Bernie or Bust Movement…This cartoon explains Trump’s victory to the presidency. Democratic contestant convention will lead to Trump becoming the President.
April 19, 2016 (West Hollywood, CA)
By: Christopher Nikhil Bowen
The political revolution Bernie Sanders began (or more accurately, uncovered) is not over. However, his campaign as a true contender to be our party’s nominee, is. It is for that reason why I, without hesitation or mental reservation, unequivocally endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States.
In 1999 I watched nervously as my little state became the focus of the nation. Our Vermont legislature was debating the merits of the rights’ of same-sex couples after the Baker v. Vermont decision in December 1999. Their findings stated same-sex couples should not be denied marriage benefits. In the spring of 2000 Governor Howard Dean signed into law the bill proposed by the legislature instituting Civil Unions. Then-U.S. House Representative Bernie Sanders supported this legislation.
The 2000 state elections (held in November) became a vicious referendum on those that supported equality. The culture war battle lines could not have been drawn any more clearly. Conservatives felt the state was being overrun by “white plater” values (a derogatory term used in Vermont against those who had previously lived in New York or Massachusetts and held liberal values). I saw signs spring up along the rural countryside and even some of my neighbors’ lawns, they read “Take Back Vermont”. They were angry. I, like many LGBT members, were scared. I didn’t know what to think. I knew I wasn’t a white-plater, and I loved Vermont; therefore, I should be against Civil Unions. I was preconditioned by my culture to reject the leftist homosexual “agenda”. I also knew even then that I wasn’t like most of the other boys in my class, but I wasn’t brave enough to come out — especially under such a tumultuous time for the gay rights movement in Vermont and the country. I was born in India and was adopted nearly at birth. My parents are white but all four of my siblings and I are minorities. Vermont is the second whitest state in the union, we were different enough as it was, coming out just seemed like I was being selfish.
In 2001 I went on to serve as a Vermont Legislative Page in Montpelier. I listened intently from the House and Senate floor as my friend and state Representative Gaye Symington defended herself against the ravenous right and even moderate Democrats on her vote in favor of civil unions. Gaye Symington watched in dismay as dozens of her allies in the fight for same-sex rights fell victim to hate in the 2000 elections. The “Take Back Vermont” movement claimed many more seats that year. The Democrats were weakened, but undeterred in their quest for equality.
It gave me pause when I saw Mrs. Symington supporting Civil Unions. She was a great mother to my friend Sam, and I spent many days at their house playing baseball in the backyard or traveling to Montreal in their funky VW van to watch the Expos take on the Red Sox. She represented my small town of Jericho, Vermont in the legislature and she was a well-respected mother and figure in our community. Even though at the time I felt the left was too extreme, I didn’t feel that way about Gaye Symington. That is what leadership looks like.
In 2002 I was a freshman at Mount Mansfield Union High School, and I decided to write a term paper on Civil Unions. My mentor Dot Kurth ran a “learning lab” at the High School designed for students who needed extra help on their studies. I often went to her for support and advice. She offered to help with my term paper and even invited me to visit her same-sex female neighbors to conduct an interview. I went to their home and they expressed to me their exasperation with the Republican Party. They said, “[w]e just had a baby, we are the embodiment of family values! How can the Republican Party tell us we can’t visit each other in the hospital when the other gets sick? What happens to our finances if one of us dies? How can we make sure our child is taken care of? The system is rigged against us.” I found myself nodding in agreement time and again, almost in tears at times. I could sense their feelings of anguish and pain. It was there where I changed my mind, gay rights ARE human rights!
I attended undergraduate university at a southern catholic university, and I tried to slowly come out of the closet. Firstly I unveiled my secret to the closest of friends. The university and the students were not known for their support of the LGBT community, but it was something I felt I needed to do. The arduous task of coming out became easier with time. It helped that I was in Arlington, Virginia, over 500 miles away from home, and moved to Paris for 6 months to study and “discover myself.” My family finally made me come out to them when I was in grad school. It was a long process and it was not easy.
