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Tom Rinaldo

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Member since: Mon Oct 20, 2003, 06:39 PM
Number of posts: 22,309

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People both here and in the larger media universe have been writing Bernie off all year

I can't count how often he has been dismissed as a rapidly fading and "spent" force, with no possible real path forward to the nomination. Mostly though, away from DU, he is consistently ignored and mentioned as an afterthought only, while pundits talk on and on about Elizabeth, and Mayor Pete and Uncle Joe, although Bernie has consistently ranked in the top tier of candidates, frequently polling at number two both nationally and in the early primary states. This despite the fact that Bernie Sanders virtually always ranks just behind Joe Biden in national polls showing who will defeat Trump by the largest margin. If that is noted at all critics contend it is only because Sanders has high "voter recognition" because of his 2016 run. Funny how high "voter recognition" is never cited as a factor underlying support for Joe Biden. The simple truth is that Bernie Sanders has support from tens of millions of voters. Regardless of what one thinks of him personally (or those voters), Sanders remains an important figure in the resistance to Donald Trump

I have watched critics of Bernie Sanders here wage a relentless three year long and counting assault on the Senator from Vermont. It has often been justified in the name of "vetting", but other names for "vetting" are attack politics and negative campaigning. True it is a more or less legitimate part of politics in a Democracy to attempt to gain leverage on a rival by exposing real or potential weaknesses in them. But it does not scrub negative campaigning of negativity to cloak it instead as "vetting". I have seen posts here for years "attacking" Sanders for "attacking" Democrats, and almost never is even a trace of irony acknowledged.

Much anger has been expressed here that Sanders, for example, "attacked" Clinton by raising concerns like the multi millions she earned off speeches given to top Wall Street firms prior to her 2016 run. Few outside of core Sanders supporters acknowledge that raising such concerns could fall under the definition of "vetting". Sanders is said to have "weakened" Clinton. She says so herself in real time today. Maybe so. But the continued years long "vetting" campaign regarding Bernie Sanders, coming from those who do not support him, is the most intense sustained exercise in negative campaigning that I have ever witnessed during inter-mural fighting on our center left side of the political spectrum. And I have no doubt that it serves the purpose of "weakening" Bernie Sanders. Clearly it has done so here, where Sanders consistently polls lower than he does in all national polls and in all primary state polls of likely Democratic voters. Sanders usually even polls higher among African American voters in South Carolina than he does here on DU, a forum that has overall shown a strong willingness to embrace progressive politics.

I watched how sustained efforts to attack Hillary Clinton (who I supported for President in 2008) over many years weakened her overall standing with the general public, and enthusiasm for her candidacy was effected. Right now, in December of 2019, Bernie Sanders is among a small handful of human beings plausibly positioned to win the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. If Sanders does, which he well might despite all of the many proclamations here to the contrary, he will need as much support as is politically possible in order to rid our nation of the Trump cancer. I have my opinions and my preferences and some times express my reasons for them, but I have not expressed a single harsh utterance against any of our potential Democratic candidates (with the possible exception of Tulsi Gabbard).

Bernie Sanders may be our candidate in 2020. Only the willfully blind inside our Democratic coalition can not acknowledge that he has his strengths as well as weaknesses. I hope all of us will, with the the bulk of our comments, strongly acknowledge that any of our plausible possible nominees will powerfully serve our national interests if elected in November. We don't have to relentlessly tear into any of them in order to advocate for one or more of them. If Sanders wins the nomination, which is at least highly possible if not highly likely, I hope none of us will have to later regret the battering he underwent on the way to that nomination.

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