Bernie Sanders refuses to accept his fate — and keeps talking about important issues

REUTERS/Chris Keane
Sen. Bernie Sanders: "All over the world, countries have made the determination that all of their people deserve health care, and I believe the time is long overdue for the United States to join the rest of the world."

The New York Times reported Monday that Hillary Clinton has moved on from running for the Democratic presidential nomination to running against the Republican field. Those who are in the business of constantly analyzing the state of the horse race and predicting its future seem to think she is on solid ground, strategically, in doing so.

Barring unforeseen and unforeseeable developments, these poll-and-focus-group-analyzers and future-gazers say, Clinton is now on a glide path to the nomination and has the considerable advantage of starting now to position herself for the general election, while the 14 still-vying members of the Republican presidential field must say ever-crazier things in their quest for the honor of being her opponent next year.

I don’t particularly doubt that these seers are right, although I often wish they would spend a little less of their time on future-gazing, about which they are often wrong. Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders has declined thus far to quietly accept his fate. He is still campaigning and last week gave a major hourlong address at Georgetown University explaining his view of what is going wrong in America and what he would propose to do about it. It’s kinda pitiful that the speech got very little coverage, but I suppose it reflects the consensus among the great deciders of “news value” that Sanders is no longer relevant.

Sanders’ talk was great, according to your humble and obedient ink-stained wretch. Unlike a great deal of the words being emitted elsewhere in the presidential race, Sanders’ facts check out. Also, he is expressing views which are mostly consistent with what he has been saying throughout his political career, so it’s easier to convince oneself that he means what he says. He describes, with accurate statistics, the problems that he believes beset our country, and describes policies he would favor to deal with them.

If you have any interest in watching the talk, it is embedded in this link from Reader Supported News. The talk is an hour long, followed by 30 minutes of Q-and-A. So, if you are inclined to watch it, be advised that it is the equivalent of more than 100 30-second ads, and without the music and the scary voices and doctored images that some cynics might say are designed to keep you from thinking.

Sanders advertised the speech in advance as one more effort to explain what he means when he calls himself a “democratic socialist.” On this score, for me, it failed.

Although he often said during the talk that he was describing “what democratic socialism means to me,” and although he throws around the concept that America has a “ruling class” more easily than most politicians do, he comes across to me less as a “socialist” than as a brave, strong liberal who isn’t trying to apologize for wanting to do the things liberals generally have done: raise taxes progressively and use the proceeds to help the nonwealthy on issues of health, education and welfare. He just goes a bit further than most liberals (who perhaps for fear of being called socialists) are willing to go, and he doesn’t apologize for it.

‘Socialist’ FDR

In fact, he makes the point that when Franklin D. Roosevelt was pushing his New Deal programs — which practically defined liberalism in the 1930s — FDR was often denounced as a “socialist.” Same for LBJ and his Great Society programs and the War on Poverty. Maybe they were socialists too, but they didn’t use the term. Sanders goes out of his way to specify that he doesn’t favor government takeover of the “means of production.” What he favors is the use of government to improve the lives of the great majority of the U.S. population.

He also makes the point again and again that the kind of programs he recommends are not something that is limited to the few Scandinavian countries that Americans think of when they hear about democratic socialism. As in:

Health care should be a right of all people, not a privilege. Now I know that there are some people out who think this is just an incredibly radical idea. Imagine, in the United State of America, all of us having health care as a right. But I hope all of you know, this is not a radical idea. It is a conservative idea. It is a practice that exists in every other major country on Earth. Not just Denmark, Sweden or Finland or Norway. It exists in Canada — I live 50 miles away. It exists in France, Germany and Taiwan. All over the world, countries have made the determination that all of their people deserve health care, and I believe the time is long overdue for the United States to join the rest of the world. … A Medicare-for-all single-payer health-care program, which I support, would radically improve the lives of all Americans.

