A new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll shows Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) only 7 points behind Hillary Clinton in the race for the Iowa caucus, a worrying sign for the Democratic frontrunner. Clinton leads with 37 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers, with Sanders following at 30 percent.
As Clinton’s campaign struggles to counter negative press from her ongoing email controversy, Sanders has energized liberal Democrats with impassioned talk of political revolution. According to the poll, 96 percent of Sanders supporters said they support him for his ideas, while two percent said their support lies mostly in the fact that they do not support Clinton.
The poll also includes Vice President Joe Biden, who captured 14 percent. He has yet to announce a presidential bid.
Clinton has lost a third of her support since May, the poll found. This is also the first time Clinton has fallen below the 50 percent mark in a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll this year. “It looks like what people call the era of inevitability is over,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll.
While the poll results show a notable departure from Clinton’s presumptive lead, they don’t necessarily predict what’s to come. In June 2011, former Rep. Michele Bachmann was polling just one point behind eventual Republican nominee Mitt Romney in Iowa. Bachmann finished in sixth place, with a dismal 5 percent of the vote at the caucuses.
The poll, conducted August 23-26, is based on telephone interviews with 404 likely Democratic caucusgoers. The findings have a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.
Sanders is currently polling at a hair under 30 percent in the HuffPost Pollster chart, which aggregates all publicly available polls.
Not one to miss even a single day of saying something that would get any other candidate immediately kicked out of the race, Trump spent a recent campaign rally suggesting he would physically fight #BlackLivesMatter activists if they tried to demonstrate at any of his campaign stops.
In an effort to “prove” he is “tougher” than Sen. Bernie Sanders, Trump bragged that he would never allow activists fighting for racial equality co-opt an event that was supposed to be 100 percent about stoking his own narcissism.
“I would never give up my microphone. I thought that was disgusting. That showed such weakness.”
Back in reality, Sanders actually used the opportunity to do something Trump has never done: Listen. While the tactics the demonstrators used are highly contested, even within the liberal movement, there is no denying that the issues they hope to address are very real. From police shootings to economic inequality, African-Americans and other people of color face hardships that white Americans find difficult to truly fathom. Instead of digging his heels in, though, Sanders took their concerns and came back just one day later with concrete and serious policy proposals he hoped would speak to these concerns.
“We should not fool ourselves into thinking that this violence only affects those whose names have appeared on TV or in the newspaper. African-Americans are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police….This violence [by extremists] fills us with outrage, disgust, and a deep, deep sadness. Today in America, if you are black, you can be killed for getting a pack of Skittles during a basketball game.”
On his website, Sanders laid out a number of specific things that he would like to see accomplished if he were elected president.
What would Trump do? He’d just fight the demonstrators – or have his “people” do it.
“That will never happen with me. I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself or other people will, but that was a disgrace. I felt badly for him. But it showed that he’s weak.”
Let’s take a brief interlude to imagine Donald Trump actually trying to fight a person. He better hope his “people” do it, because I can’t imagine it would go well for the man who on the very same day bragged that he planned on whining until he won. Sadly, his fighting words will likely send his poll numbers soaring with his radical conservative base. He’s already proven that being openly racist can get 20 or 30 percent of Republican primary voters to say they’ll vote for you. And like clockwork his fans on Twitter are applauding Trump’s comments:
While the Republican presidential candidates continue to get into petty arguments with each other and sidestep talking about more important topics (ahem, Donald Trump), Bernie Sanders has just put all of them to shame by standing up for Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Clinton has been Sanders’ biggest competition thus far, and Sanders chose to come to her defense instead of attack her. In an interview with Face the Nation host John Dickerson, Sanders explained why he felt Clinton was criticized so harshly — and his answer was not only refreshingly classy, but socially aware.
Watch what Sanders said in the short clip below, starting at 3:35:
In the interview, Sanders pointed out that Clinton has “been under all kinds of attack for many, many years,” and has been criticized more than almost any other public figure. Instead of using it as an opportunity to insult her, Sanders offered a blunt explanation for the way his biggest opponent has been treated:
“Some of it is sexist. I don’t know that a man would be treated the same way Hillary is.”
Sanders then said he admired Clinton, although they had different views. With poise and respectfulness, Sanders continued the interview by differentiating himself from Clinton with an analysis of her positions on trade and the Iraq war, instead of the name-calling, immature tactics we’ve seen from the Republican Party.
