The Bernie Bubble

Who is promoting Sanders and why?

Bernie Sanders is blowing up, but is his bubble bound to burst? Photo credit: Adapted from a photo by Sergey Galyonkin / Flickr
Reading Time: 3 minutes

There is a good chance that even Bernie Sanders himself is wondering why he is doing so well in the polls right now and why he managed to raise $15 million in the second quarter of the year.

The “Bernie surge” can be partly explained by the long-thwarted desire of progressive Democrats for a real champion … a mantle that the self-proclaimed socialist has donned with great gusto. (It’s important to remember, however, that Sanders was by no means the first choice of the left wing of the Democratic Party; that honor would have gone to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, if she had entered the race.)

But there’s a second big factor behind Sanders’s surge that has to do with the media’s need for a competitive contest: Ad-sponsored websites make their money with clicks, and a boring race is not going to generate enough revenue-producing interest. While the battle for the GOP nomination is a total circus (including a veritable carnival barker as current front-runner), the Democratic primary promises to be an absolute snoozefest.

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Naturally, the press has been trying to make it look like a contest and not a coronation.

So naturally, the press has been trying to make it look like a contest and not a coronation. While “advocacy news” aggregators like the Drudge Report (see WhoWhatWhy’s story on this) and the Huffington Post have been vigorously hyping Sanders, the major mainstream news outlets have done their part by not yet scrutinizing the Vermont senator.

This honeymoon phase won’t last forever.

It is telling that Hillary Clinton has not yet attacked Sanders – neither directly nor through surrogates. You can be sure that her team has a massive opposition research file on the senator. But for the moment there is no upside to going into battle mode. Part of Sanders’ appeal is that he is an underdog, and voters might not take kindly to an all-out assault on a rival whom Clinton still leads by 40% nationally and by a comfortable margin in Iowa.

Even if Sanders were to upset the former first lady in New Hampshire, where the race is tightest and he has the best chance of winning, he simply doesn’t have the kind of national operation and resources that would allow him to compete everywhere.

A New Hampshire poll that was released Tuesday night shows Sanders trailing Clinton by 6% in the Granite State, which makes the race there a statistical tie. It also served as further evidence for the dynamics at play.

The poll, which was not the first to show that the race in New Hampshire is a statistical dead heat, was featured prominently on the Drudge Report, Huffington Post and The New York Times.

A Prediction

If he does get within 20 points nationally, expect the media to turn a spotlight on Sanders and his record. At that point, progressives will find out that he is not the unblemished champion they imagine, especially in key areas like gun control, US military interventions, and immigration.

If Sanders does get within 20 points nationally, progressives will likely find out that he is not the unblemished champion they imagine.

With this in mind, the Clinton team seems determined to wait things out, on the assumption that Democrats won’t entrust the nomination to somebody who is not even a member of their party. Of course, Sanders, at 73, would also be the oldest major party candidate in 2016. Clinton, at 67, would be the second oldest. (Ronald Reagan was 69 when he was elected president.)  Sanders would also be the first Jewish nominee in history.

At the same time, one can almost feel sorry for Clinton. Her main declared opponent is largely getting a pass in the media while she is taking her lumps almost daily. Every single Republican is trying to score points by criticizing her (and completely ignoring Sanders). The House’s Select Committee on Benghazi, which was already serving as an anti-Hillary forum, has basically morphed into the House Committee on Finding Dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Still, Clinton is by far in the best position of any of her rivals. Despite the Bernie bubble and the possibility of Vice President Joe Biden throwing his hat into the ring, she can expect to be nominated fairly easily. This will allow her to save up a lot of the resources that she will need next fall, when the winner of an epically messy GOP primary is ready to turn his or her full attention to the final battle for the White House. And that’s when a “surge” in any direction can  get…really interesting.

PANORAMA CAPTION: Why has Hillary Clinton been silent so far about the increasing popularity of Bernie Sanders?

Related front page panorama photo credit:  Hillary Clinton (US Department of State  / Flickr), Bernie Sanders rally (Gage Skidmore / Flickr).

