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Did dodging foreign policy doom Bernie Sanders?

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For a few magic weeks, Bernie Sanders was taken seriously as a presidential candidate with a chance to win – a huge watershed for a self-avowed socialist. But after falling short (even if slightly) in Iowa and Nevada, and with no friendly states on the horizon, Sanders is back in protest candidacy territory.

Could taking on Hillary Clinton’s warlike foreign policy, which Sanders stubbornly refused to do, have changed the game?

Ta-Nehisi Coates argues that Sanders’s avoidance of racial justice issues says a lot about “how the left prioritizes its various radicalisms.” (It astounded me that a progressive would launch a presidential campaign in April 2015 without one reference to Black Lives Matter, the year’s most animating issue on the left.) The same can be said of Sanders’s refusal to seriously critique Hillary’s hawkishness, or her support for Israel.

Though Sanders opposed both Iraq invasions and has a clearly dovish record (except, of course, on Israel), his campaign is a potential setback to the movement to stop America’s repeated drift toward war in the Middle East. His success suggests that war and Palestine aren’t vital issues to the left, and that a progressive challenge can thrive while avoiding them entirely.

Sanders’s campaign removed antiwar expression from the 2016 election (aside from Donald Trump) and is letting neocons maintain the fiction that opposing militarism is politically costly. Which is how they stay in power under both parties.

It’s true domestic issues were central to the Sanders campaign, and are the main concern for voters in general. But was it really so politically smart to reject the energy that Sanders could have harnessed from antiwar activists? Iowa Democrats are very dovish (they were big Nuclear Freeze supporters back in the day, and opposed the contras and war with Iraq). Bernie lost by a hair there (which has made all the difference); almost anything would have put him over the top.

When Hillary harshly and unfairly attacked Bernie for wanting normalization with Iran (doesn’t Obama want this too?) I optimistically thought it would force the issue. Her charge that Sanders would bring Iranian troops to “Israel’s doorstep” was an ugly pander, if consistent. Now it’s on, I thought, he’ll have to reply. But Bernie ducked. He just ignored it. He’ll mention his Iraq opposition when asked in a debate or on the shows, but this discussion was obviously the last thing he wanted.

That’s too bad: Bernie could have used Hillary’s Israel-and-Iran-baiting to illustrate his core message about how money corrupts politics – for example, the $25 million Hillary’s Clinton Foundation has taken from the Saudi butchers, or her campaign money from megadonor Haim Saban.

It’s a more-than-curious blind spot (oh, who am I kidding? It’s depressingly predictable) that Mr. Money Corrupts has nothing to say about AIPAC’s donor-funded chokehold on the entire U.S. Congress.

And it’s predictable that so many people who reject Hillary’s “pragmatism” in favor of Bernie’s “why not?” will say he has no choice but to support Israel. (Coates observes the same phenomenon in Sanders supporters who are unconcerned about barriers to passing single-payer healthcare or a $1 trillion jobs program, but who become sudden realists about African-American reparations.)

Yes, it was inspiring when Sanders called out Hillary’s friendship with Henry Kissinger and referenced the CIA’s 1953 overthrow of Iran’s democratic government. And it’s great he can point to his 2002 vote against the Iraq war. But none of that can substitute for a forward-looking vision arguing against the bipartisan war machine. Just as it shows when it replies to racial justice critics with ‘60s photos, the Sanders campaign hasn’t processed that elections are always about the future.

Sanders said nothing when Clinton promised to “take the US-Israel relationship to the next level.” (Meaning what, blasting kids off the beach for them? What more could we do?) With no pressure from anyone, Clinton is completely free to propound a pro-war message that makes her donors happy and that neocon pundits pretend is a general election asset. (Trump may prove them wrong – and how amazing is it that in 2016 the Republicans are going to nominate a candidate who opposed the Iraq war while the Democrats will pick one who voted for it?)

It may have made Bernie supporters angry when Hillary’s Nevada victory speech copied their candidate’s message points, but it shows their victory. Like Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988, Sanders will go on until the convention: he’s got plenty of money, passionate supporters, a good chance for victories in places like Massachusetts, Colorado, Minnesota and Oregon, and he can pick up delegates everywhere. Hillary will still have to debate him, he can influence the party platform, and he’ll give a big convention speech passionately endorsing Hillary. (Then he’ll become a fundraising powerhouse for progressive candidates and causes.)