I also appreciated Sanders’ effort to take the concepts of “freedom” and “liberty” back from the right-wing campaign to own them. The marketing team of the Republican Party — especially its right wing — has succeeded in recent years at defining “government” and “freedom” as polar opposites. It’s true that in some extreme sense, every law that is passed, every tax that is levied, every program that is adopted compromises the “freedom” that cavemen had not to pay that tax, not to obey that law, not to benefit from that program. But the concern for the possible consequences of too much government must surely be weighed against the consequences of too little.

But we also have a long tradition of using government to secure freedom and liberty. Sanders reached into FDR’s famous “Four Freedoms” speech for this (the quote below is from FDR):

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men — and we would add women [that’s a little aside by Sanders] — are not free men and women.

Which Sanders explained, and elaborated, thus:

In other words, real freedom must include economic security. That was Roosevelt’s vision 70 years ago. It is my vision today. It is a vision that we have not yet achieved. It is time that we did.

Rich getting richer

Sanders, of course, deployed his favorite and most-hated fact:

Unbelievably, and grotesquely, the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns nearly as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent … that is not the kind of America that we should accept.

This has been fact-checked, and unlike many other claims made by many other candidates, this one checks out. You can, if you want, reduce its impact or even explain it away. Sure, many or even most American in the bottom 90 percent have little net worth or owe more than they have.

But the staggering concentration in the top one-tenth of 1 percent is not normal; it is the product of recent trends and policies. The 29 percent that is owned by the top one-tenth of 1 percent is the highest concentration since the great crash of 1929. And it is rising sharply over recent years. The 29.6 percent that is owned by the 90 percent is falling sharply.

According to this Washington Post piece, as recently as 1986, the bottom 90 percent had 36.4 percent of all wealth and the top one-tenth of 1 percent had 9.3. If you would like to see that on a graph, it’s in the same link as just above.

Sanders says this has come about because the rich have controlled government and used it to become richer. As in:

The truth is that for the last 40 years — 40 years, under Democratic and Republican leadership — the great middle class has been in decline, and faith in our political system is now extremely low. … The very rich get richer. Almost everyone else gets poorer.

SuperPACs, funded by billionaires, buy elections. The Koch brothers and a few of their friends will spend more money in this election than either the Democratic or Republican parties. Ordinary people, working people, young people, don’t vote. We have a political and economic crisis in this country and the same-old same-old politics and economics will not effectively address those crises.

If we are serious about transforming our country — and I hope all of you are serious — if we are serious about rebuilding the American middle class, if we are serious about reinvigorating American democracy, we need to develop a political movement which once again is prepared to take on and defeat a ruling class whose greed is destroying our nation.

Now I know that terms like “ruling class” are probably not talked about all that often here at Georgetown. Not too often on CBS or NBC. But that is the simple fact. And in my view, the billionaire class must be told loudly and clearly that they cannot have it all. That our government belongs to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.

In the last few minutes of his talk, Sanders turned to the foreign/military crisis of the moment, the threat represented by ISIS, thus:

Let us be very clear. While the United States and other Western nations have the strength of our militaries, and our political systems, the fight against ISIS is a struggle for the soul of Islam. And countering violent extremism and destroying ISIS must be done primarily by Muslim nations with the strong support of their global partners.

He praised the king of Jordan for calling for more effort by the countries of the Middle East and called for oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar to do more. He also, like President Obama, believes the departure of Syrian President Bashar Assad should be a priority, but the destruction of ISIS must be “the highest priority.”

Thanks to anyone still reading this post. And have a happy Thanksgiving.

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Comments (44)

  1. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 11/25/2015 - 09:22 am.

    Why do you get to decide his fate?

    Seriously. I’m downright pissed that the media has already decided who our Democratic presidential choice is only because the idea of any of the Democratic candidates being president isn’t as ludicrous (and thus, entertaining) as many of the Republican candidates. I think the media, including MinnPost (particularly, Mr. Eric Black) believes it has made up our minds about the whole situation.

    I believe that, not only is this media black out of Bernie wrong, but the predictions of all the pundits driving the media black out aren’t as strong as they believe.