Sanders’ awareness and sensitivity to what Clinton — and other female candidates — face when running for office should be commended. We’ve seen time and time again that female candidates are either sexualized or demonized for their appearance and choices. Clinton has even called out sexism herself. A few years ago, Clinton confronted a sexist interviewer while she was taking policy questions in Kyrgyzstan. Despite how ill-fitting the question was in the subject matter, an interviewer asked Clinton who her favorite clothing designer was. Clinton responded, “Would you ever ask a man that question?” Dumb-founded, the interviewer was forced to admit, “Probably not.”
Sexism in politics continues to be a major obstacle and factor in the way that women are treated by their colleagues, reported on in the media and judged by the public. Women are judged by everything from their weight, age, attractiveness and fashion choices to their marriages, relationships and child-rearing skills — and nothing seems off-limits. Men in politics are rarely subjected to this level of personal scrutiny — unless perhaps we’re talking about Donald Trump’s hair.
All Bernie Sanders wants to do is make America more like Scandinavia. So why is MSNBC’s Chris Matthews talking about him like he’s the next Mao Tse Tsung? The mainstream media is so scared of Bernie Sanders that it’s now resorted to fearmongering about how he’s a “socialist” who wants the government to take over the economy. Check it out:
“Priceless Meme Shows Exactly What Kind Of People Support Socialist Bernie Sanders,” is the headline on a Young Conservativespiece blasting…people who support Bernie Sanders. The meme is below:
Gage Skidmore. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr
This meme is also the profile pic on a Facebook page called “Economic Illiterates for Bernie Sanders.
Young Conservatives’ entire post is about how the people who support Sanders don’t understand economics, all the while showcasing just how little they themselves don’t understand economics (or how progressive taxes work, for that matter). Bernie Sanders believes in wealth redistribution to a degree. He understands that the extreme income inequality we have here is not sustainable, because rich people cannot sustain a consumer economy on their own. There just aren’t enough of them.
Sanders isn’t alone in this; billionaire Nick Hanauer knows that he can’t buy enough suits, cars, electronics, appliances, and more, to sustain any one of the businesses that manufacture and sell these things. He’s one man who might buy three suits in a year. Not 3,000, despite the fact that his income is roughly 3,000 times higher than the average American. He’s not going to buy 3,000 cars every year, either, and neither is any other billionaire.
Young Conservatives merely provides a link to Sanders’ “hilarious” stance on the minimum wage. It’s safe to say that this publication buys into the myth that raising the minimum wage will destroy jobs. In one article, they point to a single story from the American Enterprise Institute, which is a right-leaning, pro-business think tank based in Washington, D.C. Of course the AEI is going to put out stories that “show” raising the minimum wage is a bad idea; business wants to treat workers like slaves and liabilities, not like the assets they are. (Without workers, you have no business. The bigger your business, the more dependent you are on your workers.)
The Department of Labor has its own page busting these minimum wage myths, including metastudies showing that there’s no discernible effect on employment when the minimum wage goes up. Of course, pro-trickle down conservatives call that a bunch of hooey; they still think that the only way to create jobs and wealth is to let rich people have all the money, and pay working people peanuts. Hey, they’re still working and making a little money, right? Something is always better than nothing.
Studies, statistics, sources, and micro- and macro-economics aside, there are two questions that conservatives just never seem to be able to answer. In 30 years, when has trickle-down ever worked? When will it start working?
It hasn’t, and it won’t. If it had, we’d be in absolute paradise by now, not watching working families struggle while the super-rich keep getting richer.
We can’t expect Young Conservatives to understand that, though. They’re so sure the economy would work if we’d just stop regulating it at all, stop taxing the rich entirely, and all workers would just work a little harder for a few more peanuts. If all that happens, we’ll all be fine. The real problem is socialist governments refusing to let business run amok. Typical right-wing economics, of which we’ve seen 30 years of failure.
If you had told a Very Serious Journalist a year ago that, in July 2015, democratic socialist Bernie Sanders and honey roasted wingnut Donald Trump would be in second place in their respective parties’ presidential primaries, they wouldn’t have even bothered to laugh.