But Sanders won’t be president, so his potential evolution in office can’t help stop the next Middle East war. To do that, it’ll be necessary to challenge and defeat pro-war candidates at the House and Senate level.

Peter Feld

Peter Feld is a writer, editorial consultant, market researcher and former political strategist at Democratic polling firms. He is @peterfeld on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.

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52 Responses

  1. on February 21, 2016, 12:21 pm

    How much in percentages of the voters view foreign policy as equal or more important than domestic policies of the country? Even then, how many from this minute group of individuals would seriously view Clinton’s or anyone else’s interventionist and pro-war FP as potentially better than Bernie’s pro-diplomacy and anti-aggression stance? A few hundred, even using the most conservative estimate? I honestly cannot see how these folks can in any meaningful measure contributed to Bernie’s recent loss.

    • Donald on February 21, 2016, 12:48 pm

      You’re missing the point– people don’t even think about American war crimes or the crimes of our allies like Israel unless it is brought up. It isn’t brought up, which just makes the issues that much more unimportant. This is Sanders’s great failing.

      Though I also think he felt he couldn’t take on the militarists– he is already being chewed up on domestic issues by people who side with Clinton. Krugman spent years saying that we needed a much bigger stimulus for a much longer time to pull us out of the hole, but now that Sanders proposes this, he pretends that an overly optimistic economic analysis by someoone who isn’t even a Sanders supporter proves Sanders isn’t ready. So much for policy.

      • JWalters on February 21, 2016, 7:23 pm

        “It isn’t brought up.”

        I’d say it’s proactively suppressed by forces so powerful they can keep a mountain of well-known facts out of Establishment Media discussions even on relatively progressive outlets like MSNBC, to say nothing of overt propaganda organs like Fox and the New York Times.

        So any politician has to tread carefully around the topic of Israel’s crimes or they will be immediately subjected to a barrage of Establishment Media attacks from both “left” and right, entirely dooming their candidacy.

        The fact that vets in SC are not upset about Trump’s calling out the Bush administration on 9/11 and the Iraq war suggests that many of these vets have been looking into these issues on the web. The evidence there is plentiful and compelling. The Financial Establishment, both Republican and Democratic, don’t want to go there because it opens a window onto their war profiteering operations. But Trump is a building guy, and is probably well aware that the Bush administration’s official report on 9/11 did not even MENTION the third building that collapsed that day. (!) And he’s probably also well aware that their eventual report on that third building’s collapse, released in the final months of their administration, omitted MANY important facts. (!) These were egregious lies of omission by “the government”, under orders from its puppeteers.

        Tactically, I agree with Bernie’s current focus on (1) the rigged economy, which everybody is angry about, (2) the rigged political system which enables the rigged economy, (3) the broken justice system that also results from 2, and helps perpetuate 2.

        It seems to me he needs next to destroy Clinton’s claim that they are equivalent on campaign finance reform (she would allow corporate money that is “accountable”), and destroy her evasion of a clear declaration that the big banks are already too big for democracy, and already need to be broken up.

        The financial tyranny enables the suppression of discussion in the media about Israel, the war profiteering operations, and the continuous incitement of racial and religious bigotry to promote conflict. When the extent of the financial tyranny is clear in people’s minds, they will be more open to learning about the subsidiary conspiracies and crimes.

    • ritzl on February 22, 2016, 11:35 am

      Good observation, but it isn’t a top priority because the connection is NEVER made, even by self-styled “change” agents like Sanders, between the $Ts ($6T and counting) borrowed and spent on our interventionist wars and most voters complete lack of an ability to send their kids to college without assuming crushing lifelong debt or get long term medical care without losing their homes.*

      Just one of those $Ts (OK maybe two) put in trust pays for state college and medical security for everyone in the US…forever. Citizens and illegals alike (Sorry Republicans. One less dead horse to beat.) But folks like Sanders simply will NOT make the connection.

      I think people do tend to project their own sense of human goodness and believe that their candidate options are not TOTALLY venal and corrupt(able) so they (at least my little circle) tend to look at it through the prism of, “He’s a good person mostly, so if he’s not making the connection between my dire and worsening circumstances and the financial and societal cost of perpetual war, then there must not be a connection to be made. Next issue/What’s your point? (as these political discussions tend to go)…”

      Shorter version: Voters don’t talk about them because the candidates don’t prioritize them.