As a college senior, I became a legislative intern for United States Senator Bernie Sanders. I could not have been more proud. I was working on behalf of the great people of Vermont on Capitol Hill. We were not treated well though, as many on the Hill thought that Sanders was not “going-along-to-get-along.” Staffers of Democratic Party Senators mixed together at lunch and after work. We were oftentimes not extended the same treatment as our boss was an Independent socialist. I resented their cliquish ways and wore my Sanders employment badge as a true badge of honor.
After my post-baccalaureate study at Oxford, I moved to Los Angeles for graduate school and fell in love. My Panamanian fiancé and I know we are going to live the American dream. I also know we need to fight to keep that dream alive.
I have been a proud Vermonter my whole life. Since the beginning of Bernie Sanders campaign for President and well before, I have been an outspoken advocate for him in my community. However, it is clear to me that Bernie Sanders will unfortunately not go on to capture our party’s nomination.
Our country can now go in two opposite directions when it comes to marriage equality and so many other human rights issues. We can go forward or we can go back. I am slated to be married to the love of my life next year, and I cannot imagine a world without that legal right. Actually, I can, and that’s why it is so imperative that we coalesce behind our party’s choice, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Today, I see unprecedented protections bestowed on LGBT peoples. As a gay rights activist with the Stonewall Democratic Club and the Stonewall Young Democrats I fight every day to ensure that my community is treated with the respect I know we all deserve. On the campaign trail I’ve heard Hillary Clinton affirm the importance of the LGBT community, of women, of minorities, of Spanish-speakers, of civil rights, of her reluctance to use military force aboard, and so many more issues my generation holds dear. I cannot afford a Republican presidency, we cannot afford to go back. I refuse to go back. Stand with me friends as we press forward for a better America with Hillary Clinton. I have endorsed Hillary Clinton for President tonight, and I urge you to do the same!
 Gaye Symington went on to become elected Vermont’s Speaker of the House in 2005, and held that position until 2008. She unsuccessfully sought the governorship in 2008.
Yamiche Alcindor, national reporter for the New York Times, talks with Rachel Maddow about the past fundraising Bernie Sanders has done for Democratic candidate and the willingness of the Sanders campaign to help Democratic candidates, though so far...
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BURLINGTON, VERMONT Bernie Sanders, the man who is leading in New Hampshire and giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money in Iowa, is coming to terms with a new reality: The media is taking him seriously.
Since launching his campaign last May, Sanders has received vastly less media attention than his chief Democratic opponent, while his chances of becoming the party’s nominee were largely dismissed by pundits and commentators — despite the fact that, like a certain senator before him, he draws far larger crowds, boasts a remarkably enthusiastic volunteer base, and, though he doesn’t have as much money as Clinton, set an all-time record with more than 2.3 million campaign contributions last year.
Now, with Sanders climbing in the polls two weeks before the Iowa caucuses — and likely to maintain momentum after a strong debate performance on Sunday — the mainstream media is racing to catch up to a phenomenon that has been abundantly clear to backers, donors and the progressive media for nine months.
“Clearly, we were not getting coverage that was commensurate with our support among the electorate,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, said during an interview here at Hotel Vermont, where Sanders was preparing for Sunday’s debate, the last before the Iowa caucuses on February 1. “Is it a frustration? Of course it’s a frustration.”
The failure to anticipate Sanders’ rise points to a deep flaw with American political media, journalists and campaign strategists told CNN: Despite being proven wrong time and time again, many commentators and reporters continue to cling to an unshakeable faith in the conventional wisdom about the campaign while often ignoring realities on the ground.
In this case, conventional wisdom held that Clinton would waltz to the Democratic nomination without being seriously contested. The only thing that could possibly get in her way was Vice President Joe Biden (who ultimately decided not to run) or her own controversies. But a grumpy 74-year-old Democratic socialist from Vermont with a bag full of expensive left-wing policy nostrums? Not a chance.
Where the press went wrong
The presidential campaign has been rife with such examples of faulty establishment media-think, from the early insistence that Jeb Bush would be the Republican candidate to beat to the oft-repeated claim that Donald Trump’s latest incendiary claim was political suicide.
