The “liberal” top-down class and propaganda war on the progressive populist Bernie Sanders is something to behold. It advances at least four master narratives.
by Paul Street
Part 2 - “Values” vs. “Electability”
A second form of “liberal” anti-Sanders media and political bias is the constant narrative that Democratic primary voters must choose between a candidate like Sanders who embodies their values and policy preferences and a candidate who can beat Trump.
At CNN last Saturday, morning host Michael Smerconish trumpeted the Democratic Party’s “superdelegates” – the nearly 15% of Democratic National Convention presidential candidate and platform selection delegates who represent the party’s establishment. Smerconish praised the unelected superdelegates for ensuring “candidate quality control through a form of peer review” and representing “the wisdom of party elders to hold back the masses” from “a populist surge” that would nominate a “disastrous” candidate who can’t “survive a general election.”
The Democrats, Smerconish suggests, need to prevent Sanders from winning a majority of the delegates in the primaries and caucuses so that the superdelegates can help the sage “elders” check the deluded populist rabble (the voters) during the convention’s second ballot. (At least he didn’t call Sanders a communist).
This narrative pitting values and policy against electoral viability reflects a backhanded media acknowledgement that voters, especially younger ones, have moved to the progressive social-democratic and environmentalist left under the inegalitarian and eco-cidal ravages of neoliberal capitalism.
It also advances a false dichotomy. Sanders’ leftish positions and persona actually make him the most electable Democratic candidate (ask the Democratic voters of Nevada) – the one most able to energize vast swaths of the electorate that have been demobilized by the corporate-neoliberal Democrats’ transparently fake progressivism and inauthentic opposition to concentrated wealth and power. Without a significant lurch to the portside, the Democrats cannot hope to remain viable.
It is difficult to imagine the number of voters required to defeat Trump backing an arrogant classist, racist, and sexist oligarch like Bloomberg (who has already spent $450 million blanketing the nation with commercials even before entering a single primary) – or getting behind a dismal. dollar-drenched centrist like the stale, old gaffe-machine Biden or the “fresh,” young and silver-tongued Buttigieg.
If the self-financing titan Bloomberg snuffs out Sanders’ historic grassroots campaign (powerfully funded with an average individual contribution of $18), buying the nomination out from under the Sanders movement with the help of the “super-delegates,” millions upon millions of potential Democratic voters will sit the election out or vote for a third-party candidate. There will be “hell to pay” for the Democratic Party as Trump coasts coast to a second term.