    I’ll tell you something that blew my mind. The other day, I had a ladies night with a handful of friends. The hostess is one of my more conservative friends. She probably has voted for a Republican for president in the last several elections. Guess who she’s leaning toward? Yes. Bernie. She’s not decided–she doesn’t agree with several of his positions, but she likes that he’s a straight talker and enough of his positions are aligning with her values. She’s still looking for more information before making her decision. But the media has already decided that that information won’t be available to her except by Bernie’s own hand.

    By the way, her tentative position made for a unanimous vote for Bernie in that room of professional women.

  2. Submitted by charlotte scot on 11/25/2015 - 09:34 am.

    Bernie Sanders keeps on trucking

    Thank goodness Bernie keeps focussing on the issues. It is rather amazing how he keeps doing his daytime job (US Senate) all the while setting records for huge crowds throughout the country. The DNC has tried to rig this election since day 1. Fortunately the people are not listening to the DNC. Of course most voters are not Democrats or Republicans, they are Independents like me who have registered as a Democrat in order to vote for Bernie in my primary. What pollsters and pay people keep ignoring is more of us will not lie down and be stepped on. We are determined to have a political revolution and truly work on the problems which face our nation. I can say truthfully, I will not support any candidate who takes money from the nameless corporations and rich who form superPacs to conceal their identity. Bernie is going to get my vote!

  3. Submitted by joe smith on 11/25/2015 - 09:48 am.

    Bernie claims the way to fix crony capitalism, which is destroying America, is to give the folks who have given us our polluted system (politicians, special interest groups) more control over the system they ruined. I just don’t get it? Centralized Government just means more ‘pay to play” with less control of the system for us but the need for more money. That is why Socialism has never worked. Again, I just don’t get it.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/25/2015 - 10:42 am.

      Ah I see

      The EVVVILLL government just twisted the arms of all those corporate interests and FORCED them to accept special treatment for their contributions right? So obviously the solution is to remove any and all restrictions from corporate America and let freedom and magic control their behavior. I’m sure that will work out perfectly, never mind that it hasn’t in all of human history, I’m sure THIS time they won’t destroy everything again.

      • Submitted by joe smith on 11/25/2015 - 12:34 pm.

        No,evil government didn’t twist any arms, politicians just voted those laws in. Businessmen can’t vote on laws, House, then Senate, then President enforces the laws, is the order. The solution is a lower flat corporate tax rate for everyone with no exceptions that our elected officials can barter for power and money.

        • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 11/25/2015 - 02:54 pm.

          “Businessmen can’t vote…”

          Right. It’s much more efficient to simply buy numerous votes.

          Since the elected officials are indebted to their donors, why not make all campaign funds come from the taxpayer directly, so that the elected officials are indebted only to the public?

          Of course we are all mindful that this requires a change in the interpretation of our Constitution and our laws – abandoning the delusions that a corporation is a person, and money is speech. There will be some significant ripple effects, but we can adapt and live with them. The current scheme is destroying our democracy.

          • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 11/25/2015 - 06:38 pm.

            Please name names

            If “numerous votes” are being purchased, name the people who were purchased. Please provide proof.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/25/2015 - 08:18 pm.

              You could start

              With Tom Delay, remember him?

            • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 11/26/2015 - 08:44 am.

              As Mr. Haas suggests, it is only a start.

              But really, there could be a myriad of examples of the obvious trade of money for political support of legislation and administrative regulation which favors the donor. Pay a little attention to what Jack Abramoff is telling us.

              However, there is no volume of citations which can overcome blindness or denial.

              For me, the political corruption which has become perfectly legal in our system is epitomized in the example of John Kline, unless all those private, for-profit schools, feasting on government loan money, have spent all that money supporting him in an Altruistic and Noble desire for good government.

              • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 11/27/2015 - 11:28 am.

                Good work!

