Thursday, May 5, 2016

What the Media can learn from Sanders' Indiana Victory

Bernie Sanders, after winning the Democratic primary in the State of Indiana:

“The Clinton campaign thinks this is over. They’re wrong. Maybe it’s over for the insiders and the party establishment, but the voters in Indiana had a different idea. The campaign wasn’t over for them. It isn’t over for the voters in West Virginia. It isn’t over for Democrats in Oregon, New Jersey and Kentucky. It isn’t over for voters in California and all the other states with contests still to come.” 

The New Yorker: May 5, 2016

In the weeks ahead, the calls for Sanders to wrap up his campaign are likely to become more explicit. He seems certain to ignore them, and he has at least four reasons to do so. First, most of his supporters want him to keep going. Second, he still has a (very) slim chance of obtaining the nomination. Third, there isn’t much evidence that his dropping out would affect the result in November. And fourth, back in 2008, Clinton herself did something very similar to what Sanders is doing now, extending her primary contest with Barack Obama well beyond the point at which most commentators had concluded that she had no chance of winning.

The result in Indiana confirmed what we already know: Sanders is very popular among younger Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, and particularly among white voters. According to the network exit poll, he carried the under-forty-five demographic by sixty-eight per cent to thirty-two per cent, and he won independents by seventy-two per cent to twenty-eight per cent. (The Indiana primary was an open one.) As usual, Clinton performed strongly among older and non-white voters, and among self-identified Democrats.

According to new poll from NBC News/Survey Monkey, fifty-seven per cent of Democrats and Democratic-leaners want Sanders to campaign until the Convention, and just sixteen per cent think he should drop out now. Eighty-nine per cent of Sanders’s supporters said they wanted him to keep going until July. More surprisingly, perhaps, twenty-eight per cent of Clinton’s supporters agreed.

This year is much more like 2008, when it was Clinton who refused to drop out despite having no apparent path to victory, to the consternation of some Democrats. During April and May of that year, she continued to campaign aggressively, and she also tried to win over superdelegates. When reporters brought up the argument that she should bow out to insure Party unity, she reminded them that, in 1992, her husband, Bill, didn’t wrap up the nomination until the middle of June. (AFTER CALIFORNIA HAD VOTED!)

The BIG 6 corporate media can stop asking, stop pondering and stop hoping that Bernie will drop out.

Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign event on the campus of Indiana University in Fort Wayne on May 2. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Sanders at rally in Indiana

Excerpts by John Nichols at The Nation:

Bernie Sanders won the vast majority of Indiana’s counties and winning blue-collar towns that have been battered by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), permanent normalization of trade with China (PNTR), and a host of other global agreements that have undermined workers, communities, the environment and democracy itself.

The trade issue was vital for Sanders in Indiana, just as it was for him in Michigan — the state that shook up the race in March by handing the senator a surprise victory over Clinton. Exit polls found that nearly two-thirds of Indiana Democratic primary voters said Wall Street hurts the economy, and 46 percent said free-trade policies costs jobs.

Sanders has made his opposition to the trade policies long favored by so many Republican and Democratic party leaders a core tenet of his presidential run from the day he announced his candidacy. During the course of the long battle for the Democratic nomination, Clinton has "evolved" toward a more critical stance on trade issues — raising objections to the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal that she had once talked up as a potential “gold-standard” agreement. But Sanders has been unrelenting in his opposition to the TPP and past agreements, which he ardently opposed as a member of the House and Senate.

“We must rewrite our disastrous trade policies that enable corporate America to shut down plants in this country and move to Mexico and other low-wage countries,” Sanders declared last Friday, at a United Steelworkers rally outside the Indiana statehouse in Indianapolis. “We need to end the race to the bottom and enact trade policies that demand that American corporations create jobs here and not abroad.”

Since the enactment of NAFTA during former President Bill Clinton’s first term, Sanders noted, Indiana had lost 113,000 manufacturing jobs.

“Look around Indiana and you will find once vibrant and strong manufacturing towns like Gary, South Bend, Muncie, Bloomington, Indianapolis and Evansville shattered by abandoned factories, shut down steel mills, sky-high poverty rates and foreclosed homes,” Sanders told a crowd that included members of United Steelworkers Local 1999, which represents workers at an Indianapolis Carrier Corporation plant that United Technologies has targeted for closure.