Today, Very Serious Journalists, seeing those two men in second place in their respective parties’ presidential primaries, are writing Very Serious Articlessuggesting that the two are equal and opposite flavors of radical. It’s the only way they can make sense of the phenomenon.
They all go something like this:
Bernie Sanders is an uncompromising and avowed socialist who hates the market and your freedom; Donald Trump is an uncompromising and avowed racist who hates Mexicans and their freedom. Both are the distilled essence of their parties’ core ideologies, so the two represent equal and opposite poles on our ideological spectrum. Both have gained momentum by appealing to the frustrations each party’s most radical wings have with their respective establishments. Therefore, Sanders is the Left’s Trump.
As Antonin Scalia would say, that argument pure applesauce. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump’s similarities start and end with their position in the polls.
Those who make the comparison between Sanders and Trump can only do so by suggesting that Sanders’s views are radical so as to be out of step with the Democratic Party and the country as a whole. As I’ve noted before, Sanders was as liberal as David Vitter was conservative in the last Congress. His proposals for an infrastructure bank, free college tuition paid for by a speculation tax, single payer health care and an income tax increase for those making more than $600,000 per year are progressive, yes, but let’s be clear: They don’t come close to being the ideological analogs of the ideas being thrown around in the Republican primaries.
Rand Paul wants to implement a flat tax. Scott Walker thinks the minimum wage is a “lame idea.” Multiple mid-to-top-tier candidates are on record supporting a constitutional marriage amendment. Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal want to change or eliminate the Supreme Court. For his part, Donald Trump wants to build a Great Wall of America and have Mexico pay for it, which, by the way, is the only thing distinguishing him from his opponents.
One need only look to see how each candidates’ parties are reacting to them to see the difference. Hillary Clinton has already begun deploying surrogates to cast Sanders as a radical — a Ron Paul figure whose large crowds are themselves indicative of support that runs deep but not broad. The Republican Party, for their part, can’t cast Trump as a radical because of how little separation there is between him and the mainstream GOP — and how popular his racist rhetoric is within their party.
Sanders’s support is a measure of the substantive ideological differences between himself and Hillary Clinton. Trump’s support is a measure of the rhetorical amplification he has given to what the Republican field was already saying. As Ana Marie Cox wrote in The Daily Beast, in anarticle confusingly titled “Bernie Sanders is the Left’s Trump”:
When Democratic base voters flock to Sanders, they are expressing dissatisfaction what current Democratic policies. When Republican base voters flock to Trump, they are expressing dissatisfaction with Republican rhetoric.
In 2006, Barack Obama was a Senator and a rising star, despite the fact that most in America hadn’t heard of him. One fellow Senator, though, saw enough in the young man to ask him to campaign for him. That Senator is running for President today. His name is Bernie Sanders.
Early in that campaign year, Obama headlined a rally and fundraiser for the Senator and for Vermont’s one House member Pete Welch, in their home state of Vermont. Even then, the future President’s star power was evident. The venue couldn’t fit everyone, so 500 people stood on the steps outside to hear Obama speak with a megaphone.
Even then, he was talking about change. He was very critical of the Bush administration, saying that they weren’t serious about the things that people care about, like the environment, energy independence, health insurance and educational opportunities.
He called Sanders and Welch candidates for change.
“When ordinary people decide they want a different future for themselves and for their children and their grandchildren, and they come together and work at a grassroots level, it doesn’t matter how much money is spent,” Obama said, previewing a theme that would dominate his first presidential campaign, “it doesn’t matter what the powers and principalities say; we can bring about a change.”
But the change, Obama said, doesn’t come from Sanders or Welch; it comes from people participating in the democratic process.
Here’s the video:
If Sanders is smart, and I believe he is, he won’t make the mistake that many made during the 2014 election. He won’t run away from the record of this great President. Instead, he will embrace it and run with it. I’d like to see this video in campaign ads.
As Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign continues to draw large crowds in Iowa, Hillary Clinton’s campaign advisers are admitting that they have a real race on their hands. One Clinton staffer admitted that Clinton’s campaign had originally underestimated Sanders. Another adviser, communications director Jennifer Palmieri, spoke candidly during an interview on “morning Joe”, admitting:
We are worried about him, sure. He will be a serious force for the campaign, and I don’t think that will diminish.
Sanders’ economic populist message that calls for raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans in order to pay for a bold one trillion dollar public works program for creating jobs and rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, is resonating with Iowa voters.
