. For closed state primaries, you must be registered for the party of the candidate you want, which is the Democratic Party. For open primaries I don't think it matters. I'm not real sure about the caucus states. What we also need are party members to attend their state conventions to endorse Bernie. 

    Now, here's the spoiler. If, for some reason, Bernie is NOT the Democratic Party nominee, he becomes my write-in. I will NOT vote for Hillary, not for anything. Her day is done and gone. We absolutely MUST sweep away all this politics as usual because ALL our lives are going to depend on getting someone into office who will pull the plug on the fossil fuel industry, pull the plug on Citizens United, reinstate Glass-Steagall, and give us, the people, a fighting chance to reclaim our sovereignty as human beings and take back control of our country. If you think ANYONE else is going to do this, then you will deserve the government you get. Now is NOT the time to play it safe. This is all or nothing and I'm all in. Freedom's just another word for nuthin' left to lose and unless we start to cranking back on the CO2, we are ALL toast and no one's lives are going to matter. I know people have a hard time wrapping their head around that and most won't notice until it's in their face, but we don't have any more time to wait for people to wake up to what truly endangers us all. For Harry Potter fans, Hillary=Umbridge, Bernie=Dumbledore. Which one do you want?

  18. 18
    Ron Chusid says:

    I think that at this stage we need to concentrate on keeping someone such as Clinton from getting the nomination, and think in terms of winning. Should Clinton win the nomination, then we can discuss whether it is worth holding our noses and voting for her. Weren’t clothes pins were invented for just such a situation?

  19. 19
    Ronbo says:

    I'm saving your site as one of my core favorites.  It's good to see that others are also growing tired of horse-race politics that push only corporatized political party bullshit.

     

    A (D) behind a politicians name doesn't make for TPP a good policy.  (or endless war, or spying, or trickle-down policy)   Neoliberals, like corporatists, are only old-fashioned Republicans.  Those who push policy to the right are not moderates, they are useful idiots. 

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