More than 1,400 Carrier jobs in Indianapolis will be lost if the company follows through with plans to move operations to Monterey, Mexico, next year. Seven hundred more jobs are expected to be lost in Huntington, Indiana, where United Technologies is preparing to close another facility.

A video of the announcement of the planned closing of the Indianapolis furnace plant went viral, and Trump has frequently referenced it in a campaign that has focused a good deal on trade policy. But Local 1999 did not back Trump. Indeed, Carrier workers like Frank Staples dismissed Trump as “a loud-mouthed fraud.”

As the primary approached, Local 1999 gave a big endorsement to Sanders.

“Bernie Sanders for decades has fought against the kinds of disastrous trade deals that are now allowing Carrier to ship over a thousand good-paying Indiana jobs to Mexico,” said Chuck Jones, the steelworkers local president. “Bernie Sanders is the only candidate running for president who will do something to stop this kind of corporate greed if he is elected — because he’s been fighting against it for years.”

That was a constant theme among union workers who attended the statehouse rally on Friday, and rallies that Sanders held in union towns across Indiana, a industrial state with historically strong United Auto Workers and United Steelworkers locals. While the national leaders of those major manufacturing unions have not endorsed in the Democratic race, a number of union locals in key states—such as Indiana’s Local 1999—have backed Sanders. (Even though some union leaders have backed Clinton, many of the actual rank-and-file members support Sanders.)

While national media do a lousy job of covering trade debates, workers in states like Indiana know the issues well. And they know the records of the candidates on those issues.

“Bernie’s whole career he’s fought for the working class and the middle class,” Carrier assembly-line worker Mark Smith told Politico last month. “He’s voted on every one of these trade agreements that are stealing these jobs for the American workers. He’s fought against Wall Street and corporate America. He’s seen everything that’s happened to this country, American jobs and workers and how the wealth is being siphoned up to the top.”

That understanding of trade policy runs deep in states like Indiana. It counts for more than polls and pundits and what media and political elites have to say about where the Democratic race stands. It may not be sufficient to change the course of the race. But, as part of a broader set of issues that speak to a sense that the economy is “rigged” against working people, it will keep the Sanders campaign going for a good bit longer.

This is one of the reasons why Sanders says that, even if he does not win enough delegates to claim the nomination, he and his supporters will go to Philadelphia to “fight for a progressive party platform that calls for…an end to our disastrous trade policies.”

Before Indiana voted, the New York Times was trying to convince us that bad trade deals, the trade deficit and a loss of manufacturing jobs was not a reason to vote for Sanders (or Trump); and Dean Baker at the Center for Economic and Policy Research wrote a rebuttal.

In Indiana, Bernie Sanders (as usual) had won young voters, white voters, Independents and progressive liberals — where he has always shown considerable strength throughout the race. And Indiana win reinforces, again, that Sanders can (and should) stay in the race all the way through the June 7 votes. For Clinton, losing Indiana could well be the start of a bad run of states for her that will not allow her to finish the primary race in glorious  "in your face" victories — not with still 13 contests left to go: 

May 7 - Guam
May 10 - West Virginia 
May 17 - Kentucky and Oregon
June 4 - Virgin Islands
June 5 - Puerto Rico
June 7 - California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota
June 14 - Washington D.C. is about 50% African-American, but despite relentlessly working all his life for civil rights, Bernie is expected to lose here.

And why wasn't this mentioned yesterday on CNN and MSNBC, but was mentioned on Fox News and the Washington Post

A federal judge on Wednesday directed State Department officials and top aides to Hillary Clinton to answer questions under oath by June 29 about whether they intentionally thwarted federal open-records laws by allowing Clinton’s use of a private email server throughout her tenure as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. [After the last vote, but before the convention.]

And if all else fails, it could be #BernieOrBust — because hopefully we can get him to change his mind and we can get him to run as an Independent. Sign the petition >>>

As an aside: Did I miss something on MSNBC or CNN? Because I didn't hear Clinton congratulate Sanders for his win in Indiana. I know Trump congratulated Cruz after he dropped out.


