I was discussing the 2020 election with Swamp Rabbit. “Bernie Sanders can win,” I said. “Wake up and smell the coffee.”
This was a bad choice of cliches. Swamp Rabbit was sipping Wild Turkey from a dented flask and not at all interested in coffee. He said Bernie is a long shot because the corporate media hate him — The Washington Post, The New York Times and so on. The same “fake news” outlets that Donald Trump lambastes for supposedly being liberal. How often do the talking heads on the supposedly left-leaning MSNBC say anything nice about Sanders?
“Almost never,” I conceded.
The media big shots think they’re cute, the rabbit continued. He singled out MSNBC’s middle-of-the-road talking head Brian Williams, who actually accused Sanders of taking a page out of Trump’s playbook. This was after Sanders justifiably complained of non-stop negative press from WAPO, whose star reporters are frequent guests on MSNBC shows. Rather than address Bernie’s legitimate concerns, Williams chose to place him in the same bag with the sleaziest public figure in modern America.
“Them media hacks ain’t never gonna jump on Bernie’s bandwagon,” Swamp Rabbit said, “on account of he’s never gonna stop reminding them that they’re owned by the small group of peeps that controls all the wealth in this country. It ain’t in their interest to talk up Bernie.”
The rabbit and I agreed that Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are the only candidates who’ve made detailed, progressive plans to undo the damage Trump has done to the environment, the economy, foreign relations, race relations, the presidency itself. The question is which style can sell a progressive agenda more effectively, Warren’s empathy or Bernie’s outrage, which was on display for a national TV audience in the June Democratic debates:
I suspect people all over the country who are watching this debate are saying, these are good people, they have great ideas. But how come nothing really changes? How come for the last forty-five years wages have been stagnant for the middle class? How come we have the highest rate of childhood poverty? How come 45 million people still have student debt? How come three people own more wealth than the bottom half of America? . . . Nothing will change unless we have the guts to take on Wall Street, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the military-industrial complex, and the fossil fuel industry.
“I’m glad Bernie didn’t put the media on that list,” Swamp Rabbit said. “They’d love for him to keep saying things that might help them bury him in that hole they dug for him.”