                While John Kline might not constitute a “myriad”, at least we have a proven name for criminal charges to brought for bribery. Certainly the federal government will make an example of this proven “money for votes” outgoing Representative. Hopefully the same standard will apply to all candidates receiving money and then the candidates voting the way that those donors wanted. This will be like term limits, only most of the Congress can be removed at one time.

                • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 11/28/2015 - 10:50 am.

                  There are many who, like you, are thrilled to have…

                  … The best government money can buy.

                  I’ll have to add to my claim above: No volume of citations will cure blindness, denial, nor snark.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/25/2015 - 11:13 am.

      What are you suggesting?

      That we fix crony capitalism by putting the “polluted system” more firmly in the hands of those who benefit from it? Aren’t the businesses that benefit from our current system also a “special interest group?”

      • Submitted by joe smith on 11/25/2015 - 12:16 pm.

        The businessmen didn’t pass the laws to either exempt them from paying taxes or get special treatment, politicians, that we elected both Dems and GOP, did! I’m suggesting changing the politicians, both parties, term limits and get a Government that does OUR, the peoples, business in the light of day not behind close doors. I’m suggesting we look honestly at every program at every level to see how effective it is and if it is corrupted by the Trillions of dollars at the national level and the Billions at state levels. I suggest that folks quit thinking our system is not broken, admit it is broken and focus on how to fix it? Hillary was quick to pull out the re-set button with Russia, lets pull out the same button for our Government (hopefully this one takes). I am amazed that Bernie is an outsider when he has never had a job other than a government gig. He was an admitted poor carpenter and couldn’t hold that job.

        I am suggesting we demand more from our elected officials, who have sold us down the river, and take power away from them, both parties, not give them more. Money is power to politicians and more money is bartering power for more special interests and bad laws. Haven’t we seen enough of that?

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/25/2015 - 02:46 pm.

          “The businessmen didn’t pass the laws . . .”

          No, technically not. They did, however, lobby for them. They did campaign heavily for them. They did drop tons of money in the direction of politicians who would do their bidding. What do you think ALEC is–a social club? The part of the private sector that benefits from crony capitalism has not been sitting by innocently while the system is polluted on their behalf.

          The solution is not term limits. Those are just arbitrary limitations on the people’s right to vote for whichever candidate they prefer (and I include the 22nd Amendment in that characterization). If politicians are bad, the electorate needs to own the fact that they elected these people. Angry complaining about this or that politician accomplishes nothing–get out, and do something (“Why? The system is rigged,” said the winner of this year’s Self-fulfilling prophecy contest).

          Should we limit the amount of money that can go to a candidate? Or be spent on behalf of or against a candidate? How about limiting PACs and corporate contributions?

          • Submitted by joe smith on 11/25/2015 - 05:16 pm.

            As I said flat corporate tax no loopholes for politicians to exploit. I would be all for limited funding for elections.

    • Submitted by James Galpin on 11/25/2015 - 11:22 am.

      Culture of Money in Politics

      I will preface this by saying I am a huge Bernie supporter. I do think that you actually make a good point about increased centralized government. However, based on how Bernie rails against big money in politics, one of his major goals is to address the problem of large corporations and the wealthy influencing politics and policy decisions. He has called for the public funding of elections which would allow politicians to actually do their job rather than be concerned with fund raising and appeasing wealthy donors. On almost a daily basis, politicians are forced to host fundraising events and chase after lobbyists in order to have an adequate war chest to compete in elections.

      I have faith that Bernie will be able to bring attention to the issue and work in a bipartisan manner as he has done his entire political career beginning with his position as mayor to his work on the veteran affairs committee.

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/25/2015 - 10:31 am.

