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Why an "Apology Tour" Is Needed: An Open Letter to Joe Biden

My personal feeling is there’s a strong chance for a Biden implosion given he has done it twice before. Among my issues with him as a candidate, I worry he actually believes some of the stuff that comes out of his mouth, like the idea McConnell et al. will suddenly decide to be nice after Trump is gone. It’s like handing McConnell a paddle to beat him with if he were to get to the White House.

Agreed - The way the media treats Bernie has always been interesting. Early on he was ignored - except as a “here’s what the quirky left thinks” kind of interview. In 2016 he was given a decent amount of coverage and he managed to change the Overton window on several issues especially health care. After 2016 he’s being taken seriously and that now generates more ridicule. Yesterday he was given the lead-off interview in Harry Smith’s NBC News “What’s your Big Idea” series giving candidates a chance to state their big idea (you can find the interview as it ran at

Bernie of course did a fine job in the interview talking about his big idea being Medicare for All. But the voice over and graphics added later talked about “costs in the trillions” (rather than the reality of savings in the trillions). To check out the editing, compare the interview that ran on the news above to the extended interview that allowed Bernie to answer the cost questions and more at

Biden should be running as a Republican.

I think the bigger issue is that this has been part of media landscape for a longtime, since Reagan really (a favorite book of mine is On Bended Knee). As Josh Marshall put it years ago, the press is “wired” for Republicans. Democratic candidates from all stripes have been subject to it, a notable case that stands to mind being the so-called war against Gore in 2000 well chronicled by Bob Somerby. It’s not a new phenomenon and not exclusive to Sanders.

Well I certainly agree that the media has a decidedly rightward bent in what is published, broadcasted, and posted. Fox is obviously out of control - but let’s check your hypothesis that all Democrats are treated equally bad with data by watching the NBC big idea series for each of the 23 candidates going forward. This should be a fair before-the-fact comparison since we’ll have one example from each candidate on the same topic and edited by the same network. I’ll bet the editing and voice overs will be worse for Senator Sanders than for the other candidates (comparing the broadcast version to the extended interview version). Check back here next month and I will have a summary.

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That’s fair. My feeling is strong adherents of all candidates feel their favored candidate isn’t treated fairly. I include myself in this. It’s why I provided a link to Bob Somerby’s well chronicled exposes on the treatment of Al Gore, who was excoriated down to the pants he wore.

Exactly why a better controlled study is needed. I’lll keep a spreadsheet and present the data after the series is over.

CNN, etc. have done panels during and post debates, which I’m sure you’ve watched. Those are sometimes interesting to see. Panel participants don’t always adhere to moderators opinions.

sure - you can look at lots of stuff like pundant panels and town hall audiences and questions - but there’s too many variables floating around there since the people involved change with each candidate. I’m choosing this because it is just now starting and all done by Harry Smith with the same team so and I can focus on the single issue of editing by comparing broadcast versus extended versions.

Who said that no one likes her because they like her? I didn’t.

But that doesn’t explain the surges and then drop offs of so many over the last 6 months.

But I guess what the media does doesn’t have any impact on people’s thinking? I mean the entire economy that spends billions and billions each year on the media are just a bunch of deluded fools because what is on the media doesn’t affect one bit how people think?

Please notify Coca Cola that. They don’t need to spend any more money on advertizing and that won’t mean that Pepsi surges ahead of them as they fall to the level of RC Cola. They probably will be really grateful to learn that is a big waste of money.

As I note, Warren herself has been the victim of bad press. These issues aren’t exclusive to Sanders, her, or others. They’ve affected politicians you don’t like at all and arguably affected them far worse. But I link to the latest Iowa specific poll above and her numbers have grown substantially in it. That is likely a reflection of her direct work campaigning in the state.

Let’s see…there is about 16 months left until we vote for our next President.

Hey Joe, even if you started yesterday, you still wouldn’t have the time to sufficiently apologize to Americans for all the dogshit you have layered on all of us!


My take on the establishment candidate and his fate…

Indeed, right on…and the fact that the propaganda is less visible than that of Fox News makes it even more damaging…the subliminal message drops right into the unconscious.

I read the Mehdi Hasan piece but I haven’t followed the source links. I think it is an interesting point to try to objectively assess the number of Trump voters who are on each side of a break point in terms of their comfortableness of their economic situation. And then make a judgement about how many in the comfortable group are more or less motivated by racism. This is not going to be an easy assessment. Just because someone wants to put the brakes on immigration doesn’t automatically mean they are racist. But more importantly the analysis appears to be made on 2016 voters (e.g. using exit polls). Just as big a problem if not bigger is the number of potential voters whose economic situation is not comfortable who would have voted for Sanders in the general (but couldn’t be bothered to vote in the primary) but didn’t bother voting in the general with Trump and Clinton being the choices.

I am sticking to the belief that the flaws in Clinton’s economic message and her past actions on the economy (or even actions by her husband she will fairly or unfairly get attached to) had a significant causal effect in her loss. No one claims it was the only effect or even that racism wasn’t a bigger effect (racist dog whistles bringing out more voters than would have otherwise voted for a Republican). But I’m not convinced at all the idea that the economic arguments from Trump against Clinton can be dismissed as not significant.

I also claim the idea that a significant number of voters (and people who chose not to vote) are motivated by foreign policy is correct - not in regards to empathy for other people (I wish) - but in regards to being sick and tired of their kids getting sent to the Middle East for no damn reason whatsoever. Biden and Clinton really have no legs to stand on with regards to this issue. Trump cut Jeb Bush’s legs off completely on this issue and he will certainly try again with Biden (even though now Trump is vulnerable to the same criticism - he will come up with some weird logic that will work for some percentage of his voters).

There have now been multiple studies that demonstrate race and cultural issues were the key factor in getting, for example, rural white atypical voters in states like Pennsylvania to vote. The GOP explicitly targeted these people on cultural and racial grievance lines. It ought to say something that GOP governments immediately moved on legislation making it harder to vote and to organize voters in multiple states. It ought to say something that the Trump administration acted clearly and dishonestly to attempt to put a citizenship question on the census (to reduce representation in states like California), dismantle the civil rights division of the DOJ, and Mitch McConnell continues to block election security and enfranchisement measures.

Years from now, I think some progressives will be embarrassed about the contortions they are going through to not admit the obvious of what happened and is happening. If you’ve read any history of the post Reconstruction era, these efforts all have precursors that are vaguely familiar.

For that regret to occur implies there is something that can be done about the racism angle. I’m not seeing what your suggestion is. I doubt whatever could be done runs in opposition to what should be done on the economic angle so I personally don’t see myself having any regrets on this point. If Bernie wins the nomination and loses the general badly I’m sure progressive causes will take a big hit. It’s still the experiment I want to run but we’ll see what happens.

I’m not sure anything can be done about the racism angle, but I’d sure like to see progressives stop pretending “economic anxiety” is anything less than a way of avoiding the issue. I mean, the data is exists and is strong about white racial and cultural resentment. Historically speaking, white people have always reacted badly in this country when they perceive “others” as status threats. It’s why the south was won in the post Reconstruction era by segregationists, and it’s why Nixon appealed to southerners in the post-Civil Rights era. It’s also why many historians have made the point that eras of successful progressive government action coincide with overlapping racist sentiment—government action is good, as long as it’s for whites (think Chinese Exclusion in California). In some ways, I feel like “economic anxiety” is just a progressive iteration of the classic Reagan era “law and order” dog whistling tropes Republicans used to employ before Trump-era directness.