Sanders Campaign's Commitment to Victory Irritates Media, Offends Clinton Campaign
Sanders Campaign's Commitment to Victory Irritates Media, Offends Clinton Campaign
By Kevin Gosztola /

Once again, for the umpteenth time in the Democratic presidential primary, there is a dominant narrative in the establishment news media that it is over for Bernie Sanders. News outlets have crunched the numbers, again, and after the loss to Hillary Clinton in New York, conventional wisdom is Sanders cannot win.

Such harping is presented as if it is a neutral perspective solely based on mathematics that is not driven by any influence the Clinton campaign may have over media institutions. However, the fact is there are 1,400 pledged delegates left to win in contests. Clinton has 1,442 pledged delegates while Sanders has 1,209 pledged delegates. It’s a lead of 233 pledged delegates, which he could still overcome in June, especially if he continues to surge in California—a state with 475 delegates to be won.

To put it more concisely, Sanders has a path to victory. His campaign is not all but done. It would be all but done if there weren’t over a thousand pledged delegates to be awarded. That is not the case.

Another piece of context missing in most news coverage is that an Emerson College poll had Sanders losing to Clinton by close to fifty points in late March. His campaign surged and managed to win 40 percent of the vote, which was what the campaign saw as a “credibility threshold” they needed to achieve.

Clinton is very well known in New York. The state elected Clinton as their senator twice. Virginia Fields, former borough president for Manhattan and a Clinton surrogate, said on Democracy Now!, “Senator Clinton, in terms of relationships with African Americans in the Latino communities, is much stronger, certainly, than that of Senator Sanders here in the state of New York.” But she won’t necessarily have the same kind of rapport with voters to boost her campaign in the remaining states.

Now, there is a misperception, which has spread since Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver appeared on MSNBC last night. Numerous reports quoted Weaver and suggested the campaign plans to upend the will of voters and flip superdelegates to win the Democratic presidential nomination at the convention in July.

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump—who recently argued the average donation to the Sanders campaign is $28, not $27—wrote, “Sanders supporters loathe the superdelegates, who they fairly see as undemocratic,” and, “Would Sanders’s supporters want to win by acclamation from the undemocratic supers? Some would, sure. But it isn’t what they expected.”

For The Nation, Joan Walsh, an outspoken Clinton supporter, called Weaver’s comments “discouraging” and said flipping superdelegates at the convention “would certainly make the July convention a spectacle, but it’s unlikely to help his candidate win.”

However, what Bump, Walsh, and others seem to misunderstand is Weaver made his comments under the presumption that neither Clinton nor Sanders will meet the 2,383 pledged delegate threshold needed to clinch the nomination before the convention. Both candidates will need to make cases to superdelegates to clinch the nomination. Clinton will have to keep the superdelegates from switching and Sanders will have to find some way to persuade superdelegates to support him over the establishment’s favored candidate.

Clinton and Sanders, as has been the case throughout the primary, will bring a significant attention to the superdelegate system employed by the Democratic Party. The surrogates and supporters for both candidates will inevitably find new reasons to loathe the system by the time the convention is over. Both candidates will wage a kind of information war in the media to convince the population that their strategy respects the will of voters, even as the party elites have their moment to demonstrate how they have more influence as superdelegates.

There is nothing wrong with lobbying superdelegates. Dennis Archer, a superdelegate from Michigan and former mayor of Detroit who supports Clinton, told The Guardian, “I would do the same thing if I were them and I’m not at all offended at them. One would expect that to occur.”

Yet, as numerous people reflect on the Democratic primary the day after the New York primary, why is it offensive to so many liberal and establishment Democrats, particularly those who back Clinton?

When Sanders declared his candidacy, he was cast in the role of pushing Clinton to the left or influencing her on issues so she would become a “better” or “stronger” candidate since she would inevitably be the Democratic nominee. He forced her to declare opposition to the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. He forced her to declare opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, even though she lobbied for it as Secretary of State.