  1. HRC is a weak presidential candidate... she could very well lose to the Donald, especially if he runs to her left on economic issues in the general election. And the DNC has no one to blame but themselves because HRC and most of the DNC lives inside the "third way democrat" bubble just as much as the Republicans live in their fox news bubble.

    In some ways the Donald is the perfect GOP nominee. First of all HRC will have no voting record to point to in the presidential debates that define Trump as being a lapdog for wall street and/or multinational corporations promoting the free trade agreements that have eviscerated the american middle class and the Donald, on the other hand, can point to over 25 years worth of HRC support or votes for that have decimated americas middle class.

    Good luck DNC, you have picked your poison over a true progressive candidate and don't blame berniecrats if you end up losing.

  2. Bernie Sanders consistently does better with younger and more liberal voters; Clinton does better with older, more moderate and black voters. The best predictor of outcomes to date is how many black voters came to the polls. There’s been a correlation between how many black people live in a state and how well Hillary Clinton has done there, an effect that’s slightly stronger in states with closed primaries (meaning that independents, who strongly back Sanders, can’t vote). Indiana’s population was right at the inflection point of those curves, right at the point where you’d expect a close race.

    ABC News: Younger voters and Democrats who consider themselves liberal overwhelmingly chose Sanders again in Indiana, revealing some of Clinton’s ongoing weaknesses. According to ABC News exit poll data, Sanders won young, white voters under 45 years old by a margin of 78-to-22 percent.

    The number of popular votes does not include all caucus states, many of which Sanders has won.

  3. Superdelegates are not elected officials who were elected to be superdelegates. Voters only elected them to hold a specific office for a specified time. Superdelegates were appointed by party insiders to be superdelegates. L.A. Daily News:

    Wasserman Shultz said after the 2008 election “it’s a completely reasonable and fair process” and the 712 superdelegates are a small fraction of the 4,763 total delegates going to the convention in Philadelphia this summer. She also said superdelegates — in place since 1984 — have never determined the nominee. “We separate those 712 unpledged delegates and give them an opportunity to vote for who they want to because they are party leaders and elected officials and people who have been in the trenches to help build the party,” she said.

  4. Clinton should be more worried about her left flank. She has generally won minority populations, especially African-Americans, but Sanders has dominated among young people, and she needs those voters. This primary has had big ideological and policy differences, and while Democrats generally like Clinton, she clearly isn't the first choice of a big fraction of the party. Any sop to conservatives would risk bleeding left-wing voters who are already suspicious of her fairly conservative domestic record and hawkish foreign policy.

    1. Her substantive views on foreign policy at least are already pretty close to neocon ones — witness her god-awful speech before AIPAC — and the Clintons have a long history of rightward triangulation. She won this primary while defending military intervention, bashing social insurance, and invoking right-wing caricatures of Sanders as a tax-and-spend liberal. Maybe she'll even dust off her husband's old plan to privatize Social Security!

  5. From Sanders Statement on Indiana Primary Win (May 3, 2016)

    "To help voters make the best-informed choice possible, I hope that Secretary Clinton will agree to a date and place for a debate in California.”

    1. AP: "Sanders said he wants to debate Clinton in California later this month, noting that both campaigns had reached an agreement in principle to hold the forum in the nation's largest state."

  6. As of this date:

    18 Bernie North of the Mason-Dixon Line
    0 Bernie in the South
    18 total so far

    11 Clinton North of the Mason-Dixon Line
    12 Clinton in the South
    23 total so far

    23 Clinton
    18 Sanders
    41 States that voted so far

    9 States yet to vote and D.C. (doesn't include territories)

    1. 9 States have yet to vote and D.C. (doesn't include territories) --- 7 States (or more) will put Bernie even or ahead in States over Clinton.

      And theoretically, California alone could also put him ahead with both the popular vote and pledged delegates (not including superdelegates). In 2008 Obama didn’t have enough pledged delegates until June after every State had voted.

      It was the same in 1992 for Bill Clinton when only after California voted did he have enough delegates. This is why the media and Clinton's surrogates wants Sanders to drop out early, to eliminate ANY possibility at all (no matter how small) that he could pull a head of her.

  7. This woman NAILS IT in this 20 minute rant. The media deliberately installed Trump ... and not just for media ratings. A MUST WATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!