      * hence the booming home title pawn – oops, reverse mortgage – industry.

  2. Blaine Coleman on February 21, 2016, 12:45 pm

    Maybe it’s not so smart to avoid the central issue of our time:

    Boycotting Israel, stopping the trillion-dollar genocide against Arabs, and investing that trillion into rebuilding the inner cities instead.

    Here’s some evidence for that: divestment resolutions are winning and “Israel” is losing, at the University of Minnesota, and at the University of South Florida:

    “Students call for U to divest”
    Feb. 16, 2016

    “U should listen to divestment calls”
    by the Daily Editorial Board
    Feb. 18, 2016

    “Resolution passed at University of South Florida calls for divestment from Israel”
    Jan. 27, 2016

    “SG Senate votes for divestment”
    Jan. 20, 2016

    • JWalters on February 21, 2016, 7:39 pm

      Thanks for the good news. College campuses are the best places for the grass-roots push needed to get this issue past the war criminals’ puppet editors in the Establishment Media.

    • hophmi on February 22, 2016, 10:39 am

      LOL. This is not the central issue of our time. It does not affect the vast, vast majority of Americans, and it is nonsense propaganda to suggest otherwise.

      • YoniFalic on February 22, 2016, 11:15 am

        Of course it is. At least 1/6 of the world’s population is justifiably outraged that a bunch of E. European invaders get away with 19th century style white racist genocidal European colonialism with the aid of the USA.

  3. Atlantaiconoclast on February 21, 2016, 12:56 pm

    I think the anti War Left is full of it. As soon as W left the scene and their crown prince Obama came to power, they lost concern for war and our neocon driven foreign policy. How else can you explain the silence from the Left in regards to our meddling in Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc.?

    The true anti War mantle was carried not by a Leftist but by a libertarian named Ron Paul. His son could have continued to carry that mantle, but waited too late to try to do it. Trump was able to take on that mantle, however idiotic he sounds on the Iran deal, and other matters.

    Given my objections to some of his positions, I had originally decided not to vote for him. But after seeing him single handedly take on and destroy the W legacy, he gained my vote. I don’t think those on the Left fully appreciate what just happened in the GOP.

    And the icing on the cake? Trump said he would have to be neutral on Israel/Palestine. Do I believe he will really be neutral? Hardly, BUT, he has changed the tone, in a huge way. The neocons are on the run. Finally. And it had nothing to do with a Lefty.

    • Atlantaiconoclast on February 21, 2016, 1:08 pm

      I should have said, with the exception of Leftists like Code Pink, Cindy Sheehan and a few journalists like the great Glenn Greenwald.

      • Lillian Rosengarten on February 22, 2016, 11:46 am

        There are many grass roots and active progressive groups accomplishing many things. Your views undermines all the good work taking place. It is easier to be cynical than to be actively involved.

      • echinococcus on February 22, 2016, 10:13 pm

        Ms Rosengarten,

        Doing a lot of good work is not the point; successfully attacking the holy war cow from its own side is.

    • Mooser on February 21, 2016, 1:51 pm

      “How else can you explain the silence from the Left…”

      Especially since you decided to put a capital “L” on “left”. That should tell us exactly who they are, so we can look for what they say.

      Oh, sorry, I see: “Leftists like Code Pink, Cindy Sheehan” So clear! So natural!
      After all, the left is so gauche.

      • Whatt on February 21, 2016, 4:58 pm

        Interesting post Iconoclast.

    • on February 21, 2016, 7:59 pm

      No. The icing on the cake was when he was told something Charles Krauthammer said, and responded, “He’s an idiot.”

      Gotta admit: that’s the best reason for voting for someone I’ve heard in a long long time.

    • JWalters on February 21, 2016, 8:03 pm

      I agree on the great benefit of Trump calling out Bush on 9/11, though he does not sound “anti-war” to me.

      Side note – I have a problem with the confusion of the term “anti-war”, because I’m not going to give up my own self-defense when it’s needed. Attacking unjustly is the problem. “Anti-unjust war” would probably describe more people. Or “anti-Iran war”. It’s true that some people will be deluded about what is just, and this is where an objective third party ideally would come in to adjudicate. Crazy and violent people do need to be restrained by the larger social order.