    Hillary has the money

    …but that’s true in several senses. She and Bill have done what any self-respecting Republican would do after Bill left office – they’ve padded their investments and bank accounts at a rapid pace. One of the amusements of the past decade and more has been the somewhat muffled outrage of those who like to call themselves “conservative” over the fact that she and Bill have behaved as ordinary Republicans in acquiring wealth by perfectly legal means, and they’ve been quite successful in doing so. Hillary has become part of the plutocracy, and thus, part of the problem, even if not nearly to the same degree as The Donald and several other GOP candidates. She hasn’t completely lost her sense of what it means to come from relatively modest beginnings, and I give her credit for that, but if she won the Oval Office, I wouldn’t expect her to encourage policies that might significantly threaten the financial legacy she and Bill might leave to their grandchildren.

    Because she has the money, and the backing of quite a few others whose wealth make her millions look like small change, she seems likely to get the nomination – not least, and specifically because, mainstream media provide very little coverage of Sanders’ message – and she has plenty of experience at high levels of Washington policy and government, so from the standpoint of sheer mechanics, she knows how to get things done in ways that Mr. Obama had to learn, imperfectly, on the job. She knows how to “triangulate” very well, having been a close observer of her husband, no doubt, not to mention the past 7 years of consistent obstruction by the GOP. And I don’t discount the historical value of her perhaps being the first female President of the United States, something long overdue.

    While I will happily vote for her rather than any of the current group of Republican candidates, I do not expect her to effectively represent the bottom 2/3, at least, of the general public. If elected, it might be fun to watch her eviscerate some of the misogynists on the right, and the patronizers on the left, and with luck, there’ll be some of that during the campaign, as well, but based on what I’ve read and heard so far, Senator Sanders comes much closer to representing the interests of the vast majority of Americans on more issues than does Mrs. Clinton. Both of them are generations ahead of an increasingly irrelevant – philosophically, if not politically – Republican Party. If we had ranked-choice voting for President, I’d choose Sanders first, Clinton second, and leave the ballot blank after that.

  5. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 11/25/2015 - 11:18 am.

    The real question…

    The real question for Mr. Black and his basic endorsement of Bernie – Is Bernie a “moderate deficit hawk?

  6. Submitted by Arne Bergman on 11/25/2015 - 01:21 pm.

    Media are digging their own grave

    This is just another example of why people have stopped trusting media. This article is plain and simple wrong; Sander have gained 10% since October, and Hillary have lost 4%.

    This puts us, the people, in an interesting position. Since it is no longer a secret that media is very biased, the question becomes: When should we and when should we not trust the media? Can we rely on their coverage of terrorism? Can we rely on their coverage of gun violence? Etc.

    We are constantly being told how bad the Russian propaganda machine is, how Kremlin controls the media, but not sure the US media is so much better. Here media is controlled by profit, which, in some instances, is even worse than a government controlled media.

    Media should look at the Trump campaign and learn a little what happens when people lose trust: Every time Trump lies, and media do a fact check to confirm it is a lie, the Trump Campaign gains strength. Trump supporters sees every attempt from the media to discredit Trump as a confirmation of what they already believe: Media cannot be trusted, and they need to do everything to stop it.

    So media are digging their own grave.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/26/2015 - 08:40 pm.

      Reminds Me Of

      The voter suppression amendment. About two weeks before the election, the media breathlessly reported that, “The pro-suppression amendment side would win decisively,” since they still had 56% support in opinion polls. That result was completely misread and reported. What the poll in fact showed was that pro-suppression support was at it’s lowest, and dropping every day. In the end it wasn’t even close.

  7. Submitted by B Carlson on 11/25/2015 - 01:30 pm.

    Don’t count Sanders out yet,

    I certainly do not, after all, there is nearly a full year to go til the election.

    And any more bad developments surfacing about Clinton may very well do her in.

    I’d love to see the election turn out to be Sanders vs Trump, the only two candidates who seem to care more passionately about our country than any of the others.

  8. Submitted by Joe Musich on 11/25/2015 - 09:28 pm.

    Too bad Bernie cannot run as a

    Journalist ! He might have a better chance of being on and in conventional newspapers. Also the general public would come to understand just how deeply heard is point of view is. It might be enough for word of mouth because plenty of people resonate to his ideas. That is what really is not being reported. Percentage points aside his following will grow. The statistics of the the population are changing so quickly that in the space of the year there will be a tremendous shift in the population that could almost insantaeously doom the plutocrats. Buying elections coupled with the effects of gerrymanded GOP districts will be washed away. The point of view Bernie hold wether it be represent d by Bernie or others has arrived.