“Pundits and the press have been wrong about just about everything this cycle, and this falls into that category,” Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama who now serves as a CNN contributor, said of Sanders’ rise.
“People did not pay as much attention to him or take him seriously in the beginning because he is an older politician from a small state who they did not know much about,” said April Ryan, the Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks.
The dismissal of Sanders, including on occasion by CNN as well as other outlets, is especially palpable for his supporters, who feel like the candidate was written off because of both his temperament and his political beliefs.
When Sanders announced his bid, a Washington Post profile described the “unlikely presidential candidate” as “an ex-hippie, septuagenarian socialist from the liberal reaches of Vermont who rails, in his thick Brooklyn accent, rumpled suit and frizzy pile of white hair, against the ‘billionaire class’ taking over the country.” The New York Times — which had afforded its front page to similar candidacy announcements from Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and others — buried the Sanders story on page 21.
Sanders, however, immediately began drawing thousands of supporters, and then tens of thousands, to his rallies. The media acknowledged the large crowds, but the Sanders campaign felt that pundits came up with endless ways to dismiss their importance.
“At every stop, the media had an explanation for why the crowds weren’t significant,” Weaver said. “5,000 people here? ‘Oh, that’s Bernie’s home city.’ New Hampshire, ‘Oh, that’s next door.’ We went to Minneapolis and had 4,000 people — ‘Oh, well, that’s the Frost Belt. Frost Belt people like him.’ Then we went to Denver, and it was ‘college liberals.'”
“Wherever we went, there was always an explanation about why what we were doing seemed to be significant, but really wasn’t,” Weaver said.
It wasn’t that there weren’t reporters or cameras at these events, Weaver explained. It was that, very often, none of the coverage showed up on the front page or on television. If you looked to the mainstream media, he said, you would have no idea that Sanders would one day be running even in Iowa or leading New Hampshire.
Weaver noted two exceptions: Local media, which he said did a much better job of focusing on policy over process; and the progressive media — but neither of those could rival the overwhelming national narrative that Sanders was merely an also-ran.
Jonathan Tasini, a Sanders surrogate, called the coverage “a professional failure.”
“It’s both astonishing and understandable,” Tasini said. “The understandable part is, too many journalists are too enthralled with conventional wisdom and establishment thinking. They just repeat things without any notion of what’s happening on the ground.”
Many reporters, who asked to speak on background so as not to offend their news organizations or their colleagues, agreed.
“Among ‘big-time’ reporters, there’s an almost pathological fear of looking unsophisticated,” one veteran political reporter explained. “Journalists are supposed to look ‘wised-up’ and with it. I think this ingrained tendency often causes us to miss things that should be as plain as the noses on our faces — and that are apparent to ‘civilians.'”
Now that Sanders is a real contender in some early states, he is forcing the media to recognize the vast liberal base that exists to the left of the Democratic establishment, much as the rise of the tea party forced the press to focus on the vast conservative base to the right of the Republican establishment.
The media has not always been receptive to this wing of the Democratic party, the veteran journalist explained. “The media has an instinctive bias against ultra-liberals. The real hard liberals are not taken seriously by our tribe,” he said. “No socialist from Vermont is going to be president, in the same way Howard Dean was written off.”
The Clinton factor
Weaver also believes the media has an inevitable pro-Clinton bias because so many of the “Democratic consultants” who serve as pundits have relationships with the Clintons.
“Look at the political consultants on the air and Democratic pundits across the media. They’re often Hillary Clinton supporters, right? Or former employees,” he said. “That’s not an indictment of anybody, but that makes them more open to a message that says, ‘She’s going to be successful. Bernie is not going to be successful.'”
If there was a moment in 2015 when Sanders could have wrested control of the media’s narrative, Weaver said, it was in mid-October, when the Democrats met for their first debate, Biden was eyeing getting into the race, and Clinton was called to testify on the 2012 Benghazi attacks. But Clinton acquitted herself well in the debate and during the day-long congressional testimony and Biden decided not to run. Sanders, again, appeared an unworthy challenger.
