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General News    H4'ed 5/8/19

Who's Anti-Bernie and Why They're Wrong

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My guest today is Norman Solomon, author, activist and cofounder/national coordinator of RootsAction.org,

Joan Brunwasser: Welcome back to OpEdNews, Norman. We last chatted back in 2015, which seems like a very long time ago. I'd like to talk a bit about your recent piece, Bernie is Not a Wind Sock [3.25.19]. What did you mean by that?

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Norman Solomon: Politicians who change direction with the wind aren't dependable. We don't really know where they stand if they're willing to stand somewhere quite different when the political winds shift. Bernie Sanders is on another trip entirely. From him, instead of transactional behavior with elements of opportunism, we get long-term consistency with a core of idealism. During more than five decades, he's been part of progressive social movements that are committed to really changing the political winds -- not blowing with them.

JB: How is that playing, this time around? Ironically, although Democratic voters have moved more and more in a progressive direction and less progressive politicians have adopted more and more of his originally "out there" ideas, there is still a lot of push back to him and his candidacy. Your thoughts?

NS: A media meme during the winter was that Bernie had lost his unique appeal because so many other candidates were embracing his positions such as Medicare for All and tuition-free public college. That meme has faded as Bernie's polling numbers are so far ahead of all the candidates who've moved in a progressive direction. But there was always -- and continues to be -- enormous antipathy toward Bernie, or at least toward his politics, from corporate media and corporate forces overall. It's going to be a very tough primary campaign, and yet I think Bernie has a better chance of winning the nomination than anyone else does.

JB: Agreed. Did you watch the CNN Democratic presidential town hall? What did you think?

NS: Haven't found time to watch.

JB: What can you tell us about the media coverage Bernie receives? What's your take on it?

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NS: As I put it in "The Biggest Obstacle for Bernie is Not the DNC" published in OpEdNews in March, "More than any other force, reflexive spin from corporate media stands between us and a Bernie Sanders presidency. In sharp contrast to campaigns with enormous budgets for Astroturf, the first Sanders presidential campaign was able to effectively defy the conventional wisdom and overall power structure by inspiring and mobilizing at the grassroots. His campaign was -- and is -- antithetical to the politics of corporate media."

The enormous problem with mainstream media coverage of Bernie has continued, and I expect the overall negative treatment will greatly intensify between now and the end of the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination. While there are some positive news stories and commentaries, the dominant range of media approaches to him goes from skeptical to hostile. The April 27 kickoff of the official Bernie 2020 grassroots campaign included upwards of 5,000 organizing events on that one day. It reflected a recognition that the forces arrayed against the Bernie campaign -- notably including the dominant corporate media -- are so powerful and so antagonistic that it's going to be imperative to build a nationwide grassroots campaign with unprecedented depth, reach and power in order to win.

JB: And the campaign touted a brand new app that will greatly facilitate broadening the base. That sounds promising. How does Joe Biden's entering the race affect the Sanders campaign and candidacy?

NS: The former VP's pseudo-populist rhetoric aside, Biden's campaign clarifies just how corporate the Democratic Party establishment is, offering continuity to go "back to the future" -- with claims that the situation was marvelous before Trump screwed it up. It's a defense of the pre-Trump status quo of the sort that helped Hillary Clinton to lose the election. ("America is already great.")

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)
 

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9 people are discussing this page, with 12 comments


Stephen Fox

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Brilliant, bravo, well done! I will be sharing this one widely. A truly great and incisive interview that hit all of the important points.


I have to wonder how many beady little bean counter minds are already hard at work to come up with even more strategies to oppose Bernie and all of the millions of people who support him so strongly.


The election machine computer forensics are still deeply troubling to me, and if they cheat and get away with it, they still win....



'Electability' won't help Democrats beat Trump in 2020 As Democrats debate which candidate is best positioned to beat President Trump in 2020, arguments about 'electability' dominate discussions. SOURCES AND ...
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Submitted on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 3:31:00 AM

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Joan Brunwasser

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Reply to Stephen Fox:   New Content

Thanks for your comment, Stephen.
You are quite right to be concerned. The press shines a light on our "election irregularities" every four years, briefly, making it impossible to generate national outrage or bring about systemic change. That affects everyone, whatever their politics, and explains how we are where we are today.