  9. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/26/2015 - 06:16 am.

    Here’s the Sanders campaign in a nutshell

    “You people should be mad because these other people over here are making more money than you are.”

    The politics of envy will always have plenty of supporters.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 11/26/2015 - 09:51 am.

      lf you think all those Sanders supporters are driven by envy,…

      …turn those binoculars around and look through the other end – you might get a broader view, and it would be illuminating.

  10. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 11/26/2015 - 08:55 am.

    When .001 control as much wealth

    As 90 percent of the rest of the country, that is a reason for anger, not envy.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/26/2015 - 10:28 am.

      Ok, I see your point

      The politics of anger that someone has more money than you will always have plenty of supporters.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/26/2015 - 08:44 pm.

        No, Mr. Tester

        It’s anger because the economic system is a rigged game. The people can see that it’s heads I win tails you lose. Work harder, keep falling behind.

        How long do you think people will support a system when they know they can’t get ahead? It’s a prescription for social upheaval when an economy’s increasing wealth is not shared but concentrated at the top.

  11. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 11/26/2015 - 11:05 am.

    Eric Black should be thanked for keeping Bernie Sanders’ ideas and policy solutions in view! The Democratic National Committee, run by a Hilary Clinton ally, has deliberately limited the number of formal Democratic debates so that a strong candidate like Sanders doesn’t really have exposure to the larger electorate. Former Minneapolis Mayor Rybak got himself into hot water by protesting that decision, which was made by the chairwoman, not the party’s executive committee. All we hear are a terrifyingly ignorant and increasingly wild set of Republicans.

    Bernie Sanders has an important message, and deserves more attention than the media are willing to give him.

    Why so little mainstream attention to Sanders? The media are focussed on the horse race, and on trivia like candidates’ hair-dos, and Bernie tends to be sharp and even dismissive with reporters who aren’t serious about the issues, who either don’t comprehend the issues or prefer to think of the presidential campaign as a high-school popularity contest.

    Then, too, Bernie Sanders’ message is important for keeping Hilary Clinton from becoming what her husband became: a “land of the middle,” mostly Republican president. Bernie’s critique keeps pulling Hilary to address issues important to common people (she has lived a life of privilege, always, and really doesn’t understand what it is to be at the bottom of the economic pile in the U.S.)–and to pull her to the left.

    We need to hear him.

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/26/2015 - 11:16 am.

    Thanks for watching and reporting on this Eric.

    The thing that frustrates me is that this might be the once in several decades election cycle that could belong to a guy like Bernie. The republicans are imploding, they’ve got a front runner that gains in the polls among republican voters very time he escalates his bizarre, they just drift further and further in obscurity. I don’t think any of these republicans can defeat any of the democrats in a national election, so this is a year a guy like Bernie could win.

    Frankly, all of the democratic candidates could transition into republican opponent strategy so that doesn’t really tell us anything special about Clinton.

    I’ve always preferred Bernie over Clinton, I don’t trust Clinton, and I don’t trust her to push a liberal agenda. We need a liberal agenda more than ever because liberals have the only viable solutions to our biggest problems, and we’re running out of time. I think the next democratic president will end up with another democratic majority in the house and senate and I’m afraid Clinton, (like Obama) would squander that opportunity, while Bernie would run with it, (As did FDR).

    As for the media declaring a “victor” already, I don’t think a single primary vote has yet been counted and we all know that a primary state or two can be a game changer… so no, don’t count Bernie out just yet. I think the corporate media is just doing their job of restricting the discourse to the candidate least likely to challenge the status quo. Sadly, this usually works, but every once and while…

  13. Submitted by Richard Helle on 11/26/2015 - 05:30 pm.

    Close, but no cigar

    Eric came very close to being something like a journalist here. Very close indeed. A little less dismissive snark and ever so precious cleverness, he might just be able to write something that really matters.