“The Secretary had a very good October,” Weaver conceded. “The first debate she performed very well, she showed well at the Benghazi hearing, and the media viewed the Vice President’s decision not to run as favorable to her. That again created a narrative about Hillary’s inevitability, which all the pundits repeated.”
Several journalists on the campaign trail also conceded that the media had been too consumed by Donald Trump and the seismic Republican primary race that is dividing the GOP. Trump’s dominance, the establishment’s fear and disbelief, and the emerging fight for an alternative — coupled with the belief in Clinton’s inevitability as the Democratic nominee — drew much of the media’s attention away from the Democrats.
“The incredible and uncontrollable obsession with all things Trump has moved almost all of the scrutiny and focus to the GOP side of the equation once Clinton survived the Benghazi hearing and Biden dropped out,” Pfeiffer said.
When asked to explain why the media had failed to anticipate Sanders’ rise, one political editor at a Washington news outlet replied: “We knew Hillary was going to win, and we went chasing after Donald Trump.”
That disparity has not been lost on Sanders. “A recent study showed on ABC evening news, Trump over a period of time got 81 minutes of time. Bernie Sanders got 20 seconds,” Sanders said in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo in December. “Now, you tell me why.”
Now that Sanders is giving Clinton a run for her money in Iowa and New Hampshire — although he still trails badly in national polls, including one by NBC released Sunday that found Clinton with a 25-point edge — things are changing.
At the Hotel Vermont, CBS’s John Dickerson was there to interview Sanders for “Face The Nation” — while Bloomberg’s John Heilemann was busy setting up cameras for his own interview.
“I’ve never been in an avalanche, but I’m beginning to think I know what it feels like,” Michael Briggs, Sanders’ spokesperson, said of the media requests he was receiving.
Still, many members of the media maintain that while Sanders may win Iowa and New Hampshire, he cannot amass enough support, particularly among minorities, in subsequent states to actually put up a real fight against Clinton. (Sanders is already trying to remedy that with a media blitz in South Carolina focused on African Americans.)
Pfeiffer argued that Sanders is still “a very long shot to win the nomination” and likened him not to Barack Obama but to Howard Dean or Bill Bradley: “Anti-establishment candidates with a strong base in the largely white, progressive community who can do very well in Iowa and New Hampshire with no clear path to expanding their base.”
But whether Sanders can win the nomination may be beside the point. The fact may be that, after being written off by the media, the 74-year-old Democratic socialist from Vermont is threatening to take both Iowa and New Hampshire from Hillary Rodham Clinton, a towering political figure with unparalleled experience, vast financial resources, and the backing of the Democratic establishment.
In other words, Sanders has come a long way from Page 21 and “the liberal reaches of Vermont” — and the media is finally taking note.
To my progressive and liberal friends who support Bernie Sanders: I’m starting to get a little worried. You see, I see some of you spending a lot of time talking about Hillary Clinton as though she is the enemy. And I get why you’re concerned about her in the primary. I really do.
I understand why you prefer Bernie to her as president. In a better world, I would too. His values line up with mine better than Hillary’s do when it comes to economic issues. It should be pretty clear that I’m every bit the Democratic Socialist. We only disagree in how effective someone of Bernie’s temperament and self-identification could be in the job.
What has me worried is that there’s so much on which Bernie and Hillary agree and which I think we agree is important: education, reproductive issues, the Voting Rights Act, immigration, campaign finance reform, gay rights, gun control, equal pay, minimum wage hikes, protecting Social Security and Medicare, strengthening/improving the ACA, Affirmative Action, pursuing hate crimes, medical marijuana, climate change, Keystone, subsidized child care, TPP, NAFTA (yes, they were BOTH against it, check the record), Citizens United, veterans’ issues, the list goes on.
These are all issues on which these two are in agreement, but the gulf between them and the Republicans is vast. Much as the gulf between what you want and what the Republicans say they will do on these issues is vast. And yet, what I am hearing is that Hillary Clinton is the enemy and that she must be stopped at all costs.
