Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Bernie Sanders Effect ... by gimleteye

With Bernie Sanders, I can't help recalling the 2003 presidential primary campaign of another Vermonter, Howard Dean. Then, Dean was met by young and very enthusiastic crowds. Like Sanders, Dean was an outsider. In many respects, Sanders is even more of an outsider.

The inside baseball of the primary season makes good news segments for nightly news and the internet. But at this point in the cycle, most Americans are working long hours to find a few weeks of vacation from worrisome uncertainties.

In 2003 Dean energized Democrats disaffected by the status quo. His principal accomplishment, by the way, was to recruit software savvy young activists who created the gold standard for online Democratic activism.

Dean self-destructed in 2004, so caught up in the exuberance of his insurgency that he figuratively dropped attention and bounced off the mechanical bull.

Bernie Sanders is different from Dean in key respects. For one, he is not going to get on a mechanical bull. As a long serving member of the US Senate, Sanders has always been an iconoclast. That is not to say, however, he is outside the mainstream.

When Bernie Sanders rants against campaign finance practices that assure the outsized influence of a very tiny minority of the wealthiest Americans, I identify with him 100 percent. But the mass of American voters haven't paid attention so far to the vast inequities, and it is unclear they will by 2016 when the biggest winners will be the television networks.

Barring some black swan, political event, the 2016 presidential race will revert to the mean. The candidates with the most cash will find their way to the top of their party's respective tickets. Today, those candidates, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, are telegraphing their anodyne messages to offend as few of their core supporters as possible.

Bernie Sanders, at least, is unafraid to attack the status quo. His early audiences are from the same disaffected core of voters that Barack Obama tapped in 2008, and that cannot escape the attention of the political class.


cyndi said...

I loved Howard Dean! But it really Joe Trippi and his excellent work that created all that excellent computer stuff.

HBernstein said...

Keep talking about Bernie. People saying good things about his candidacy, loudly and often, is our only hope (oh, and maybe donating a little something to the campaign).

Fight the powers that be!

Ariel said...

Bernie Sanders is much more left-wing than Dean ever was. Sanders actually calls himself a Socialist and yet he still has the support of a large number of Democrats. He is living proof that the Democratic Party --of which I was a proud member for 30 years-- has been taken over by extremists. What shame. I now feel like a person without a party, and I am saddened that my fellow Democrats have lost their way.

cyndi said...

Ariel Don't feel like a person without a party More and More people are quitting all the parties and focusing on issues that are important to them. I don't see the extremism. I thought he was a an independent that caucused with the dems. Just for the record he regularly takes money from Big Sugar. Usually around 500 bucks.