"Top Staffers Blame Bernie For Losing Campaign"
The Jimmy Dore Show (Apri 15, 2020)
Jimmy Dore: "Lets get into the story of Politico and you tweeted about it - and here's the headline. It says:
'No one went for the knockout blow': Inside Bernie's campaign nosedive
Sanders' unwillingness to go for Biden's jugular [JD: 'or his nose, chest, or mouth. Really, he forgot to throw a punch entirely.'] is just one of the decisions campaign aides are wrestling with since he exited the primary Wednesday.
Despite being the best fundraiser in the Democratic field [JD: he raised more money in February than Biden raised all together], having near universal name ID, and leading a massive volunteer army, Sanders performed worse in many ways in 2020 than in 2016.
He badly lost among African-Americans yet again, and the rural and working class white voters who were with him four years ago abandoned him. -- Politico
[0:58] Jimmy Dore: "So Bernie's losing support left and right."
According to interviews with more than 20 of Sanders' aides, surrogates and top allies, many believe he should have been more aggressive in taking on Biden, including over the idea that he was more electable in November. -- Politico
[1:16] Jimmy Dore: "Which is kind of the whole point of the campaign. The campaign's whole point, in a primary, is to convince the voter that I'm gonna beat our opponent and he's not. That's one of the biggest things you're trying to do: Your electability and downplay your opponent's electability. But what did Bernie Sanders do? When he was asked about it:
[shows video clip]
interviewer: "Say it is Biden. Do you think Biden can beat Trump?"
Bernie Sanders: "I do."
[1:40]Jimmy Dore: "That's it. He forfeited the race when he did stuff like that."
They also complained about the campaign's organizing strategy and its ability to win over black and senior voters.
Though nearly everyone in Sanders' circle felt that the media and political establishments played critical roles in taking him down, they still think the nomination was in his reach.
"Sadly, we did not get to a place of convincing a large number of people that he was the most quote-unquote electable choice," Faiz Shakir, Sanders' campaign manager, told POLITICO this week. -- Politico
[2:15] Jimmy Dore: "Yeah. we really gave it a shot, but try as we may we just couldn't come across as more electable than a segregationist with rape allegations and dementia. I don't know what I was gonna do. How could you make yourself look more electable than a guy who is actually visibly demented, doesn't know where he is, can't finish a sentence, and has a horrible record."
"It turned into a superficial media perception of 'safe, electable Biden' versus 'revolutionary Bernie Sanders.' And I think that dynamic kind of hurt." -- Politico
[2:56] Jimmy Dore: "Again, I'll point you to Bernie Sanders literally killing his own campaign and campaigning for Joe Biden on NBC."
Some Sanders aides think he should have used the period between the Nevada and South Carolina primaries to appear presidential and broaden his appeal, including to seniors. That was the idea behind a sit-down interview he did with Anderson Cooper on "60 Minutes." Instead, he spent much of his time doubling down on defending positive comments he made in the 1980s about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's education program. -- Politico
"Now, let me just stop there for a second and say this is a failing of Bernie personally and his campaign to fail to get him ready for stuff like this. If you saw his interview with Whoopi Goldberg, adult, an idiot, box his ears in with a four-year-old question: How come you didn't work hard enough for Hillary Clinton and why are you still in the race? Those are the two questions they knew they were going to ask him when he got on that show. And he looked like an open-mike-er comedian. He didn't know how to answer it. He was on his heels the whole time. What he didn't look like was a leader who could be president. And that's what Whoopi Goldberg exposed. Because what he should have said to Whoopi Goldberg is the reason why I'm still in this race is because I actually have a solution for the problem we're facing right now and Joe doesn't. Do you have a solution, Whoopi? And then you put it back on her and then she looks like the idiot she actually is, and you look like a leader who is in command of a situation, and you could actually handle a quesion from a moron on daytime television."
[4:33] Let me get back to you, and jump in at this point. Did you see that interview with him and Whoopi Goldberg."
[4:36] Aaron Maté: "That was so sad. I was thinking why does he bother going on these shows with these people who are so disingenuous? And that speaks to, look, the fundamental, I think, mistake that Bernie's people make, whether they just didn't want to come to grips with it, or they just thought they could kill everybody with kindness, I don't know. But they didn't recognize that all these people, whether it's Whoopi Goldberg or whether it's the executives at MSNBC, that this Politico article says they met with to try to convince them that Bernie was a great guy. They didn't realize that all these people are their class enemies. MSNBC isn't in business to cover the presidential campaign properly and if you go there and talk to them nicely they're going to treat you fairly. They're there to destroy any threat to the corporate establishment. And Bernie Sanders, by mobilizing people around real issues was an actual threat."
[5:29] "And instead of trying to win them over and believing that, possibly, they'd be nice to you, Bernie should have treated them with the same contempt that Donald Trump treated the rest of the Republican establishment when he won the nomination in 2016. That was the key to Donald Trump's success is that he tapped into the anger he saw in his base towards the establishment. And he went with it. He didn't pretend to be friends with these people. And Bernie Sanders, by refusing to go after Joe Biden and really take on the corporate establishment while still claiming that he was leading a revolution, it just didn't make sense. It didn't work."
[6:11] Jimmy Dore: "I agree with you. Moving on:
Aides said that weakened his case on the single most important issue to Democratic voters: beating President Donald Trump -- Politico
"Jimmy Dore: "The single most important issue facing primary voters was 'Can you beat Donald Trump' and this guy couldn't help but do this every time he opened his mouth [repeats: 'Do you believe Biden can Beat Trump?' 'I do']
Some staffers believe Sanders also should have done more to break through on electability, an issue that was even more important to older and African-American voters among whom he was weakest. -- Politico
He never conducted focus groups on the issue -- or any issue -- because of a dislike of such campaign tactics, aides said.
Jane Sanders, the senator's wife and closest adviser, acknowledged that there was more they could have done to persuade people that he was as electable as Biden:
"The facts were on our side. We didn't do it well enough. That is something we should have done better. -- Politico
[7:18] Jimmy Dore: "Yeah, the facts were on our side, you know, stadiums full of people, record numbers of volunteers, just a few things were on your side. So, here's the part that is really up our alley here."
Bernie Sanders had expected to spend more time in South Carolina -- where African-Americans cast more than half the votes in Democratic primaries -- in the weeks before the primary there."
"So Bernie was expecting to go hit it hard in South Carolina before the primary."
But the senator had to scale those plans back due to the impeachment proceedings, said people familiar with his schedule. Some of Sanders' advisers and allies felt that especially hurt him because he tended to do better with voters who saw him up-close.
Buttigieg's ultimate victory in rural parts of the state helped him run up the delegate score and win Iowa.
Clair Sandberg, Sanders' national organizing director, felt that campaign leadership should have hired more field staff earlier in 2019 across states, including Iowa, according to a person familiar with her thinking.
Others said that Sanders should have visited more rural areas there. A planned campaign swing in rural Iowa was scrapped because of impeachment. -- Politico
[8:34] Jimmy Dore: "So there's impeachment and Russia-gate, both things that Bernie Sanders supported, coming back to undermine his campaign as predicted by a jaggoff nightclub comedian in his garage. Aaron:
[8:51] Aaron Maté: "You know, Jimmy, this is where I actually want to acknowledge that you were correct about something and I was not. So obviously both of us hated Russia-gate and also dissed its sequel, Ukraine-gate and thought it was a joke from the start. And a lot of people thought we were crazy for both. But I always kind of defended Bernie's decision not to, basically, adopt our stance, and stand up and say that Russia-gate is a joke and so is impeachment. Because I thought that it was a tactical decision and the costs of him pushing back would be so big because then the establishment would hate him even more and make his life even more miserable and reduce his campaign to just talking about how he catered to Vladimir Putin and all this sort of stuff like that, so that it wasn't worth the headache. But I'm seing now that because Bernie enabled all of this then it was so normalized within the party that there was no space for him to exist because everybody was so consumed by this idea that Donald Trump is this unique force of evil and he's the only problem and so whoever can beat him is the choice. And we're being told that Joe Biden is the choice so we have to go with that. So there was no room for Bernie to operate within that."
[10:11] "And one other consequence of that was just as we warned about. We were very vocal about this back in the Fall when we did segments about impeachment -- and I wrote about this, too -- one of the many predictable consequences of Democrats embracing impeachment, was that it was going to overshadow the Democratic Party primary, a very exciting primary where Bernie Sanders was presenting some ideas that hadn't been debated in a Democratic primary in many years. And exactly what happened, not only did impeachment overshadow this, it literally displaced Bernie Sanders physically from the campaign trail. And we see in this Politico article concrete examples where that seriously hurt him. And that's one aspect of this tragedy."
Well here's what you actually tweeted. You said:
“If your Bernie post-mortem isn’t acknowledging that the Democratic establishment spent 3+ years hyperventilating about Russia & then using it to both sideline (e.g., protests for Jeff Sessions, not M4A) & taint Bernie’s agenda (e.g., Nevada vote eve), you’re missing something big.”
[11:26] Aaron Maté: "Something we've talked about forever is that to understand Russia-gate and Ukraine-gate, this was not just a way for the Democratic Party to narrowly resist Donald Trump without confronting the real reasons for his victory in 2016. This was also a way of resisting the appeal of Bernie Sanders to a wider voting population. Because the message of 2016 was that to have any success, you had to run as an anti-establishment candidate. So on the Republican side, the winner was Donald Trump who presented himself, falsely, as being anti-establishment. On the Democratic side, who was the anti-establishment candidate? It was obviously Bernie Sanders. So, Democrats who lost to Trump, needed a way to, basically, not just resist Trump, but also Bernie Sanders’ appeal. And since they have nothing to offer voters at all that can compete with Bernie Sanders policies, they needed something like this three years of hyperventilating about Russia. And that’s what they did. And Bernie Sanders in going along with it, he could have said, imagine if he had said: ‘You know, I’m not sure exactly what Russia did or didn’t do, and maybe there were some Trump people who met with Russia, we’ll see, we’ll see how that goes. But the evidence for it is not there, and the attention that is being paid on it is not justified when, meanwhile, we have tens of thousands of people who die every year because they don’t have healthcare. And we also have a Democratic Party establishment that is pushing this that was rejected in this election. And we need to listen to the voices of the people who rejected them.’
“But he didn’t do that. He basically, whether it was out of serious conviction or political calculation, he decided to go along with it. And that dealt him a huge blow because he gave legitimacy to something that was fundamentally stupid and fundamentally corrupt. Because it wasn’t just about a fake resistance to Trump. It was also about trying to resist Bernie Sanders’ rise. Unfortunately, he went along with it.”
[13:32] Jimmy Dore: “As Michael Tracey pointed out, he was Russia-gating himself. Which was amazing to see because right before the eve of that primary, the Washington Post story dropped about Russia’s propping up Bernie Sanders and now he’s handcuffed. What does he suppose he can’t do. He’s got nowhere to go. He has already agreed with that narrative that Russia’s propping him up. It’s just nuts.
And instead of joining with Tulsi Gabbard who actually pushed back against Russia-gate and the intelligence community’s effect on our elections and the media and intelligence community working together and making assertions about Russia without any evidence. She said they have to show evidence for [their allegations]. I mean, if Bernie had done that, he could have nipped this in the bud three years ago and said you have to have evidence before you start making assertions. We have to have the same standards for him as we have for our self. And he never did any of that. In fact, he sounds just as dumb as Adam Schiff does on any given day when he talks about Donald Trump or Russia.”
[14:31] Aaron Maté:“I don’t agree with that because Adam Schiff to me is that it is at a higher level of unhinged just craziness. But it was disingenuous because it didn’t even sound believable. And accepting this fundamental notion that even if everything Russia was accused of is true, which when it comes to the emails, I don’t even think it is, but whatever, even if it is, the idea that Russia is attacking our democracy and installing Trump in the White House, and it was ridiculous. And it was insulting to people’s intelligence. And Bernie didn’t stand up against it. Not only did he not push back against it, I think Max Blumenthal already said this on your show, but Max, my colleague at the GrayZone went to an event with Matt Duss who was Bernie Sanders’ top foreign policy advisor, this was after Bernie got Russia-gated on the eve of the Nevada vote and Max asked Matt Duss whether the Bernie Sanders campaign saw this supposed intelligence that claimed the Russia is supporting Bernie Sanders in 2020 and Matt Duss told Max publicly – it’s on tape – that, yes, and we thought the intelligence was convincing.
Jimmy Dore: “The “intelligence” – being the convincing intelligence that Bernie’s foreign policy advisor said was convincing – was the intelligence that said that Bernie Sanders was being propped up by Russia.”
[15:46] Aaron Maté: “So you have formally co-signed the intelligence. … It’s a combination of credulity, cowardice, careerism. Nobody wants to go up against the establishment and say this whole Russia-gate thing is a scam. It’s not being done to take on a real threat but to basically prop up the people who lost to Donald Trump, and for the national security state to undermine Trump for their own narrow interests. And all of this, as we saw from Russia-gate through impeachment is done in the service of a dated and dangerous Cold War agenda where Adam Schiff is talking about saying that we have, we are arming Ukraine so that we can fight Russia over there and not fight them over here. Everybody was going along with that. It’s the most right-wing, Cold War, reactionary thing possible. And, yes, Bernie not going up against that and recognizing that, ultimately, a major part of its goal was to blunt the success of his message and to keep the Democrats from moving into a genuine Progressive Party and scare people into submission by fear-mongering about Russia. For Bernie not to push back against that and to have left it to people like Tulsi Gabbard and people like us was a very big mistake because, you know, look, we reached the people that we could reach, with only so much we could do.
And unfortunately, and this is where the rest of the progressive media played a very big role. Because, you know, the progressive media is actually a lot freer than Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders is under political pressure. He’s playing a different ballgame. Progressive media is supposedly free media and we’re also on the Left. And we’re supposed to be standing up for progressive ideas, but yet you saw, and you have very intimate experience with this, Jim, you had been at the Young Turks, you saw progressive outlet after progressive outlet buying into it, basically buying into a program and an agenda that was being used to deliberately undermine a real progressive candidate and a real progressive movement. And we saw, when it came to the campaign and the primary, it was really too late. Because when Bernie got Russia-gated, he himself did not have the capacity to push back and he went along with it. And all the time we could have spent actually fighting over his ideas was spent fear-mongering about Vladimir Putin and stupid Russian social media ads.”
[18:15] Jimmy Dore: “But, Aaron, the reason why we didn’t fight over Donald Trump’s ideas and what he was actually doing, was because the Democratic establishment actually went along with it. And so Bernie just went along with all that. And it’s just, what is the point of electing progressives and giving them power if they just go along with the bullshit anyway? What is the point of the The Squad and Ro Khanna and everybody just voted for this stimulus bill that screws workers and helps corporations? And what is the point of voting for people who don’t take corporate money if they bend the knee to the people who do anyway? The answer is: There is no point.”