Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced his bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination Tuesday morning on CBS, and as many would expect, a media tidal wave of reactions came crashing down hard.
A collection of arguments discounting Sanders’ 2020 chances resurfaced the mainstream media apparatus reminiscent of 2016, floating around the notions that his time has come and passed, that he’s too old and too white, that he’ll be a victim of his own success, or that his second push for the presidency will only further fragment the Democratic Party and hand over an easy win to Donald Trump in the general election if nominated.
A recent Washington Post columnist argued this by stating Sanders simply “aired the vacuum” of Washington contempt for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and should realize his time has past. Another WaPo columnist, Henry Olsen, argues Sanders was a “one-hit wonder,” writing:
Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) has moved into a close third in most polls and has the benefit of being a younger person of color — a fresh act, so to speak. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has her fans and is releasing new, original work of her own, such as a wealth tax and a national child-care plan. Former congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.) has brought youth, charisma and even performance art to his progressive act. Bernie no longer has the stage to himself.
While Olsen is obviously correct in stating that the Democratic field is crowded in 2020, with new options such as Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Cory Booker to challenge the Senator from Vermont, he strikingly underestimates not only how much support the Sanders campaign received back in 2016, but also the leftward shift in direction of the party since that year, and Sanders’ swarm of public appeal across the entire political spectrum. Bernie has the advantage here and it’s literally right in his face.
Where the (Democratic) Party At?
Since Sanders’ 2016 campaign, the Democratic Party talking points have moved towards a more-leftist, progressive rhetoric, verbally expressing interest in proposed policy ideas like Medicare For All, Free College Tuition, A Green New Deal, a $15 minimum wage, and much more. Many of these ideas can be traced directly back to that campaign, and now they are all being used as the minimum standard of holding the Democratic nomination. This alone proves that the current ideology and energy of the Democratic base leans towards Sanders and, in fact, stems directly from him.
Let’s not forget that in 2016, Sanders received 46 percent of total pledged delegates, an amazing 43 percent of the Democratic popular vote, won the vote of 22 states, and most astonishingly, raised more than Hillary Clinton ($134 million to $105 million) from small donations under $200. Small-dollar donations accounted for nearly 57 percent of the Sanders campaign funding at a time when he was not even an American household name yet.
In 2019, with the progressive movement already in full throttle, Bernie Sanders is unquestionably a household name. And he’s already reminding people that there is a massive network of supporters and organizers left behind from 2016: On the day of his 2020 announcement to run, Sanders raised $5.9 million from 223,000 donors across every state in the country.
In contrast, Kamala Harris previously raised the most on the day of announcing, earning $1.5 million from 38,000 donors.
Money will unquestionably be a factor in this race to the DNC Convention, but with Bernie’s type of name recognition, he was probably the last candidate who needed the money — He’s already got his people.
Bernie is More Popular Than You And Me Combined
There is a swarm of evidence to prove how popular Bernie Sanders is across all types of factions within the Democratic Party, and abroad. His popularity as a politician is second to none in the country, and he appeals to a majority of Democrats (78%), a majority of independents (54%), and even a quarter of Republicans (26%).
The New York Times ran a story last Sunday highlighting the fact that Sanders only won 14 percent of the black vote in 2016, compared to Clinton’s impressive 86 percent, claiming he will have to more effectively resonate with black voters in 2020 if he wants to win the nomination. What The Times article horribly forgot to mention was that Sanders’ favorable-to-unfavorable numbers among nonwhite voters is 64–21, according to a September 2018 Gallup poll, and that he even received 52 percent of the black under-30 vote three years ago. As for the Harvard-Harris Poll from 2017 shown above, the figures speak for themselves.
Like we saw in the 2016 primary, the mainstream media was riddled with anti-Bernie propaganda op-eds. Remember when The Washington Post ran 16 negative articles on Sanders in the span of 16 hours? Yeah, it’s pretty hard to forget that coordinated attack in broad daylight.
So what’s the underlying difference this time around in 2020?
Well, we can expect to hear more of the same lines of attack from CNN, MSNBC and Fox News pandering to the masses that Sanders doesn’t have a chance in 2020, listing off a plethora of arguments against his nomination, including: 1. He isn’t even a Democrat, so he’s not qualified, 2. He’ll be 79-years-old if and when elected to the Oval Office and therefore a younger, fresh face is more desirable, or 3. He’s a “divisive” figure and the Democrats need to elect a centrist to securely defeat Trump.
At the end of the day, Senator Sanders and his campaign staffers are fully aware of how the political machine circus will operate in a second go of it, and so are his fervent supporters. His run in 2016 granted him the national spotlight he possesses today, but this time he’ll receive even more funding and more attention from the American public that will likely allow him to secure the nomination.
It’s undeniable that Bernie Sanders is the indisputable front-runner amongst the pack of Democratic candidates, and as of now, it’s not even close.