  4. joemowrey on February 21, 2016, 2:16 pm

    I agree. Sanders is not going to be President. So these discussions are somewhat moot. But just for the record: people like to refer to Sanders vote against the Iraq war as some kind of testament to his anti-war credentials. Jeffrey St. Clair points out Sanders hypocrisy on Iraq in the attached article.

    In fact, Sanders is a strong supporter of U.S. Imperialism and his record is anything but anti-war overall. He recently endorsed Obama’s criminal foreign policy record despite the fact that Obama has initiated more direct and proxy wars than any other president in our history. Even if Sanders were to take the Oval office (ain’t gonna happen) we would see very little change in the bloodthirsty march of our fetid empire.

    Sanders is a real humanitarian when it comes to American humans. For any other nationality, particularly if they are muslim, not so much.

  5. Liz on February 21, 2016, 2:42 pm

    I’m concerned about the direction this piece took on Sanders. More than that, it’s been concerning that Sanders continues to be criticized more than Hillary. In his long career, Sanders has done more to highlight issues of systemic racism. Hillary and her husband were responsible for expanding and sustaining the prison industrial complex. Though Hillary says that she is dedicated to dismantling the prison system, Sanders really means it. Coates might have mentioned that.

  6. on February 21, 2016, 2:42 pm

    Absolutely right. Sanders is toast. The coward deserves it.

    One of the NY Times picks today, in a story about the Republican primary, was: “I have not met a single veteran who believes America belongs overseas, particularly in the Middle East. This explains Trump’s popularity among military personnel. He will do well in the South.”

    Sanders had no advisers telling him that? Of course he did. But he simply didn’t have the guts to criticize American empire, exposing himself for the fraud so many of us suspected he was all along.

    Get used to hearing the words: President Trump. Clinton hasn’t a chance. (a/k/a the silver lining.)

    • Lillian Rosengarten on February 22, 2016, 11:49 am

      Trump? How did that ignorant fascist get so far?

      • Mooser on February 22, 2016, 12:14 pm

        “Trump? How did that ignorant fascist get so far?”

        You might want to familiarize yourself with a very entertaining movie (started out as a play, I believe) called “The Producers”.

      • on February 22, 2016, 2:19 pm

        Alas, you’ve answered your own question, Lillian. Americans are desperate for something new. Even that.

  7. Jim Holstun on February 21, 2016, 3:09 pm

    It’s a little early to be writing Bernie off. After all, every victory that Trump gains underlines the fact that Bernie can win against him, Hillary can’t. Remember to tell all your moderate Democratic friends that, of course, we all want a DLC Wall-Street kissing interventionist thug who cackles at the sight of Qaddhafi being raped to death–but to hold off Trump, they will have to hold their noses and vote for the Democratic Socialist! (i.e., the actual New Deal liberal, as Chomsky said, but that’s not nothing). All of this “Hillary is Inevitable” rhetoric sounds like Paul Krugman. And yes, Bernie is cowardly and a trimmer in all kinds of ways, but he probably has a better chance than anyone of being able to cut off the Jewish and Democratic State.

  8. Whatt on February 21, 2016, 5:11 pm

    Good article.
    As much as I liked Sanders, he had those insurmountable voids, such as his Israel Palestine Liberal left Zionist positions of 5-6 decade vintage, his inability to grasp the importance and topicality of “black lives matter” to name two examples .
    One flabbergasting void was when he brought up Churchill as his most admired foreign leader during a recent debate question. Beside being a self inflicted wound, it does shed a light on Sanders ossified worldview, and on his insensitive attitude to the World out there that is not about European and Jewish roots. For Churchill’s legacy see this link:

    • Danaa on February 22, 2016, 3:09 pm

      I agree about the naming of Churchill. This was a serious off-note for Sanders. I could not believe he wouldn’t come up with the “safe” choice of Mandella (which Hillary exploited). To choose Churchill, who supported the colonialist rule over india almost to the bitter end, indicates to me that Sanders may not be as well-read or well-informed on foreign history and affairs as he is about domestic ones. It’s probably typical of many of his followers too, unfortunately, as much as we’d like to believe otherwise. It’s hard to blame young people (in general) for knowing so little when the MSM has been completely captured. I know from personal experience that I must make an effort to read alternative media, the only places where I find a semblance of truth about what happened in the Ukraine or in Syria or in Egypt or Libya. And the alternative media can be a minefield of its own – one has to have judgement born of experience in reading media in general to make the trek without being waylaid.

