True, I guess, but then everyone in a one-on-one race with an avowed socialist is going to be heavily supported by the “corporate establishment.” Whom do you suppose big business, corporate media, and Wall Street would support in a race between, say, Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders? Beto O’Rourke and Bernie Sanders? Julian Castro and Bernie Sanders?
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders?
Watch, then read on:
Bernie Sanders on Joe Biden: "Does anyone seriously believe that a president backed by the corporate world is going to bring about the changes in this country that working families and the middle class and lower-income people desperately need?" pic.twitter.com/2W8Z74Yb9D
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 4, 2020
Fine, insofar as Bernie thinks corporate America prefers Biden — or literally anyone else — to him, he’s correct. But this spiel is weirdly tone-deaf because of how it glosses over what was so remarkable about Biden’s win last night. The man won state after state after state even though he hardly competed anywhere. He was broke! The corporate establishment didn’t hand him an arsenal. Biden ran hardly any ads anywhere before Super Tuesday. Bernie is the fundraising juggernaut in the race thanks to his army of small-dollar donors, not Joe. Just like Bernie is the one with a formidable campaign apparatus stretched across the country, not Joe. Biden had no meaningful organization on the ground.
One potential loser tonight is campaigns. Like, in general.
Joe Biden had ONE field office in Virginia. Was outspent 7-to-1 by Sanders and almost 100-to-1 by Bloomberg in all super Tuesday States. Had barely campaigned in any states. And yet…
— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) March 4, 2020
His wing-and-a-prayer strategy for Super Tuesday was to run up the score in South Carolina with heavy African-American support, hope that Buttigieg and Klobuchar would immediately quit, watch the media go crazy over Joementum for 72 hours, then cross his fingers and pray that name recognition plus the revival of his “Mr. Electability” brand in SC would make him competitive nationally overnight. It was insane. It was irresponsible. And it succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. Bernie’s “corporate establishment” shtick here feels like a speech he’d written in case Bloomberg had a big night yesterday and which he reworked on the fly to use against Biden. It doesn’t have the same punch against a guy who was relatively underfunded and unorganized and who, unlike Hillary, is well-liked by working-class voters. Worse, it risks irritating black voters by diminishing a moment of real electoral glory for them by treating it as some sort of corporate plot:
And I said all that minutes before I Sanders today dismissed Biden as backed by the “corporate establishment,” even after black voters swung the tide of this primary. He keeps carelessly tossing these terms around, not realizing (or perhaps caring) whom he is branding with them. https://t.co/5I9EoNfIgg
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) March 4, 2020
Black Democrats in South Carolina may have just effectively decided the party’s nominee, rescuing a failing candidacy from the brink of death and propelling it to a juggernaut overnight, and here’s Sanders — who continues to struggle with black voters — framing Biden’s victory as a triumph of the billionaires. I remember reading this piece last weekend about how some black Biden voters in SC aimed to send a message with their vote for Joe that they can’t be taken for granted by the party. Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, all of that is nice, but if you want to be the Democratic nominee you need black Democrats in your corner. They sent that message even more loudly and clearly than they could have imagined.
And yet here’s Bernie, taking them for granted anyway.
Sanders is he is who he is, though. He doesn’t adjust to changed circumstances. That was the point of the earlier post. What else is a left-wing populist supposed to say about a moderate who’s backed by most of the party but that he’s a tool of corporate America, even if that tool prevailed last night with a shoestring campaign fueled by working-class and black support? Ideologically, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Which leads to cringey soundbites like this:
More than half of American households own stock. Even the minority who don’t would suffer greatly from knock-on effects due to a market downturn. Bernie’s trying to make the point here that Biden’s plutocratic masters are thrilled to see a candidate rise who’ll continue to let them exploit the working class, but I think most people — especially those suburban swing voters who have been trending blue — watch this clip and think, “Does this dude think a market surge is a bad thing?”
Here’s your exit quotation, in which Sanders ends up identifying the real reason he underperformed on Super Tuesday. The “corporate establishment” didn’t make progressives under age 30 take the night off.
BERNIE SANDERS: "Have we been as successful as I would hope in bringing young people in? And the answer is no. We're making some progress." pic.twitter.com/1jZ620YNtD
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 4, 2020