Bernie Sanders Proves the Pundits Wrong
By Jim Hightower / OtherWordsThis piece originally ran on OtherWords.
The problem with applying conventional wisdom to political campaigns is that it can suddenly be upended by an unconventional campaign.
National media pundits have been riveted by Donald Trump’s flagrantly narcissistic run for the Republican presidential nomination. But Exhibit A for the most remarkable political challenge to conventional wisdom is Bernie Sanders and his totally unconventional, unabashedly populist run for the Democratic nomination.
When the Vermont senator launched his campaign last May, the snarky cognoscenti pronounced his effort dead on arrival. Not a chance, they snorted, that a 74-year-old, Jewish, democratic socialist going against Hillary Clinton’s powerhouse machine — and daring to call for a people’s revolution against Wall Street and reckless corporate elites — could come close to winning.
But Bernie’s authenticity and straight talk have mocked the cynicism of the “wise ones” and shocked the self-assured Clintonites. Huge crowds have turned out to cheer Bernie as he denounces the chasm of inequality ripping America apart.
Moreover, grassroots supporters have made Sanders’ run financially competitive. A record 2.5 million individual donors chipped in an average of $27 each last year to gird him with an impressive campaign fund of $73 million.
And now, polls show that Bernie “no chance” Sanders has surged into the lead among Democratic voters in both Iowa and New Hampshire, including taking a significant lead among New Hampshire women. Yeah, say the scoffers, but he can’t win the general election. In fact, polls now show he would handily defeat Trump, Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio, outperforming Clinton against all three.
Not only is Bernie defying the odds, but he’s doing it by showing that an authentic candidate with an authentic message can generate an authentic people’s movement.
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also the editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.WAIT, BEFORE YOU GO…
If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.
Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.