Just a few months ago, most people in the media thought Bernie Sanders was a novelty candidate. Even the New York Times dismissed him last year, and was called out by many progressives for what they saw as a media blackout on his campaign.
Chris Matthews stated in this evening’s coverage of the historic New Hampshire win that a real loser was professional pundits. He is completely right, even though he repeatedly dismissed Bernie Sanders as a legitimate contender up until just recently.
I love watching the media eat crow. These are pundits who are handed scripts by professionals who have skimmed the daily headlines and then regurgitate them on camera to their audience. This isn’t just Fox News or the conservative media, MSNBC and other liberal media groups are just as guilty of doing this, as well as the New York Times.
If Chris Matthews and his peers had really paid attention to what is going on, they would have seen that there is a great discontent in this country with the status quo. Yes, younger progressive voters still support President Obama, but we aren’t satisfied with an economy that still favors corporations and the wealthiest Americans.
It was great that marriage equality finally became the law of the land. We are happy with healthcare reform and advances for women’s rights – but we still want more. We want more income equality and a better chance to achieve the American Dream.
We’re working longer hours for less money, struggling to pay back loans for college educations that were promised to be the key to a good job and owning a home like our parents did at our age. It’s a good thing that our gay friends can get married and adopt children, but what good does it do them if the American Dream is still out of reach even as they reach middle age?
Conservatives and even some establishment Democrats have dismissed us as spoiled and wanting free stuff. Universal healthcare, affordable higher education and good careers are not things we want handed to us. We simply want our hard-earned tax dollars to be used on making our lives, and our children’s lives better – instead of funding wars and subsidizing corporate welfare.
The political establishment and the media ignore this at their peril. Bernie Sanders may be old enough to be our grandfather, but he understands what our challenges are. Bernie Sanders doesn’t address our concerns with carefully prepared remarks by professional speech writers, nor does he bring forward has-been diplomats like Madeleine Albright to condemn women who don’t vote for him.
This battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton isn’t just about a ideological divide in the Democratic Party, it is a divide pitting more conservative Baby Boomers vs. younger progressive voters like myself. Many of us are independent voters and quite a few were also apathetic to what seems to be establishment politics as usual.
Hillary Clinton’s greatest failure was playing it safe to the center, or to the right of young voters. If she loses this nomination, that is what political strategists will talk about in the autopsy of her campaign. There was no need to run to the middle when the GOP has been so far to the right over the last few election cycles. If she had done this from the beginning, the media wouldn’t be having the conversation they are tonight.