By January of this year, the Sanders campaign grew into a formidable force, which could beat her in state primaries. He said in June 2015 if the campaign did well in Iowa and New Hampshire, he’d become a “credible candidate” and a “lot more money” would come in to support the campaign. Sanders performed well in those states and managed to build a fundraising apparatus, which could pull in small-dollar donations that exceeded $1 million each day.

Sanders went from a protest candidate in the Democratic primary to a contender for the nomination. His campaign believed it could win. It still believes it can win. For that reason, every day it continues to function as a competitive alternative to Clinton it is met with disgust from Democratic elites and an establishment, which wants to see the campaign crushed.

After the New York primary, an unnamed senior Clinton aide told POLITICO’s Glenn Thrush, “We kicked his ass tonight,” and, “I hope this convinces Bernie to tone it down. If not, fuck him.” David Axelrod, who worked as a chief strategist for both of Obama’s presidential campaigns, tweeted, “Minutes after Hillary Clinton talks unity, her spokeswoman calls Senator Sanders’ campaign ‘destructive.’ I honestly don’t get it.” David Plouffe, an Obama campaign strategist who endorsed Clinton, accused the Sanders campaign of “fraud” because they sent out fundraising email saying there still was a path to the nomination. Brad Woodhouse, president of the Clinton super PAC, Correct the Record, characterized Sanders as a “spoiler,” even though he has every right to fight for the nomination at the convention as Clinton does.

The Clinton campaign and its network of surrogates and super PACs insists Sanders went “personal and negative,” and that “backfired” on him badly in the state. The truth is, after the Wisconsin primary, it set in motion a plan in New York to “disqualify” Sanders in order to end his win streak. In interviews, the campaign insinuated Sanders was not qualified and provoked Sanders into outlining a number of reasons why she should be considered unqualified. When the Clinton campaign expressed outrage, the Sanders campaign was put in a position where it had to back down, apologize, or continue to face reporters, who would keep raising the issueof her “qualifications.” It was a perfect, yet sleazy way of stunting Sanders’ surge in New York.

Another sleazy line of attack involved gun control and the claim that the “highest per capita number” of guns used in crimes in New York came from Vermont, and, therefore, the senator from Vermont, who is running for president, bears some responsibility for violent crime. Not a bit of this attack on Sanders was correct. The Washington Post gave Clinton “three Pinocchios” for crafting a talking point deliberately intended to leave voters with a misleading impression.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Clinton during a debate in Brooklyn, “Are you seriously blaming Vermont, and implicitly Senator Sanders, for New York’s gun violence?” Clinton said, “No, of course not. Of course not,” which prompted Sanders to laugh at her denial. She then said, “It’s not a laughing matter,” and painted him as someone who would push the National Rifle Association’s agenda as president, even though he takes many of the same positions on gun control as she does. Then, Correct the Record pushed campaign propaganda into the media suggesting Sanders thought gun violence was a “laughing matter.”

The campaign even pit Sanders against families whose loved ones were slaughtered in the Sandy Hook massacre and reveled in the fact that he was being asked to apologize for a massacre he was not responsible for at all. It falsely suggested Sanders believed the families had no right to sue the manufacturer of the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle used by Adam Lanza. Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign said nothing about how the State Department under Clinton signed off on a $4.2 million arms deal with the manufacturer, Remington Arms Company.

Former President Bill Clinton joked on April 15 that young Sanders supporters would “shoot every third person on Wall Street” if Sanders was elected. Of course, if anyone finds this funny, it is because they believe Sanders has left-wing supporters who would only be satisfied with Wall Street reform that involved murdering corporate executives responsible for fraud and other forms of corruption.

The establishment news media—in service to the Clinton campaign—has patronized Sanders as if he was a marginal candidate, even when he won state primaries. “Will you support Hillary?” “Will you tell your supporters to vote for Hillary?” “Will you make sure the Democratic Party can unify in November?” “Will you tone it down?” “Will you reconsider repeatedly pointing out how Clinton is a corporate Democrat because it is disrespectful?”