Maybe that’s not what you mean when you talk about her as though she is single-handedly responsible for the abuses of Wall Street. As though she created a complex system of laws which protect the 1 percent and the corporate interests that chew the rest of us up to feed the gaping maw that is rampant capitalism.
As though she alone is responsible for the crimes committed against those who spoke out in the last decade. As though she is the only prop holding up the system of economic oppression that has been grinding away at us since… well, think about it. How far back would you trace it? Because as far as I can tell, its roots are prehistorical.
Am I apologizing for her positions on Wall Street? Hell, no. I don’t like them. I don’t support them. And I think having Bernie stand up and articulate in a clear voice what’s wrong with them is doing this country a public service for which I would like to thank him personally. I respect the man greatly for what he is doing and I do not have a single criticism of him. Not one. In fact, I will likely vote for him in the primary.
But he will likely lose that primary. (You may disagree, and that’s fine, that’s a different discussion, as you’ll see in a moment.)
And that’s why I’m worried.
Because throughout this campaign, Bernie and Hillary have been careful not to criticize each other too much, and there’s a reason for that. They understand that, regardless of who wins the primary, a Democrat — someone who will nominate Supreme Court Justices who will overturn Citizens United — must win the White House.
They know that whether it means Bernie’s outright, in-your-face-Democratic Socialism or Hillary’s too-lax oversight of the banks, one of them must be in the White House to stop the systematic disenfranchisement of black, Hispanic, and poor Americans. They get that one area of disagreement does not negate the many, MANY areas in which they have been working together for years and in which they have very similar visions for America — visions similar to your own.
So when, instead of talking about why you like Bernie, you vilify Hillary and talk about why voting for her is just as bad as voting for Bush or Trump or some other Republican, I’m scared. Because not only do you seem to be misrepresenting both Hillary and the GOP’s very divergent stances, but you’re actually misrepresenting Bernie’s own stance.
He’s not attacking Hillary like that. He’s not saying the things you are about her. Not just because they largely aren’t true — but because he has already said that, if he loses the primary, he will not run as an independent. He will support whoever wins the Democratic nomination, and if it’s not him, it will be Hillary.
And every curse that Bernie’s supporters have hurled at Hillary during the primary will be used by the GOP to try to take her down. She’s weathered a lot. She might weather that.
What she will not survive is the thing that has me so frightened: that Bernie’s supporters — that you — will not follow Bernie’s example, and vote for the Democratic nominee. That you will believe all the rhetoric you have been spinning about how she’s no different than the Republicans. That it doesn’t make a difference if it’s her or another Bush in the White House for the next four or eight years.
Because, while I agree with you that our economic policies are of vital importance, they are not the only issues in this election. They are not the only things that create misery in this country. They are not the only injustices that have gone on too long. They are not the only things that need fixed and need fixed now.
So please, support your candidate. Sing his praises to the sky. Talk about his track record and his vision and what he could do for this country. But remember that the primary is not the whole game.
In fact, remember that this is not a game.
That this is not about your guy winning or taking your ball and going home. This is about making our country — all of it, in a lot of different arenas — a better place. And that either of them will be far better for the majority of this country than the alternative.
Sanders said this a “very dangerous moment in American history,” citing not only terrorists attacks but a struggling economy.
“You know what they are anxious about?” Sanders began. “They are working harder. They’re working more hours . . . and they are saying the rich are getting richer. They’re saying ‘I’m getting poorer. What are you going to do about it.’
“Then someone like Trump comes along,” Sanders continued, “saying we have to hate the Mexicans . . . we have to hate the Muslims. . . . Meanwhile the rich get richer.” Sanders said Americans shouldn’t let Trump and others “divide us by race.”
According to the Tyndall Report, 81:1 is the ratio of media coverage that Donald Trump receives in comparison with Bernie Sanders.
And that number doesn’t include social media coverage, so it starts to become clear to see how Trump has been dominating our television as well as our phone or laptop screen.
An analysis of network news coverage, unsurprisingly, recently revealed that Bernie Sanders is getting 1/30th of network coverage that Donald Trump is receiving.
