Bernie Launches a 50 State Campaign Strategy Powered by Volunteers, and the Media Reaction? Silence or Condescension.

In every single state, in a few territories, and even in different countries, volunteers for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign have planned over 4,000 events, hundreds of which are already at max capacity and not taking any more reservations. Despite this undeniable groundswell of support from the grassroots, a google search for Bernie Sanders reveals no news items on the events, only hit pieces from major news media with the usual hyperbolic terms like “socialism” in the title. When searching specifically for the event, there are only three articles mentioning this weekend’s historic launch: from Politico, Fox, and the Boston Herald. The article by the Boston Herald was written with the sole purpose of mocking a spelling error undoubtedly made by an unpaid volunteer.

For any one who was paying attention in 2016, this is nothing new or unexpected.  When independent agencies looked at major-network campaign coverage in 2015-2016, they found that there was a near complete black out of Bernie’s campaign and message. One report determined that Trump was getting 16x the coverage of Sanders and Clinton received 6x the coverage.

But the blackout is the silent part of the story, and difficult to measure. What is easier to see are the obvious hit pieces. Check out the google results for “Washington Post Bernie Sanders”:

Note the repeated and strategic use of “Trump” in the same headline as Senator Sanders. Additionally an article regarding an interview with Mayor Pete Buttigieg went viral on April 21st which stated he compared Senator Sanders’ supporters to Trump. This will be the new tactic of the media now that Bernie is the front runner: to convince Democrats that Bernie is the Trump of the left, as well as that he is a socialist, part of the one percent, a Russian agent, and any smear they can invent.

But just like in 2016, when the media became their own worst enemy, supplying Trump with the endless free publicity he needed to win, their tactics will backfire. The more the mainstream media ignores Bernie’s momentum the harder his supporters will work to get the word out on social media, the more they demonize him the more he is legitimized in the eyes of his base, and the more they lie about his platform the more alienate their audience. The lies are clear to viewers because obviously Trump, who cages children on our border, is nothing like Bernie, who wants to pass legislation guaranteeing everyone has healthcare and a living wage.

Volunteers like Marianna Hopkins-Everson, founder of the Our Revolution affiliate “Our Revolution Coastal Washington” in the red Washington state county of Grays Harbor, will not be deterred from supporting Senator Sanders 2020 Democratic Party nomination and planning a launch event, despite the Trump/Bernie comparison. She is one of the more than 3,000 people planning an event on April 27th. Marianna believes “Everyone deserves to not just survive this life, but to thrive with good health and security,” she continues, “After the 2016 primary, Trump co-opted Bernie’s message. Trouble is, Trump lied. I believe Bernie because he is consistent and shows true compassion for all people.”

Sofia Sepulveda, who is organizing an event in Texas, states “In 2016 Bernie asked us for a political revolution and even after his campaign we were true to our promise. We started Our Revolution San Antonio and mostly did action items as well as supporting some candidates for council. We support Bernie because even now, his policies have not changed but improved from 2016, he is the best positioned to take out Trump and he truly listens to communities who are hurting every day.” And as for the media coverage of Bernie’s campaign? Sophia says, “After watching the second CNN Town Hall I cringed. I am weary of the media who profit is based on ratings rather than news. I do not believe the media is treating Bernie fairly.”

“We need everyone to get out here and fight for this! The 1٪ is already working against us. We remember the endless hit pieces, the betrayal of the DNC, the empty podiums. Their power comes from money and greed. Bernie’s power comes entirely from the people,” Amber Wood of Socialist Alternative states.  Socialist Alternative is hosting an event at Northside Tavern and reaching out to everyone in Cincinnati. Amber says “We can win Bernie’s platform and challenge the entire system to win a better world if we fight. Come fight with us!”

Thousands of supporters like Marianna, Amber and Sophia are coming together on April 27th to listen to Bernie’s vision for a better world and to make it happen. If you would like to be part of this movement, RSVP at one of the events near you.

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Georgia Davenport

Georgia Davenport is the Campaign Director for Whole Washington and recently led the 100% volunteer effort to pass universal healthcare via a ballot initiative in 2018. Georgia is also a Washington State Democratic Central Committee Representative for the 33rd Legislative District Democrats, and the Secretary for the Washington State Progressive Caucus. In 2016, she was a super volunteer for Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Campaign at the DNC in Philadelphia. Georgia chauffeured Bernie surrogates like Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover, and Lucy Flores to and from the convention. Later that year, she was a staffer for I-735, the initiative aimed at overturning Citizens United, which passed by 64%. Her interest in politics mainly comes from wanting a better future for her daughter and all the other children who need us to enact bold legislation today.