Given that the Democratic Caucuses tend to attract the most passionate activists in the party, Sander’s poses a real threat to pull off an upset victory in Iowa. With Vermont’s next door neighbor, New Hampshire, hosting the nation’s first Democratic primary, Sanders might even be able to deliver a stunning one-two punch, carrying the first caucus state and the first primary state in rapid succession.
While many national reporters are still treating Bernie Sanders like a gadfly candidate, the Clinton campaign is wisely taking him seriously. Some national reporters may view Sanders as a Dennis Kucinich or Ralph Nader style also-ran. However, the Clinton staffers are concerned that Sanders could be more like the 2008 version of Barack Obama. In the 2008 election cycle, Obama scored a stunning victory over Hillary Clinton in Iowa. That victory was followed by many more victories as Obama defeated Hillary Clinton in a fiercely contested race for the Democratic nomination.
While it is too early to tell whether the Sanders campaign will continue to build enough momentum to win Iowa, it is clear that his campaign needs to be taken seriously. The Clinton campaign acknowledges that Sanders is a real threat to win in Iowa. If that happens, there is no telling when and where, or even if, his momentum will come to a halt.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign wants you to know they are taking the threat from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) very seriously. On Monday, Clinton campaign officials made it clear that Sanders’ insurgent candidacy is on their radar, following weeks of the independent senator drawing huge crowds and climbing in the polls in two crucial early states.
The Clinton campaign is right to worry. Recent polls in Iowa and New Hampshire have placed Sanders within striking distance of Clinton. Over the weekend, Sanders drew the biggest crowd for any candidate in Iowa so far this cycle, attracting more than 2,500 to a rally in Council Bluffs. Earlier in the week, his campaign reported raising $15 million from 250,000 donations in the first two months of his campaign — 99% of which were contributions of $250 or less.
In other words, the Sanders surge is undeniable. Rather than deny this fact, the Clinton campaign has chosen to acknowledge the closing gap between the candidates, revealing two imperatives for Clinton as she seeks to fend off her liberal challenger: avoiding the appearance of taking the nomination for granted, and managing performance expectations in the early primary and caucus states, where a Sanders victory could throw her quest for the nomination off track.
What the Clinton camp is saying: Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday, Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri offered up a clear indication that the campaign is very much aware of the threat posed by Sanders. MSNBC’s Willie Geist asked Palmieri if the Clinton campaign was worried about Sanders, and Palmieri indicated that they certainly are.
“We’re worried about him, sure. He’s a force,” Palmieri said. “He’ll be a serious force for the campaign and I don’t think that will diminish … We’ve said from the start that it’s going to be really competitive.”
“Of course we’re worried about him. This is an election,” she continued when pressed by Geist. “He is doing well. And we’ll have to, you know, we’ll have to make our case. We knew this was going to happen … So, yeah, it’s going to be a slog.”
Later Monday, the New York Timesreported on the Clinton campaign’s apparently sudden realization that Sanders could defeat her in Iowa, the first contest in the Democratic nomination process:
“I think we underestimated that Sanders would quickly attract so many Democrats in Iowa who weren’t likely to support Hillary,” said one Clinton adviser, who like several others spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly share views about the race. “It’s too early to change strategy because no one knows if Sanders will be able to hold on to these voters in the months ahead. We’re working hard to win them over, but yeah, it’s a real competition there.”
The Times also quotes Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, who says, “We take nothing for granted in Iowa because the caucuses are always such a tough proving ground. But Hillary Clinton’s regular travel to the state and the organization we have established on the ground show how committed we are to prevailing there.”
A fine line: Why would Clinton’s campaign downplay its candidate’s chances of winning Iowa and acknowledge the viability of Sanders’ candidacy? Because doing so is smart politics — and one way to make sure her supporters stay engaged.
Clinton is seeking to avoid the aura of inevitability that surrounded her disastrous 2008 run, in which her campaign embraced her role as the all-but-certain nominee and failed to do the work necessary to actually win the nomination. This apparent certainty was off-putting for voters, particularly in Iowa, where Democratic caucus-goers relish the opportunity to upend conventional wisdom. If Clinton’s supporters believed that she had the nomination wrapped up, why would they devote time or energy to help her get elected?