      I don’t take sanders off the hook or put all the “left” on the hook. Just pointing out the obvious – there s a serious defieciency in the educational background of Americans – young and old, left and right, male and female, when it comes to America’s role in the world, and the dire history that entailed for the people who happened to live in the wrong place at the wrong times. If anything that history has been rather “churchillian”, but most Americans, sanders apparently included, don’t even know what was it that made Churchill a bit of a controversial figure. May be some irish Americans and Indian Americans can help him out on that?

  9. Nevada Ned on February 21, 2016, 6:15 pm

    I could be wrong, but I think Trump is toast. Why? High negatives among Hispanics and many others. Even Lindsay Graham (Republican senator) thinks that Republicans will lose in November with Cruz or Trump.

    Trump is doing well in a three (or more) way race, among registered Republicans.

    But in a two-way race against Hillary? That’s a different story.

    • Atlantaiconoclast on February 21, 2016, 11:11 pm

      He is already beating her in some polls. He will bring in much more enthusiastic voters from different demographics and interests than Hillary can.

    • Danaa on February 22, 2016, 3:22 pm

      What has to be factored in for a race between hillary and Trump is the likely indifference and even antipathy of the many Sanders supporters, who have seen and are living through the total trashing of their candidate by the entire MSM, especially outlets such as NYT, PBS, NPR, MSNBC etc. That even as other, more ‘alternative’ outlets are decidedly pretending he barely exists.

      Seeing the hillary shenanigans, hearing her endless pandering, disingenuous shift ‘to the left” (which she will no doubt recant the minute it gets to the general election), and the yawning canyon of absence of anything that can be called “vision”, many supporters of sanders will, at best, cast a vote for Hillary just to stop trump, but very few will hit the pavement for her. And quite a few, myself included probably, will vote for a third candidate, like jill Stein. The defection and disillusionment of the youth vote and not a few of the not so young and not so white, is a factor that cannot now be assessed with any confidence.

      AS for trump, just you wait. If he wins the republican nomination – watch him beat a fast turn to the center, probably on many identity issues. perhaps other than immigration. He may well get the anti-war vote by many who will overlook his many other deficiencies. he will moderate his comments on muslims and latinos. He will probably take a few pages out of sanders’ book about the need to eliminate corporate campaign finance and “clean up” washington. Indeed, I predict that in a Hillary-vs-Trump we’ll see the weirdest realignments of voters we have even witnessed – with not a few Republicans holding their noses and voting for Hillary, and not a few Democrats and perhaps a majority of independents likewise holding their noses and voting for Trump.

  10. Bumblebye on February 21, 2016, 7:56 pm

    Is it possible dirty tricks (or sheer incompetence?) played some part in Hill’s win? Two videos in the following article suggest so:

  11. Kay24 on February 21, 2016, 9:27 pm

    It is unfortunate that the Democrats do not have better choices to vote for. The candidates on the GOP side are clowns and totally unqualified, and the Democrats are only slightly better.

    Not one candidate shows the spine to stand up to Israel, or even shows their interests in helping the poor Palestinians get their freedom, by threatening to stop aid and the weapons that kill unarmed civilians. They are ALL on their knees when it comes to Israel, never fails to mention at the slightest opportunity how we must protect and support it, and never, ever, takes a neutral stance on the situation. I have never seen such an ugly display of zionist love on one stage.
    We are such a joke around the world because of Trump, and it is embarrassing.

  12. kalithea on February 21, 2016, 11:12 pm

    All the candidates suck and we know it. Some are pinning their hopes on the Billionaire clown with the trophy wife. It boggles the mind that anyone can trust a word that comes out of his mouth. Everything he says is o p p o r t u n i s t i c. He wasn’t really against Iraq and the hell he thought then Bush didn’t keep everyone safe! He said these things to get Jeb out of the way! And I guess a person’s gotta have billions to get away with spewing the most racist garbage ever and still show face and come out on top. You people hanging on Trump’s word wanna live in a future police state?– Go ahead; vote Trump.

