If we cast our minds back to the 2016 election, its easy to take for granted now that Hillary Clinton won the democratic primary. Despite the fact that she is now generally depicted as a figure of failure, Hillary was undoubtedly the front runner for the nomination. Alas, after riding the wave of equally stomach-churning endorsements from virtue-signalling celebrities and wall street fat cats, she could not even beat Donald Trump. And that is simply because a large constituent of the electorate didn’t like Hillary Clinton, there was no grand conspiracy as to why Hillary lost the election. The lack of votes in key swing states like Iowa and Michigan turned the key battlegrounds, and subsequently the country, red.
This is how the election is remembered by the mainstream democratic media, Trump won, Hillary lost and we’re all going to die. But if we try really hard, we might just remember the man who, without counting the ‘tow the party line’ superdelegate votes, polled better in the primary than Hillary in the swing states of Iowa and Michigan, Bernie Sanders, a man whom most establishment democrats see as an unwelcome outsider, a wasp at the DNC’s picnic, buzzing on about Medicare for all.
Let’s be clear, Bernie would not have won the primaries in 2016 based on the popular vote alone, but it would have been close. Closer than you would expect from a man who was 20 points behind at the beginning of the primaries, closer than you would expect from a self-proclaimed socialist in a country where such a statement is traditionally considered treasonous. Its also worth mentioning that the majority of Bernie’s supporters are under 30, a disproportionate contingency of whom are not democrat members and thus unable to vote in the primaries, partially due to the requirement in certain states of independents having just 25 days to register for the closed primaries, a policy put in place just before this election. Bernie made a statement in 2016, and it didn’t go unnoticed by the younger, more radically progressive members of the electorate, who were quick to accuse the DNC of rallying against Bernie. Citing the convoluted primary system as being structurally biased with its closed primaries and lobbyist superdelegates, a popular rhetoric was spun of the primaries being rigged, and left millions of progressives feeling disenfranchised with the party.
So, Sanders doesn’t have a very good track record with the process of the democratic nomination, but in 2020, things are a bit different. After a gallant performance four years prior in the primaries and Clinton’s meagre presidential campaign, Sanders is leading some of the polls, and narrowly missing out to party stalwart Joe Biden in others. And yet on the dawn of a new decade, Sanders is subjected to another, altogether more brazen political hit piece, an accusation of sexism, and it came at the behest of his closest ideological ally.
Elizabeth Warren, with her campaign steadily receding in the polls just three weeks from the first primary vote in Iowa, chose now to reveal, exclusively to CNN, coincidentally, the holders of the debate, that Bernie had stated that he did not believe a woman could ever win the presidency. Maybe it had simply lapsed her mind up until this point, after all she did previously forget whether or not she her son attended private school. Even if we accept for a brief moment that Warren’s testimony is gospel, considering the statement pertained to a meeting which supposedly took place two years ago, the timing of this revelation appears to be politically motivated regardless where the truth lies. The accusation took centre stage at the final democratic TV debate on January 14th and with CNN’s debate moderator Abby Phillip, a well-versed democratic establishmentarian, having previously worked with ABC and the Washington post, treating the story as fact despite Sanders denials. And then the post-election media coverage further criticising the statement, those who were brazen enough even calling out Bernie for sexism. Bernie Sanders has once again been straw manned, and even Trump can see through it.
It cannot truly be proven either way if it’s true, but even if it is, after 2016’s shock result you can hardly claim that such a statement warrants allegations of sexism. I do not believe that Bernie Sanders would have said this. Firstly, there’s the fact that the only people willing to back up Warren’s accusations were not actually present in the meeting, but as Sanders himself points out it would be strangely out of character. After all, Bernie was initially intending to defer all his support to Warren in the 2016 campaign and it is only when she pulled out, he re-joined the race and began to gather momentum.
The key takeaway from this though isn’t so much the lie claim itself, nor is it Warren’s willingness to lie or slander her self-proclaimed “friend”, after all, she has a track record, but instead the evidential unwillingness of some in the democratic sphere of influence to support a true progressive candidate. It wouldn’t be the first time this election cycle either, with other candidates like Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang being denied a spot on TV debate stages despite strong support in both polls and donations. The fact that the polling numbers of Sanders and Elizabeth Warren added together eclipse all other candidates would surely demonstrate to the Democrats the power of the progressive vote makes whole situation even more sickening for progressive Americans.
Warren was initially accused of backstabbing Bernie and his band of progressives when she didn’t commit to Medicare for all and accepted corporate pact money at the start of the campaign, now she truly has twisted the knife, because the only person that going after Bernie Sanders truly helps is the man closest to him in the polls, Joe Biden. Biden is a candidate that the progressives truly despise, in their eyes, he represents Hillary 2.0, and probably therefore, another Trump victory in 2020. There has already been speculation that Warren’s actions may have been motivated by securing a Vice President on the Biden ticket, subsequently completing her betrayal of progressive politics.
It would seem that the norm in American politics is now hordes of disenfranchised voters begrudgingly waking up on election day and asking themselves, “who do I hate the least”. Last time there was a narrow Trump victory but with faith in their party at an all time low, it may only get worse for American progressives.
By O Gille