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0 responses to “The Bernie Bubble”

  1. Bernie will never be president. He’s too honest :))

  2. Smiley Miller says:

    Welcome to the world of politics

  3. Where does this fiction, pulp magazine article come from and why it it on WWW ? Russ, don’t tell me you’re going for Hillary for president. Bernie Sanders is moving ahead for one reason only. Americans are fed up to the teeth with lying, cheating, two-faced corporate backed millionaires running the country. Sanders wants to give the country back to the people. That is why he’s rolling along until someone kills him. That remark about “even Bernie doesn’t know why he’s doing so well” is ridiculous. He knows exactly why he’s doing so well. He’s honest, and people see that and want it and nothing but it! Hillary lost the debate 75% for Bernie, 17% for Hillary CNN poll on the night of the debate. Next morning, numbers turned around. Wonder if the corporate media had anything to do with that lie. It’s called ‘print what we tell you’ or you’re finished. Real good news media you have in America. Reminds me of Germany in the thirties.when they brainwashed the people with false news. Maybe America deserves what’s coming, but the rest of the world is sick of America. Everyone outside of the country is pulling for Bernie. I wonder why?

  4. H.P. Loathecraft says:

    Management owes it’s readers an apology for this pathetic, counter-factual screed, amirite?

  5. H.P. Loathecraft says:

    “It is telling that Hillary Clinton has not yet attacked Sanders – neither directly nor through surrogates.”

    Um, really? Not counting Barney Franks (at least 3x, that I’ve seen) and Claire McCaskill (no less than twice)?
    It’s more helpful if your readers are stupid, uninformed or both, I suppose.

  6. Bob Boldt says:

    I’ll feel “almost sorry for Clinton” when I see her properly
    hoisted on her own petard!

  7. tsyganka says:

    This article reads like a hit-piece on Bernie Sanders. Oooh, he’s not “unblemished.” – Is Madam Clinton unblemished? Is Jeb! whose-last-name-must-not-be-spoken-due-to-its-horrifyingly-negative-asociations? How about a”spotless” candidate in the GOPer clown car, which has now become a short bus?

    A bit earlier, poster Vivek Jain noted that social movements and class struggle (vs.’elections’) “have been responsible
    for all the limited improvements for working people.” Note that Sanders (and no other candidate) is calling for a political revolution. If we don’t have one of those SOON, we’re very likely to have the bloody kind.

    If Sanders doesn’t get the nomination, I’ve HAD it with voting on electronic fraud machines and with demure petitions and “please sirs” that accomplish nothing. A Bush dynasty or a Clinton dynasty (or one of the other bozos) means that the USA is going to be KILLED by the TPP, (no more tripartite government; no more citizens’ rights) and by more wars, GMOs, lethal pipelines, crumbling bridges, burst gas and water mains, the ruin of the environment, giving credence to irrational fundamentalists, more brutality by cops (the thug caste for fascists) etc., etc., and the continuance of spying that makes people self-censor, thus destroying friendship and creative thought.

    Do you understand this? Clinton and Jeb whose-last-name-is-anathema are corporatist-fascists. The MSM are corporate-owned and will never tell us the truth.

  8. nha16 says:

    I think WWW should apologize for this article. (Anyone can make a mistake.) We are not stupid on this site, and we long ago decided not to allow ourselves to be manipulated against our own self-interest.

  9. Jan Goodman says:

    I too am disappointed by this article. Far from pushing a “contest” between Hillary and Sanders, the mainstream media has, by and large ignored Sanders and the huge crowds he has been getting. (although, a few articles have started to appear).

  10. nha16 says:

    Blah, blah, blah, Ginger.

  11. Steve Sperdacion says:

    Has this site officially sold out? This was proven as false propaganda a week ago yet it still hasnt been taken down. Ill give it 3 more days but then ill stop coming here and spread the word that this is another disinfo site.

  12. From Our Facebook Page says:

    (Comment from reader Bobby Rae) Don’t kid yourself, the attacks have already started, both by commission and omission. Hillarites have only held back because she has a lot of skeletons in a lot of closets.

  13. From Our Facebook Page says:

    (Comment by reader Sean Eubanks) Hillary will expose him for voting to fund the Iraq war & the extra billion given to Israel for its continued atrocities in Gaza. He’s a pro-war, Israel-first candidate that the right normally salivates over. What sets him apart is after his 8 years, every industry in the U.S. would be nationalized, the wars would continue, but the debt would end up being around 32 trillion with all of his domestic spending. It would be an interesting experiment to see how well we would do as a larger Venezuela or Cuba. There is no candidate that will stop the trillions flowing over seas. The only question left with the democrats vs republicans is how much would they spend taking care of Americans here at home. Bernie would break the bank & promise an iPad in every pot. Hillary and Bush will both increase military spending to 1 trillion and cut domestic programs.

