U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) would be easily winning the Democratic primaries if the playing field between him and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was level. Unfortunately, the mainstream media has drastically tilted the field in favor of Clinton. As any Berner can attest, the media has gone out of its way to marginalize Bernie Sanders and his growing popularity. Every bit of negative news about Sen. Sanders is turned into a headline, while Clinton’s numerous flip-flops and quasi-scandals are quickly pushed to the back page. On the other hand, all of Sanders’ impressive victories and accomplishments are hastily downplayed while every trivial endorsement or bit of praise received by Clinton makes the front page.
This media activism is not surprising. After all, it is widely known that the Clinton political machine plays old-school, Gilded Age ball: Loyalty is rewarded, and critics are punished. Journalists and pundits who praise Clinton and her campaign believe they will be rewarded if and when she makes it to the Oval Office…and those who are critical of her candidacy, no matter how justified their charges, worry that they will be punished. And those mainstream media figures who do believe that Bernie Sanders can win an upset and claim the White House realize that Sanders plays a clean game and will not reward sycophancy, minimizing any incentive to stick one’s neck out and antagonize the Clinton machine.
We Berners knew that Hillary Clinton had the mainstream media and the Democratic Party establishment in her pocket. However, we hoped that, as Bernie Sanders proved his competitiveness and viability, both of those groups would begin to treat him with more respect and give him more air time. We believed that, when Sanders started winning states in the primaries, the media would stop marginalizing him. We figured that the establishment would stop waving its pom-poms for Clinton once Sanders was able to show that millions of citizens were actually voting for him.
Sadly, this has not happened. Even after Michigan, Bernie Sanders’ finest upset triumph to date, the power structure continues to be “all in” on Hillary Clinton. In fact, concerned about the possibility of the lucrative revolving door and sycophant-rewarding Washington gravy train ending, the establishment has only increased its pro-Clinton tempo. Knowing that president Bernie Sanders would clamp down on profiteering lobbyists, rampant pork-barrel spending, and the infamous revolving door between the private sector and government, the Washington power structure is desperate to keep an honest man away from their revenue streams.
Bernie Sanders is reviled by the mainstream media, the Democratic Party establishment, and many of America’s wealthiest political donors because he will end their free ride of perks, government influence, and pork-barrel spending. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, will keep the gravy train chugging along. Even if wealthy donors and entrenched politicos may sneer at her scandals and dislike her politics, they prefer her old-school system of quid pro quo to Sanders’ insistence on honesty and transparency. If Clinton wins, they win. If Sanders wins, their perks package is finished.
Fellow Berners, we cannot count on the media or the establishment suddenly “waking up” and giving fair treatment to Bernie Sanders and his campaign. They know Bernie Sanders is the right choice for president, that his comprehensive economic reforms are what America desperately needs and that his honesty and reputation and unrivaled in politics…but they simply cannot bring themselves to put their status and comfort in jeopardy. The establishment, graced with power and financial comfort, may intellectually understand that Bernie Sanders’ policies are better than those of his rivals and that his honesty will save our nation from the heartache of presidential scandal, but they don’t feel the urgency that we voters feel.
Only those of us who feel the Bern can be counted on to spread his message to the states where voters have yet to cast their ballots. We must intensify our efforts to donate to Bernie Sanders’ campaign, phonebank, Facebank, write to our politicians and our local media outlets, and contact members of the mainstream media and demand that they give Bernie Sanders and his campaign fair treatment. On their own, our U.S. Representatives, U.S. Senators, and media figures will do little toward granting Bernie Sanders a level playing field. However, when their constituents, readers, viewers, and donors demand fairness and ethics, they will respond out of necessity.
If our media figures and political representatives will not give Bernie Sanders fair treatment, we can offer them two choices: They can clean up their act, and we will remain loyal supporters, or they can continue to blatantly support Hillary Clinton and risk a mass exodus. The Democratic primaries are coming down to the wire, and no longer can our leaders and journalists pretend that there are not consequences for their biased behavior. Six months ago, they may have been able to rationalize favoritism toward Hillary Clinton as irrelevant because “she’ll win anyway,” but that is no longer the case.
Bernie Sanders can win this things, and he will win it if we can get the word out. There is a reason that voters are switching from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders and not the other way around. When people know about the Bern, they feel the Bern. The media is doing its darnedest to prevent citizens from knowing more about Bernie Sanders and his popular proposals, and we cannot stand idly by. After Michigan, it can no longer be denied that Bernie Sanders and democratic socialism can win the day, even against the longest odds…but that also means that there is no excuse to ignore the fact that every little bit counts. Whereas media bias and political favoritism may have once been dismissed as irrelevant or unavoidable, this can no longer stand. Now that it is proven that Bernie Sanders can win it all, we must allow nothing unethical to stand in his way.
Write your newspaper, write your congressman, and demand fair treatment of Bernie Sanders. Donate, phonebank, and Facebank. Wear your Bernie Sanders shirts, sport your bumper stickers, and encourage your friends and family to get involved. Most of all, #FeelTheBern