Journalist Al Giordano concisely explains why Sen. Bernie Sanders is not winning the 2016 Democratic primary
Al Giordano is a seasoned journalist with a background in political activism, having worked for years with Abbie Hoffman, against nuclear power and US intervention in Nicaragua, as Rolling Stone noted, among various undertakings. The wildly corrupt Mexican bank Banamex, now part of Citigroup, tried to silence his work in court but failed. In 2000 he launched one of my favorite websites, NarcoNews, reporting the grim realities of a corrupt and sprawling war on drugs with continental scope. (which has been on the permanent sidebar here for who knows how long). He also has organized the School of Authentic Journalism to train young journalists.
More recently, outside of the NarcoNews project, Al has been unyielding in pointing out the shortcomings of Sen. Bernie Sanders' primary campaign and the activities of his supporters. When I first noticed this I was a bit surprised since I think of Hillary Clinton as the quintessential establishment, pro-war-on-drug politician, but I appreciated that Giordano was sticking to the facts. He is very, very good at predicting primary election results, although he was wrong about the 2016 Michigan Democratic primary.
I was able to briefly engage Giordano tonight on Allen Richardson's Facebook post about Arizona results and get him to spell out a little bit more of his logic for how, why and when Sanders fell so short among many important segments of the US primary voting public. He noted that Sanders' vote nine years ago against Sen. Ted Kennedy's immigration reform bill didn't help matters, and also has called attention to the lack of deep training which contrasts to the more thorough Camp Obama trainings as documented here in summer 2007.
DF: I am curious what strategy could have worked better for Sanders if we could rewind the campaign time period Al Giordano, or do Sanders' inescapable liabilities stretch back to the 1990s or before? He kinda seemed like a more hacky version of Paul Wellstone before the campaign started.. i definitely agree w you there was never a good training camp that could have put the volunteers on a better footing as you have pointed out lately.
Giordano: Yes, one of the things that distinguished Paul Wellstone was his Camp Wellstone trainings, which are still happening. One is coming up in May in Virginia: http://www.wellstone.org/events/camp-wellstone-virginia-civic-engagement...
Sanders blew it with most black voters when he kept running against Obama's record and putting Obama haters like Cornel West out there to be a surrogate. He blew it with Latino voters when he had no remorse or good explanation for his 2007 vote vs Ted Kennedy's immigration reform vote. Clinton voted wrong on Iraq but had the sense to reflect, say it was a mistake and apologize for it. Sanders just really shows no reflection at all about himself - a key warning sign to many people when white men do it.
DF: thanks for the concise explanation, that seems pretty logical.
Giordano: Instead Sanders made himself a magnet for the Obama haters, readers of the Intercept, same bunch of people who said he was "Bush in blackface" and other racial slurs, West who called him a "niggerized president." And those people sucked up so much oxygen that the organizer left simply said "gross" and didn't want to be associated with it. Then Clinton smartly pivoted to hugging Obama (after initially trying to distance herself). When Bernie said in January that Clinton was hugging Obama "to pander to black people" that ruined him with most of that demographic, that which loves the president. When he said "you can be a progressive or you can be a moderate but you can't be both" that purity trolling ruined him with many on the left who rejected that kind of fundamentalism over the years. When his people attacked John Lewis and Dolores Huerta - some even attacked Liz Warren for remaining neutral! - the wheels came totally off the bus. The rest has just been mopping up since then.
DF: I've been a fan of narconews forever, I'm glad you're talking people down from the bubble reality of campaign season
Giordano: Not all of them are glad, but it's a "teaching moment."
For progressive ideas to succeed in the electoral arena in this country, it will be critical in future cycles to avoid the kind of problems that Giordano outlines here. I could rave on about how terrible the elections administration is in the United States, the huge wave of voter suppression on the way due to new "Voter ID" hurdles and the Voting Rights Act Section 4 Supreme Court strikedown in June 2013 which will block countless votes, or the email server scandal could pop up again as Pat Lang suggests, but those are issues for another post. Truly Sanders and his leadership staff have to be held accountable for their own shortcomings in the campaign, and we all have to take the teaching moments as they come. Like millions of Americans I am tired of the bubble reality of election season politics, but we still have a long ways to go, don't we?
Photo is Creative Commons via Wikimedia.
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