But Sanders and his campaign have no interest in playing the part of protest candidate, especially because talking like Sanders does not mean Clinton will follow through on the rhetoric she deploys to prevent her campaign from dwindling. It also is premature to grapple with how the movement around the campaign can continue after the campaign is over when it frankly is not over yet. The Sanders campaign is in the midst of a war for a nomination that will give voters a viable alternative to two oligarchs in November, and it is not about to quit now.

Copyright FDL Media Group ©, All Rights Reserved.

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, Unauthorized Disclosure. Follow him on Twitter: @kgosztola

4.6 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 17,939 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 10,766 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
No Moral Superpower: Arundhati Roy, Edward Snowden, and the Crimes of Empire
Jake Johnson · 8,979 views today · When Arundhati Roy was preparing, in 2014, for a trip to Moscow to meet Edward Snowden, she was troubled by two things. One of them was the fact that the meeting was arranged...
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 5,975 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
And After the Election, The Reaction
Ret Marut · 5,030 views today · Could there be any better illustration of the shortcomings of representative democracy than this year’s Presidential campaign? For months upon tiresome months, the whole world...
'The Climate of Fear Is Unacceptable' - Ken Loach on I, Daniel Blake
6 min · 3,606 views today · Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or-winning film I, Daniel Blake tells the story of a man who is denied disability benefit after a heart attack and who is then subsequently caught in a...
Men Loving Men
Bianca Vivion · 3,063 views today · When my father was seven he and his best friend Phil cut their index fingers open and placed them together to create a “blood pact” that they would always be brothers. To this...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 2,307 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 2,003 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Writers Tom Hayden and Naomi Klein Talk About Journalism and Activism
27 min · 1,974 views today · Author, Activist and Former California State Senator Tom Hayden talks in depth with the author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein, about the state of the fourth...
Three Massive Mergers - Millions for One Bank and a Disaster for Food, Water, and Climate
Wenonah Hauter · 1,862 views today · In addition to advising on all three mega-mergers, Credit Suisse is playing a big role behind the scenes of the Dakota Access pipeline.
Grow Heathrow: Residents Resisting Eviction Over 3rd Runway
4 min · 1,191 views today · On March 1st 2010 Transition Heathrow members swooped on an abandoned market garden site in Sipson; one of the villages to be completely tarmacked to make way for a third...
Social Geographer Shows How Much of You is Determined by Where You're From
3 min · 1,179 views today · The Professor of Geography examines social inequality and the geodemographics of the UK, using maps created by Oliver O'Brien (UCL, CASA) in 2012 and updated in 2015. You can...
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change (2015)
11 min · 1,108 views today · Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday; or that chopping...
A Beautiful Reflection on What It Means to Be Human
8 min · 794 views today · Hello! We are Oh Wonder, a musical duo from London. We believe that everyone is equal. We are all human. We all deserve the world. And we can build that equality by sharing...
Heartbreaking Animation Reveals Plight of Animals Under Threat of Extinction
3 min · 762 views today · This stunning and heartbreaking animation gives voice to animals under threat from human activity. Made as part of the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, it features a...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 733 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Speaking Out Against Australia's Unforgiving Refugee Policy
42 min · 714 views today · The Forgotten Children: More than a hundred child refugees are stuck in asylum limbo on the island of Nauru as a result of Australia's harsh and unsympathetic border policies...
25 Mind-Twisting Optical Illusion Paintings by Rob Gonsalves
Dovas · 631 views today · The beautiful and mind-bending illusions in Canadian artist Robert Gonsalves’ paintings have a fun way of twisting your perception and causing you to question what in his...
How Big Banks Launder Money and Get Away With It
9 min · 543 views today · 'I wrote about how money laundering was actually done... they spiked it.' Parliamentary Candidate David Malone was a popular second choice in the UK Green Party leadership...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Sanders Campaign's Commitment to Victory Irritates Media, Offends Clinton Campaign