When Bernie Sanders first announced he was running for President of the United States last April, he knew he was in for a hard-fought battle. That day, he gathered a small crowd of reporters on a grassy strip and began what would evolve into his standard stump speech. Not many took notice, and he began a fervent campaign to introduce himself to hundreds of millions of Americans.
What he probably could never have imagined, though, was the brazen favoritism, election rigging, and truth-twisting committed by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton camp. When he first announced, he had very little name recognition. Party leaders laughed him off, casually telling voters he could never win.
But then he started filling stadiums, starting raising millions of dollars from individual donors and began winning elections.
And they’re still saying he can’t win, only now the screaming is fraught with lies perpetrated by well-known pundits like John Ralston and Rachel Maddow. Both attempted to paint him as an inciter of violence, and in a gross miscarriage of journalistic integrity, Maddow even showed a clip of a chair being thrown at a wrestling match and claimed it was Sanders delegates at the Nevada Convention.
From his earliest days as an activist, he has focused on non-violent protest. He never resorted to fisticuffs to get his point across. And yet Senator Harry Reid, with whom Sanders previously had an amicable working relationship, has now accused his colleague of fomenting discord and violence. Even after Bernie Sanders revealed that not only was his Las Vegas campaign office shot at, but his campaign workers’ apartments were ransacked, the media narrowly focused on how he still can’t win, how his supporters are “violent” and how his continued candidacy in the primary race is hurting Hillary Clinton.
As Shaun King so aptly wrote in his column, Clinton has no one to blame but herself for her weaknesses.
“Hillary Clinton has had every advantage a politician could ever have in this race. Her husband ran multiple campaigns for the Democratic nomination and was a two-term president. She ran in this race before just eight years ago and already had an established ground network in all 50 states. She has become filthy rich since she and Bill left the White House.”
If nothing else, Bernie Sanders has pulled the curtain back on something we all suspected but couldn’t yet prove: The Democratic Party doesn’t really care about the people. Sanders has discovered who his true allies are, who his enemies are, and in what direction the powers that be are determined to take this country.
It’s not a reassuring revelation to be sure, but it is a necessary one.
In a recent essay on The News Hub, Calvin Wolf warns that the DNC’s message of conformity is hurting the United States.
“How are young people supposed to dream big? How are they supposed to fight for what is right? The Clinton campaign and its backers have sent a cold, brutal message to today’s youth: Know your place. As a high school teacher and as a father, it makes me sick. It is a slap in the face to anyone who has ever struggled against the odds.”
What Sanders is also doing is showing the entire world just how corrupt and unscrupulous Hillary Clinton herself is. Sanders has never had to dig up dirt on Clinton. The media (which has grossly downplayed it for the most part) and his supporters are those who have shined the searing light on her highly unethical and maybe illegal activities in the past year.
To get an idea of Hillary’s authoritarian tendencies, one need look no further than the Nevada State Convention. The state party’s executive board met, moved the goalposts mid-game, and installed rules favoring Hillary at the state convention. And then when Sanders delegates cried foul and became angry, used that anger to accuse Sanders of encouraging violence.
MSNBC’s Morning Joe surprisingly called out DNC officials’ behavior toward Sanders supporters.
“It’s gotten really ugly. Look, a strong case, legitimate case… this has been a total bag job from the beginning.”
But that’s not all. Ed Rendell, the Democratic National Convention chairman, warned Sanders supporters to “behave,” a message meant to intimidate. The old “birds of a feather” argument is relevant here. Lee Fang on Twitter observed, where Sanders surrounds himself with activists and academics, Clinton surrounds herself with lobbyists for dictators and bankers.
Bernie has revealed how deeply his rival’s corruption goes by simple virtue of running at all. From reports of voter affiliations changed in several states to Bill Clinton illegally electioneering in Massachusetts, virtually every one of Hillary’s victories outside of the South are tainted with accusations of election fraud. Poll locations changed without notice, polls closing early, hundreds of thousands of voters purged. Even in states Sanders won, irregularities were reported.
Sanders has also proven to the world that even though he has raised more than $210 million in the last year, the corporate media, the political establishment, and the billionaires will still find a way to control the narrative, at least on television. Bernie has also proven that no matter how many paid internet trolls the other side buys, a principled politician with a message and a bully pulpit can engender a loyalty so fierce it puts his opponents on notice.
Sanders’ run for President has illuminated these issues, which the Clinton camp has tried to ignore. When unable to, her campaign, the DNC, and her followers tell Sanders to sit down, shut up, drop out, and fall in line behind Clinton. Unity at any cost, even at the threat of a loss in November.
Bernie Sanders has given courage to the downtrodden. He has given a sense of purpose to those who thought all was lost. He has given hope that even in the face of adversity, individual efforts can make a difference. It takes time, it takes dedication, and it takes tenacity.
His message is no mere “hope and change” platitude. It’s a message of perseverance despite long odds.
Voters young and old alike are taking his message to heart. They are campaigning on his behalf. They are running for public office. Berniecrats have begun to create positive changes at the local, state, and national level.
And for that, Bernie Sanders has won more true friends and allies than Hillary Clinton ever could dream of winning.
[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]