For stories based on the campaign alone, Trump received 234 minutes of coverage compared to 10 minutes for Sanders. ABC World News Tonight gave Trump 80 minutes, while Sanders got less than a minute this campaign season.
“The corporately-owned may not like Bernie’s anti-establishment views but for the sake of American democracy they must allow for a fair debate in this presidential campaign. Bernie must receive the same level of coverage on the nightly news as other leading candidates.”
Sanders regularly speaks out about not only how the media covers political campaigns, but also how it covers “news” in general, saying, “The American people, I think, increasingly understand that corporate media is prepared to discuss everything 24 hours a day, seven days a week except the most important issues facing the American people.” Sanders explained, “Increasingly what media sees campaigns being are soap operas and football games, rather than a serious discussion about the serious issues facing America.”
Sanders, however, isn’t the only candidate that is being overshadowed, as Trump has received more media coverage than all of the Democrats put together.
Currently media of every kind seems fixated on the outrageous Republican front-runner, giving him an over abundance of free airtime and attention to showcase his latest insulting and discriminatory outburst. It is impossible to switch on a device and escape his verbal assaults.
I believe Sanders is capable of putting in place desperately needed changes and creating a significantly better future for not just for the U.S., but with policies that will reach out to positively influence and vibrate across the rest of the world.
While Trump and Sanders have regularly been compared to being similar to one another, it is only because they both have what are considered to be extreme views, although, being at the opposite end of the spectrum to one another.
Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders regularly talks about sustainability, and he is a man of his word, battling for equal rights for the past 40 years.
In 1976, Sanders said, “The fundamental issue facing us in the state is that ½ of one percent of these people—the richest ½ of 1 percent—earn as much as the bottom 27 percent and the top three percent earn as much as the bottom 40 percent.” And he repeats the message still today, “There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of one percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, and when 99 percent of all new income goes to the top one percent.”
Rather than focusing directly on ISIS, Sanders discusses other issues that are also affecting millions of people daily:
“What I have said is that obviously ISIS and terrorism are a huge national issue that we’ve got to address, but so is poverty, so is unemployment, so is education, so is health care. So is the need to protect working families. And I will, I will continue to talk about those issues.”
Sanders is also outspoken about LGBT rights, civil rights, racial discrimination, university tuition fees, universal healthcare, climate change, and—although he is not a supporter of war—he supports and raises awareness for the rights of veterans and their benefits.
A mock presidential election carried out by Western Illinois University showed Sanders would win the 2016 presidential election. They have successfully predicted who will be the next president for the last 20 years, using exactly the same system.
Just last week, even though Sanders topped the TIME’s Person of the Year poll with over 10% of the votes (twice as high as the second place person, Malala Yousafzai), he was not included in the shortlisted group of 6 people to be voted the official Time Magazine Person of the Year. He is the first presidential candidate to win the poll before the end of a campaign.
Speaking to TIME Magazine in September Sanders said, “In this fight we are going to take on the greed of the billionaire class. And they are very, very powerful, and they’re going to fight back furiously. The only way to succeed is when millions of people stand up and decide to engage.”
Not only does Sanders rate well in the polls, he also successfully draws people out to see him in person. 28,000 supporters recently turned up to support Sanders at his Portland rally, while Trump’s rally followed with a crowd of around 15,000.
But, despite Sanders regularly pulling in larger crowds than Trump and polling equally well, he is being blacked out of the media in favor of Trump who has every word he speaks chronicled and made into a news story.
Trump’s explosions are often dramatic, offensive, ego-inflated and cause problems on social media as well as in his business ventures. I struggle to see how prejudiced views and opinions could ever help create a fairer, more sustainable world and one that peacefully brings people together.
When Bernie Sanders was asked by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow during the First in the South Presidential Candidates Forum what his ideal job would be, he replied, “President of CNN. If I was president of CNN, trust me, the way media deals with politics would radically change.”
I think not just politics, but the world would be a very different place if CNN took Sanders up on his offer.