  14. Submitted by James Lerch on 11/27/2015 - 08:47 am.

    Thank you

    Thanks to Eric Black for his article. Bernie Sanders is a leader whose message is resonating with many more Americans than the established power wants to give him credit for. It is not surprising that Hillary will take every opportunity to dismiss/minimize/ignore Sanders and his message, and the press (in general) is doing what it can to help her.

    Hillary (and many of the Republican candidates) have yet to answer questions regarding her/their connections to Wall Street. What will they be doing in return for accepting the exorbitant campaign contributions flowing into their coffers?

    Message to the press: Quit talking about who is winning, and instead focus on what we are learning about the candidates, their proposed policies, and the effects of those policies the MAJORITY of Americans.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/27/2015 - 08:56 am.

    Credentials are intact

    One can agree or disagree, I know I do, but Mr. Black is most definitely a journalist. His column here appears to provoke more discussion and thought than any other single column on Minnpost on a regular basis. The fact that he doesn’t hide behind a screen of pseudo-objectivity is to his credit and in fact, is the catalyst for our substantive discussions.

  16. Submitted by Jim Million on 11/27/2015 - 09:00 am.

    Yes, He Did

    When Eric truly owns his topic, he writes pretty well.

  17. Submitted by William Pappas on 11/27/2015 - 09:42 am.

    Bernie’s fate is far from decided. You have fallen into the trap of all the other journalists who accept the pundit line that Bernie cannot beat Hillary. I do agree that Bernie is really just an old time liberal unafraid to promote his progressive ideas that are actually majority positions of American citizens. He will prove that when liberals confront conservatives rather than cower and assume many of their positions and allow them to control the dialogue, they get people to vote for them. I would think that you would understand all this.

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/27/2015 - 10:33 am.


    We may not really have any idea how these guys are doing until we start voting in primaries etc. The collapse of landlines has dramatically changed the quality and reliability of polling data. There’s a nice little piece on this in the NYTs:

    Clinton and Trumps leads may be methodological artifacts. Bernie isn’t just being stubborn, he’s being smart. No one should make campaign decisions based on polling data this point. Bernie appears to outmaneuver Clinton, and Clinton frequently appears to be playing catch-up. I wonder if that because Bernie relies less on polling data?

  19. Submitted by joe smith on 11/27/2015 - 10:51 am.

    After reading the comments it appears most feel the political process we currently have going is broken or at the very least flawed. The choices seem to be reduce the amount of money and power our elected officials can get their hands on (before everyone screams evil businessmen, legislators passed EVRERY SINGLE piece of legislation that allows for carve outs, special deductions, certain exemptions and every hole in our overly complex tax system, both Dems and GOP’ers) or give them more power. Bernie wants single payer (VA comes to mind), free college, more money for K-12 ($250,000 per student now), more social programs, higher taxes (more money for legislators) and bigger government. GOP’ers want smaller government. The choice is ours as to which we feel will solve the problems we all face the best.

  20. Submitted by Bill Willy on 11/27/2015 - 12:56 pm.

    More grass, anyone?

    I’ve had a great Farside cartoon on my refrigerator for years. Three cows out in a rolling pasture, two with their heads down, grazing away, the third looking up with this surprised and angry look on its face, saying,

    “Hey, wait a minute! This is grass! We’ve been eating grass!”

    When enough of the people who get so riled up by the rhetoric of people like Don Trump, Bean Carson and T. Cruz — or even “more moderate” people like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Kurt Daubt, Joyce Peppin, Matt Dean, Steve Drazkowski, and Pat Garofalo — start coming out of their comas and tasting the grass they’ve been mistaking for everything on the menu for the last 35 years it will be landslide time for someone like Bernie Sanders because he and the Pope (of all people) are like the only sober people at the endless (and really bad, cheap wine-fueled) New Year’s Eve party that started “the day we all decided” government isn’t the solution, but whale oil, used car, insurance, real estate, financial “products,” and, of course, grass, sales and marketing people are.