    • And that would be 100% bull. Where do you come up with this. Please tell me this is some kind of way out satire. The reason Hillary can’t dump on Bernie is because he’s got nothing to hide, ’cause he’s always been honest and above board. Hillary can’t possibly attack Bernie ’cause if she does, all the dirt in the world will fall on her and she won’t be able to get elected dog catcher. I can’t believe she has high numbers in the polls. Oh yeah. That’s right. MSM and more corruption from the top 1%. Money and control is her life’s breath. She cares nothing about anything but!

  14. krinks says:

    Liberalism is a mental disorder. Liberal candidates have been lying their way into office for 40 years. The last openly liberal candidate was George McGovern who was crushed 48 – 2. Liberals are self deceived ignoring the lies from lying liars to get elected (recall Obama proclaiming marriage as one man and one woman in 2008) and actually think a liberal can win. When Sanders gets crushed in the general election Liberals will have to relearn this lesson.

    • Steve Sperdacion says:

      Says a bush fan? Talk about mental.

    • nha16 says:

      Go ahead and push Sanders thinking he doesn’t have a chance in the Genereal! We welcome all Conservative support, since Bernie is fighting for you Too!!

    • krinks says:

      You’ve followed politicians who have lied their way into office for so long that you will be shocked to find out what the public really thinks about a high tax/big gov’t liberal. There is a reason everyone acts and sounds conservative during election season. There is also a reason liberals views have to be hidden inside comedy to get thew public (Stewart, Oliver, Maher, etc) to watch them. If Sanders is the nominee you’ll find out why this is so.

  15. I read your book Family of Secrets:The Bush Dynasty. But Klaus Marre is not only factually incorrect, he is an author of a spy novel, a guy with almost no following on Twitter and

    what in the world is this piece about. He wants a debate between Trump and Sanders and would pay to see it. I don’t think this is the intellectual level of a website that anyone would use to make any serious judgments.

  16. (Comment by reader @ricketzz) The “media” don’t cover Sanders (except as a punchline).

  17. Steve Sperdacion says:

    Does Marre control the comments to this? Someone is deleting painful facts.

    • Steve Sperdacion says:

      never mind. they deleted my comment below for a second but then put it back after I made this one.

  18. Steve Sperdacion says:

    Good to see readers of this site are too smart to fall for this propaganda. My question is why did the site allow this. Russ made his name with a great book about how the Bush family was involved in the killing of JFK and Watergate. It’s clearly not the place for pro establishment propaganda. So how did this get by the editors?

  19. Get this ‘supermarket rag’ article off of WWW. This article is like
    a ‘smear campaign’, paid for by HRC, who by the way, if she should get
    into office it would be a real crime for ‘TRUTH’ in this country. Why
    not put, “This ad was paid for by the elect Hillary for President team”.
    If WWW backs a liar and a cheat plus the worst possible Democratic
    runner for the highest office in the land, it would be very sad. Klaus
    Marre . Go peddle your drivel to the ‘National Enquirer’.

  20. Vivek Jain says:

    Howard Zinn wrote, “In our election-obsessed culture, everything else going on in the world — war, hunger, official brutality, sickness, the violence of everyday life for huge numbers of people — is swept out of the way, while the media insist we watch every twist and turn of what candidates say and do. Thus, the superficial crowds out the meaningful, and this is very useful for those who do not want citizens to look beneath the surface of the system. In the shadows, and hidden by the dueling of the candidates (if you can call it a duel when the opponents thrust and lunge with plastic swords) are real issues of race and class, war and peace, which the public is not supposed to think about, as the media experts pontificate endlessly about who is winning, and throw numbers in our faces like handfuls of sand….”
    “The pretense in disputed elections is that the great conflict is between the two major parties. The reality is that there is a much bigger conflict that the two parties jointly wage against large numbers of Americans who are represented by neither party and against powerless millions around the world.”

    • Too bad you’re not on any ballot for president. I would love to see a mind like yours taking apart those mutants who call themselves ‘candidates’. (with the exception of Bernie).

    • nha16 says:

      I would add that Bernie is running as a Democrat precisely for the reasons you site. He could not get his message out any other way.

