The irony was, the fears driving many older liberals from Sanders were never well-founded.
By Branko Marcetic
Why did Joe Biden win the Democratic primary and Bernie Sanders lose it?
Everyone has a theory: Sanders went too far left, or too far woke; he couldn’t expand his base, particularly into the black electorate; his surprise 2016 showing mostly owed to anti-Clintonism, and his insurgent campaign turned off loyal Democrats; meanwhile, Biden was an electoral powerhouse able to excite voters with his “moderate” agenda and historic ties to the party.
Accepting all this has meant crashing headlong into a series of inconvenient facts. Sanders’s leftward stances on issues like immigration supposedly lost him rural counties, but he had the best standing with rural voters, out of all Democrats. He supposedly alienated rank-and-file Democrats with his rhetoric, yet held sky-high favorability ratings among them throughout 2020. He failed to expand his base, but won nearly every demographic in Nevada, even moderates and conservatives, and led nationally among black voters on the eve of South Carolina.
Then there’s the downright inexplicable. How did Sanders lose when surveys and exit poll after poll showed the public, and especially Democrats, overwhelmingly supported his policies, even in states he lost badly? How was he so decisively beaten despite being the first in either party to ever win the popular vote in the opening three contests, given that every Democrat since 1976 who’s won the first two alone has clinched the nomination? And when no nominee since 1972 has placed below second in either, how did Biden pull off a historic rout after coming a lowly fourth and fifth? More strangely, how did he do it when he neither visited nor even had a campaign operation in many of the states he ended up winning?
Answering these questions means understanding the topsy-turvy world of the 2020 election, the continuing power of legacy media, and how primary elections can swing wildly based on delicate shifts in perception. …
“The press of this country is now and always has been so thoroughly dominated by the wealthy few of the country that it cannot be depended upon to give the great mass of the people the correct information concerning political, economic, and social subjects which it is necessary that the mass of people shall have, in order that they shall vote and in all ways act in the best way to protect themselves from the brutal force and chicanery of the ruling and employing class.”
— E.W. Scripps , founder of Scripps Howard Company, a one-time progressive news corporation. Now? Not so much.
(Commoner Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2020. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )