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How Mainstream is Bernie Sanders?


How Mainstream is Bernie Sanders?

Juan Cole

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the presidential candidate for the Democratic nomination, has trouble being taken seriously by the corporate media, what with him being a democratic socialist and all.

If you go to Google News and put in his name, you get headlines about him being nothing more than a protest candidate, or having “odd views,” or promoting “dark age economics.”


I go for coffee each morning, the place I frequent provides a copy of the Chicago Tribune, a few days ago, on the op ed page, it ran a half page piece by Jonathan Bernstein, of Bloomberg View, dismissing Bernie as a “protest” candidate. I guess Bernstein is a liberal of sorts, I don’t know, but he certainly fits right in with the agenda of one of the most reactionary rags in the country, The Chicago Tribune. Maybe the Tribune worries about Bernie more than the Clinton apologists would have one believe. Bernstein and The Tribune dismissing Bernie, the meeting of different agendas.


Sanders is also mainstream in his record on military spending and defense of Israel, in that a majority of voters think current military spending levels are about right/want more military spending and that a majority of voters support Israel. On these counts, he is also very much a typical Washington politician.

Still, I give him credit for voting against the original Patriot Act and his open and honest declaration of where he stands on issues mentioned in the article and bringing these issues to the table for discussion. That’s a breath of fresh air compared to the sewer fumes emanating from the cowardly Clinton campaign. For that, I am thankful.


You are a paid troll. The article shows that a majority of citizens SEE what’s wrong and wish to remedy it. What’s missing are:

  1. A justice system that upholds the established laws
  2. Political muscle that supports the majority-public’s objectives
  3. A free and open press that ACCURATELY reports news–including the Truth about today’s economy, TPP, and wars made on false pretexts

In a lame attempt to stick with this site’s paid chorus’ #1 Talking Point, you revert back to a “Blame the People.”

Such a stance protects corporate-military power, and all of the Deep State protocols that are making decisions without the informed consent of the governed.

YOU are a sheep!


“Climate change denialists are kooks, and if we had an honest media, it would call them kooks.”

Kooks? These greedy lying bastards own the media.


The most refreshing thing about Bernie is that he avoids negativity, he doesn’t spend any of his time bad mouthing other candidates. And, this is what I really like about him, we know exactly where he stands on the important issues that we are interested in, his platform is very clear. Whereas, the opposition, all of them, do not have a platform, they are all over the place crying about what is wrong, but offer no concrete platform that someone could grab on to.


The mainstream of citizen opinion, yes but not the “mainstream” of the corporate media narrative.


The corporate media know exactly who they want running as candidates and Bernie isn’t one of them. They abhor his message and realize that he must be presented as a fringe candidate outside the mainstream and advocating ideas that run contrary to those of average Americans. If he gets any mention at all by them, comments are often made that he is a candidate with no chance of winning.
This leads me to reflect on those wise words once mentioned: " It ain’t over till it’s over!"


Since you point out grammatical mistakes from time to time, I will take this opportunity to point out that in your expression “revert back,” the term “back,” in the immortal words of Mark Twain, is “comically superfluous.”


That’s the whole point. Not having a platform that cannot be independently critiqued. Changes to the tax code, the tax rates, the structures and all of it, is not rocket science in a mature economy like the U.S. has Sen. Sanders, Hillary Clinton and their advisers know this, can crunch the numbers and project out a decade, a generation or more. Unless, of course, someone else buys different politicians, rewriting the whole thing to benefit a special interest group or industry. Which the owners of the media, the 1% and those who want to promote a certain philosophy and ideology do. The terms " big oil " and " big pharma " have had a huge impact domestically in the last 15 years, regardless of their " value " to the 99%. It is not rocket science that is killing the planet, creating the disasters in our economy regarding income inequality, the deteriorating general condition of our infrastructure, et al. It is The Plan of those running the gov’t. today. " It is not a bug of our current system, it is a feature. " Sen. Sander’s sin, is merely in pointing these things out, which as Mr. Cole shows, is fairly mainstream among the people who don’t matter to the 1%. For this he is a " protest " candidate and Hillary is " crowned " as the presumptive nominee by the elites. Hillary Clinton is a shill running on a platitude laden women’s issue platform. What is never asked of her is the question, " which women will benefit from your candidacy? " The women of the 1%, and their businesses and family’s interests, or women in general? The reason Hillary doesn’t want to take positions on TPP, Keystone, Wall Street regulations, et al: she doesn’t want to reveal who’s she really campaigning for. Because they aren’t the majority of the people in these polls. Sen. Sanders, fenced in by the realties of the old DLC and the new 3rd Way, who are definitely 1%ers, is speaking for the people and expressing mainstream policies. For this, he is a " radical " and a " loose cannon ", politically. Orwell, contrary to the MSM’s opinion, continues to prove that he was really an optimist when describing our world’s future. And, you don’t need a poll to tell you that, the facts on the ground, suffice.


“In an age of universal deceit, anybody telling the truth is considered radical”

George Orwell


I have a couple of problems with this article. For example Juan Cole states that a majority of Americans are against the “Citizens United” ruling. I would argue that a majority of Americans have no idea what the Citizens United ruling is or what it means. I would also argue that a majority of Americans also don’t really understand what socialism means because it was never taught in an honest manner in grade school.
I agree with Juan Cole that the majority of Americans would agree with Bernie Sanders, but this does not translate into an electoral win. The fact that only “36%” of young people (and 26% as a whole) have a favourable impression of socialism, is a clear indication of how effective corporate brainwashing via the MSM has been. Even 37% still think that our wealth gap is not a problem! Wow! The psychopaths on Wall Street are just loving this!
I can’t expect a different outcome because of the pervasive influence corporate America has over us. We flock to sporting events, concerts and ‘Black Friday’ shopping extravaganzas, but the majority of us have no concept of the political alternatives available to societies. So while the Bernie Sanders’ of the world make perfect sense to the academics, political theorists and social scientists, the vast majority of Americans don’t have a concrete grasp of what ails our dysfunctional pseudo-democracy outside of the fact that our politicians don’t deliver on their promises.
America has never permitted public debates about different systems of governance since the American Revolution. This is by design as any alternative to the current plutocracy would be a welcomed change. But until the majority of Americans begin to educate themselves about the root causes of our Corporate State, any revolution will be directionless and therefore fail.


Sen. Sanders has called for a 15% cut in military spending. Which is " outside " the mainstream thinking. If this was applied to The Security and Police State, across the board, it adds up to around $300 Billion, nationally. That wouldn’t change the world but it would change the trajectory of our macro economy Maybe this is why he’s considered so out of step in Washington? As for Israel, they are merely a distant military outpost, albeit a vey dangerous one, for the Oil & Gas Cos. Diverting our investments in them, and putting it into new energy sources, would free us from the MENA. We could simply give Israel back to Great Britain and Europe, letting them deal with a problem they created. See, fixed that easy/peasy! s/


Thank you to Juan Cole for his timely and informative piece on Bernie Sanders’ views and actual working positions in Congress for over a decade…everyone needs to hear about this energetic 70 year old statesman! His views are so in line with what so many of us yearn to hear in the Presidential race; I cannot wait to hear him speak truth and fairness, and for working people and students, compared to the hollow self serving debate speech of the other candidates. Our country needs him in this race.


Bernie is an entertaining side-show who confers an unwarranted legitimacy to the Democratic Party.

After they chew him up and spit him out we’ll be able to give all our attention to the main attraction: Voting for the old fashioned, conservative Beelzebub or his heir apparent Hillary.


I have decided to support Bernie Sanders campaign. I have made a contribution and ordered a t-shirt and put my blogging voice where my money’s gone with posts in support of him (and in opposition to Hillary Clinton) at several sites, including the NYT, Mother Jones, Salon, and here.

I would prefer a progressive candidate ready to put an ultimatum to Israel regarding further U.S. financial and political support. It’s time to follow the Pope’s lead and get behind a U.N resolution recognizing the state of Palestine. That won’t happen during a Sanders Presidency regrettably. And since I favor disengagement in the Middle East and strongly favor a negotiated settlement with Iran over nuclear weapons, I can’t expect my views to be voiced by Senataor Sanders as he campaigns. Still, he’s no neo-con interventionist in the mold of HRC or any Republican, so he’s the best option in matters of foreign policy, defense policy, and peace.

He’s from a rural state and is more restrained on gun control issues than I, but his NRA rating is not highly favorable. Despite these concerns, I feel he’ll give voice to standing up to, breaking up, and regulating Wall Street and the “too big to fail” banks and financial institutions. He will relentlessly articulate the real causes for the growing disparity in income distribution and oppose measures that will exacerbate this problem. He has Bill McKibben’s support as the most forceful voice addressing climate change and the fossil fuel industry that’s doing its best to preclude any meaningful policy changes.

Just the same, it’s foolish to expect Bernie Sanders to emerge as the candidate of the “Democratic” Party. I have made it known in my public posts and to party officials (who still hit me up for contributions) that if HRC is the nominee, I will vote Green. Many party loyalists then draw on their trump card arguments for supporting Clinton: First, of course, is the old “lesser of two evils” line. Not doing that any more. Then they whip out their Big Stick and point out that the next President may appoint as many as four Supreme Court justices. And to that I reply: If we don’t have a president willing and capable of standing up to Wall Street, the Fossil Fuel behemoths, and the Military Industrial Complex, it won’t matter who’s on the SCOTUS. We’re toast.

Sadly, my gut feeling is we’re toast. But I’m going to shout out on the important issues with Bernie and hope for a miracle, chastened, all the while by Chris Hedges recent admonition posted at this site that our mania for hope is a curse. I’m still too much of a political junkie not to push the rock up the hill one more time. Peace.


I too send my monthly contributions to support Bernie…he’s a breathe of fresh in my book.


Hienz, the words “sat out” could be interpreted in many ways. What is your intended meaning for this sentence?


Things could pan out that way. What could go wrong?


I’m also making a monthly donation to Bernie’s campaign. It’s a first for me. I think Bernie’s right: he 's got a shot. Any American interested in reason, commonsence, the continuation of the species, or even smaller issues like equality, justice, education, an equitable and vibrant economy, etc. can find common cause with Bernie. He has a solid record of honesty. Will enough people believe that voting for him will make a difference to them? And, If so, will they turnout and vote? Shoot, Obama beat Clinton, and Bernie is an old white guy–with integrity. If, as a people, we can’t get excited about the possibilities Bernie points to, then we know the answer to Jefferson’s questions: the mass of mankind were born saddled, ready to be ridden by a privileged few, who were born booted and spurred.