    • Submitted by Richard Helle on 11/27/2015 - 08:32 pm.

      Well said

      We’ve had a half a century of politics of the elite, by the elite and for the elite with only the occasional bone being thrown to the folks doing all the hard work. We’ve been divided by race and income and religion and recreational substance use and sexual preferences and every other difference that could possibly be exploited. We have consistently and predictably voted against our own economic interests. We have actively work against those groups that would vastly improve our lots in life. The news media has turned into a propaganda tool whose sole function is to distract and issue marching orders by proxy. Our political candidates get little more examination of their actual positions beyond their talking points. Sanders has proven to be different and the press is unsure how to deal with him so they ignore him. Not beholding to any special interest unless you consider the working middle class a special interest, he has remained uniquely consistent throughout his entire career of public service. You can see speeches he’s given 10, 20, and 30 years ago. His focus has remained the same. And this campaign, while his positions and proposals are ambitious, his most important message has been that he cannot do this by himself and without the participation of many groups who have been shut out and ignored, he cannot help but fail. If Sanders is able to get young voters, poor voters, African-American voters, Hispanic voters, to participate in the primary process. If Sanders can get voters whose primary issue is the environment, peace, gay rights, voters rights, workers organization, minimum wage, to participate in the primary process. If Sanders can get those people who have gotten disgusted with the fact no one in government seems to give a tinkers damn about their struggles in everyday life to pay their mortgage, pay for their health care, pay for their children’s college to participate in the primary process. If Sanders can get those people to show up and speak their piece and cast their vote, it will indeed be a revolution and the 0.1% had better heed the results.

  21. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 11/28/2015 - 09:13 am.

    The media mocks truth; no fair play in its poll chatter…

    Is that all we have as main-line news sources- be it ABC, NBC, CBS ?

    Those alpha news jockeys tell us little but the surface…advertising that grand commodity, fear itself and spreading the face of fear, terror among us in our own accepting state of mind?

    Are we gullible? Maybe call it apathy in order to be kind in evaluating … so one could say we survive in a nation of followers; minds of the majority so atrophied that they may even follow Trump?

    They, the group of voter/followers may just set Trump up in the big white house on Pennsylvania Avenue and we will have a dictator to worship, too soon?…we’ve lost so much lately, it’s hard to believe all our democratic, constitutional promises washed away by fear compounded by a sense of terror promoted; sold on the marketplace of ultra conservative power brokers.

    Bernie Sanders may not make it but thank the gods he is there to remind us who we are, what we did represent and hope is a thin thread but hang in there Bernie, yes sir…

  22. Submitted by Susan Maricle on 11/30/2015 - 09:18 am.

    Too unknown to call

    In 2006 the media kept telling us the Fifth CD primary race was “too close to call.” As Keith Ellison won by a wide margin, the race wasn’t too close to call – it was too unknown to call. The media loves to shape elections. They know Hillary’s narrative, they know she and Bill make for good sound bites. Getting to know a candidate like Bernie will take them a little more work. And will probably be a lot less fun.

    Just as the 5th CD race was too unknown to call, so is the 2016 Presidential race. Who knows how many nonvoters and crossover voters Bernie will attract on Election Day. In the meantime, Bernie trucks on. And next year, let’s have a primary that’s, well, a primary, and not a predetermined coronation.

  23. Submitted by Jim Million on 12/07/2015 - 06:00 am.

    Bernie Sanders

    He’s keeping alive some traditional liberal issues seemingly lacking in contemporary corporate Dems; you know, those matters that others acknowledge mainly for the sake of later saying they did so.

    Bernie reminds me of British backbenchers, who repeatedly remind others of original missions and member responsibilities to keep them alive in the forum. He is perhaps better suited to Parliament than to Congress.

    A pity.

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