  21. Get this ‘supermarket rag’ article off of WWW. Russ please don’t start
    running cheap shot journalism to ruin a great site. This article is like
    a ‘smear campaign’, paid for by HRC, who by the way, if she should get
    into office it would be a real crime for ‘TRUTH’ in this country. Why
    not put, “This ad was paid for by the elect Hillary for President team”.
    If WWW backs a liar and a cheat plus the worst possible Democratic
    runner for the highest office in the land, it would be very sad. Klaus
    Marre . Go peddle your drivel to the ‘National Enquirer’.

    This is the third time I tried to put this response on this comment page. If for some reason this comment is not appropriate, I’d like to know why, In other words;// Who makes these decisions? What is the reason for blocking this post? and Why is this happening on WWW? You can make a reply to this comment and let me know the answers to these questions. Thank you!

    • Steve Sperdacion says:

      I think this site may have sold out and is trying to censor anyone that says anything.

  22. Brian Ferguson says:

    I suspect the author of this article (Klaus Marre) is holding at least a mild bias against Sanders. Giving a basic example (aside from its general tone of dismissal), this article calls Sanders a “self-proclaimed socialist,” which is not what he in fact calls himself. This approach has been taken by a large number of media outlets and interviewers who are trying to stir up a prejudice in their audience by creating an immediate reaction of recoil at the word. Talk about ‘click-bait’…

    In actuality, every time an interviewer tries to introduce him with the “you’re a self-described socialist” line, Sanders makes a very specific point of correcting them by saying that he’s a democratic socialist. He then goes on to indicate various European countries which are more aligned with his point of view and which are having success in the areas America is currently failing.

    Based on what’s written here, even if the attempt is to be ‘realistic’, I have to say that this article and its author generally appear somewhat shallow. Kinda disappointed that this is on Who What Why… not the level of integrity I’d expect.

    • Vivek Jain says:

      1. Sanders isn’t a socialist.
      2. The office of the POTUS serves the ruling class and the capitalist-imperialist system.
      3. The POTUS is the First Enemy of the “99%”.
      4. Civilians and inhabitants of the USA must understand that elections are a means by which the ruling class perpetuates itself and succesfully achieves its agenda.
      5. It is social movements and class struggle–not the installation of fake-left politicians in offices of power–that have been responsible for all the limited improvements for working people. Whenever you find yourself foolishly thinking that politicizns will fight for us, pick up your Howard Zinn.

  23. Brian Ferguson says:

    Yeah, this isn’t a very good article at all.. Kinda disappointed because this is one of the first I’ve seen after signing up to the WWW newsletter. I was led here in the first place by Russ Baker’s book ‘Family of Secrets’, which is way more serious and significant in its approach to political subjects. By contrast, this article seems to have very little integrity.

  24. Lloyd says:

    Sad to see u have went down this path www.

  25. Right you are. Kind of sad that this ‘article’ is on WWW.

  26. Steve Sperdacion says:

    “It is telling that Hillary Clinton has not yet attacked Sanders – neither directly nor through surrogates.” this part is false. I’ll keep reading but her surrogates have attacked him a lot and are saying he is racist.

    • Steve Sperdacion says:

      ahhh, kept reading and see you are doing the same: “If he does get within 20 points nationally, expect the media to turn a spotlight on Sanders and his record. At that point, progressives will find out that he is not the unblemished champion they imagine, especially in key areas like gun control, US military interventions, and immigration.” So next I will research who you are, Klaus Marre.

    • Steve Sperdacion says:

      And there we go. https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/marre

      “I first had the idea for “Human Intelligence” when I worked as a political journalist in Washington, DC, and covered the 9/11 Commission.
      When the Pentagon was hit, I was across the street and I think the proximity to the attacks has given me and many others a special perspective of 9/11. I tried to convey some of the experiences from that day in this novel.

      I covered the 9/11 Commission as a reporter and that gave me the idea for “Human Intelligence.” One of the findings of the commission was that we are lacking human intelligence in the fight against terrorism. We’re great at listening on phone calls and reading emails but it’s proven to be nearly impossible to infiltrate a group like al Qaeda. I asked myself how that could be changed and came up with this story.”
      Who are you really?

    • Well, he likes to work in Thailand. That’s nice.

  27. Ross says:

    “At that point, progressives will find out that he is not the unblemished champion they imagine, especially in key areas like gun control, US military interventions, and immigration.” People on the left who want to know already know Sanders record. Clinton’s record is far worse she will not be able to attack him on these issues.