Submitted on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 1:06:34 AM

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Dennis Kaiser

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Being the fact that the media propagandists receive their funds from corporate entities from the military industrial complex, the healthcare industry, from big PHARMA, etc. it is little wonder why those candidates like Bernie Sander and Tulsi Gabbard are shut out of any positive mentions by these bought and paid for talking heads. Imagine the nerve of these people wanting to even suggest money be used to help make a better quality of life for the 99%ers is the common scenario coming from the propagandists. If it isn't profitized, it should be discarded so the theme goes. They have even taken the largest social program, the military, and profitized it, hence we are the largest terrorist group in the world today and one candidate, Tulsi Gabbard, is actually running on a platform to change that. The blasphemy! Sanders and Gabbard also want to turn healthcare into a plan to help people in times of sickness rather than a system which actually takes advantage of those who are sick.

One could go on, but let's leave it with what Joe Biden said recently when asked about his healthcare proposal when he answered, "I don't have time".

Submitted on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 10:11:34 AM

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Many good points, Dennis.

Thanks for writing.

Submitted on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 1:10:24 AM

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molly cruz

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This whole President thing is misconceived. We shouldn't have to choose. All the candidates, or most anyway; have talents and passions and unique qualities and all should be able to contribute. They should gather, organize, and present a President, as well as the rest of the team to the People. It's a program, not a person, we're electing. Putting the equivalent of a King in office for four years is asking too much of the capacity of one person. The reason Royalty has failed so miserably is that it's stupid, a flawed plan, another Wrong Thing there's no Right Way to do.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 11:54:34 AM

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Meryl Ann Butler

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"A media meme during the winter was that Bernie had lost his unique appeal because so many other candidates were embracing his positions such as Medicare for All and tuition-free public college."


Trying to discredit Bernie because the ideas he espoused were so well received by the public that rival candidates had to embrace those ideas isn't a bad thing, it's evolution! Sheesh!


Great interview, Joan, thanks!

Submitted on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 1:10:49 PM

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Joan Brunwasser

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Reply to Meryl Ann Butler:   New Content

Thanks, Meryl Ann.


You call it evolution. Agreed. What they're doing is called spin - and we know the more you repeat a lie, the more it embeds itself and asserts its truthiness.

Submitted on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 1:09:29 AM

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i have been a Bernie supporter since the beginning of the last Preidential campaign.After reading this article i almost thought it was stolen from my ideas that i defended in national Change a monthly newletter for progressives.Yes,everybody in the world almost on the Democratic side have adopted Bernies ideas but that doesn't make them progressive just smart.bernies ideas are now widely accepted among non republicans.Why support other candidates who just recently adopted Bernies ideas,can you trust them.even Barrack sounded like a progressive until elected.i would much rather trust the man who has been a real progressive all his life and not just recently.I can also add i am disappointed in the strong support Joe biden is getting.It shows how many fake democrats still belong to the Democratic party or are still in the party to protect corporate interest above the people.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 7:03:47 PM

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Joan Brunwasser

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Thank you for your comment, Kappie. I couldn't agree more.

Submitted on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 1:07:32 AM

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Sorry, I've been a Bernie detractor since Bernie refused to address the DNC fraud used to make sure he didn't get the nomination. He is still going to support which ever Democrat is gifted the nomination. I'm done with that game. Vote Green if you want a future for your descendants.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 9:38:32 PM

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Bernie handed the election to Clinton without a peep. And thus to Trump.

Maybe I missed it, but I have yet to hear him squeak a word on Assange. If that's leadership, I'm a horse's ass. (Which I may be in any event.)

I have called NS on other items but no response.

Submitted on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 12:48:32 AM

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As I have explained before, I cannot support Bernie in the 2020 fight for the Democratic Party nomination because of his unexplained shocking capitulation to Shillary at the 2016 Democratic Party Convention. I believe he would have been President today except for that.

If General Eisenhower had inexplicably surrendered to Germany he would never have become POTUS.

I agree with everything Bernie said he believed in, although he did not take on the MIC and eternal war. But he didn't put our hard earned money where his mouth was. I won't repeat my mistake in 2020.

Submitted on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 2:23:36 AM

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