    Here’s the thing: all the candidates suck big time; the whole lot even Bernie, but if Bernie became President and outlawed special interest funding for primaries and campaigns already that would give power back to the people and maybe Americans would start to think for themselves again instead of being dictated to and fed the military, ie war is great propaganda.

    Besides, think about this? Who’s face do you want to see babbling on your 50″ inch screen for the next 4 or maybe 8 years? Do you know how painful it will be to see Trump taking up the whole 40 or 50 inches with his big fat ego for that length of time??? He’s insufferable already!

    And same goes for Hillary. As far as I’m concerned she more than overstayed her welcome as SoS, but the thought of her popping up on my cable news every day for years…I think I’ll move to Mars.

    Bernie’s a disappointment; but can he be worse than Obama??? Of course not! Obama was the monumental letdown. So now, you have Bernie that’ll be a slight improvement on Obama and what else is there? That’s the point isn’t it? Everything else is much, much worse.

    Hey, Bernie’s not so cute, but then neither is Trump; and if you want baby-face cute: you got the neoconservative protégé Rubio and that’s worst than Trump – bite my tongue. And let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater voting for a woman to break the ceiling who’s even more neocon than Rubio!

    What Bernie has going is not so much ego, and that’s tolerable to begin with, and he’s the enemy of special interests. Will Bernie be anointed by Aipac? – I don’t see it; but I can’t say I trust him when it comes to justice for Palestinians; but as I said; at least he’ll be an improvement on Obama. Obama may have a nice toothy grin; but he stabbed progressives in the back all the while flashing those pearly whites.

    So let’s tell the truth, yes – Bernie’s disappointing and he shoulda, coulda, woulda done much better had he forcefully pushed a dovish foreign policy, but, he doesn’t have Trump’s billions to mesmerize with; he doesn’t have Trump’s ginormous ego that the dumb mass mistake for strength, or the brand on his private jet that materialistic fools define as success and he doesn’t have the Clinton Machine. He’s got none of all that to protect his convictions and with the dumb masses bred on the needs of the Empire instead of the needs of the people you have to tread carefully because Hillary and her screaming bots are ready to pounce on his every word.

    So, yeah I agree he’s let some breathtaking opportunities slide to hand Hillary her neocon ass, leaving me screaming at the tube! I even mentioned them here. But I think it’s a huge mistake to throw him under the bus right now. I’m the first to say he should be challenged on Israel; and especially now he should challenged to expose the neocon in Hillary; but until the Third Party surfaces don’t throw him under the bus, because the alternatives are real shitty and that’s an understatement – they’re a threat not only to Americans but to our planet in more ways than one and that includes; I-don’t-give-a-damn-if-she’s-my-sex Hillary; when she’s an UBER NEOCON!

    If you can’t lift Bernie up because he’s a let down on foreign policy; I get that; I feel that. So then use your gift and energy to tear Hillary down in every way, cause that’ll give Bernie the boost he needs to maybe assume some risk.

    • RockyMissouri on February 22, 2016, 11:04 am

      Excellent rant!! You got me fired up!! Just what I needed to slap me out of it.

      I already voted for Bernie…!! ????????????

    • Mooser on February 22, 2016, 3:24 pm

      “kalithea”, I just swore (as I took another pour) that it was all ‘the media election before the real thing’. Now it is the real thing, and it’s gotta be the saddest, lamest, sorriest, Pres. election of my lifetime.
      So far, that is.

    • Danaa on February 22, 2016, 3:28 pm

      Good points kalithea.

      I am especially with you about the terror of seeing either a hillary in one of her many dashingly hot pink or chartreuse tops or a Trump with his mop on my TV screen. I am going to start looking seriously at new Zeland, I think, if either of those two are elected.

  13. MRW on February 22, 2016, 3:03 am

    Did dodging foreign policy doom Bernie Sanders?

    What is this hyperbole?

    Hillary won 6,238 votes in the Nevada caucuses. Sanders won 5,589.

    A difference of 649 people in a state with 3 million people where 40% are Democrats.


    10X came out for the caucus vote in 2008: 200,000+.

    This year? 11,827.

    Bernie didn’t get a ground game in Nevada until 15 weeks ago. Clinton had one since July 2015.

    • Danaa on February 22, 2016, 3:32 pm

      MRW< you may be looking at delegate numbers, not the popular vote. It can be confusing for these caucus states.

      • MRW on February 23, 2016, 7:27 am

        These are the popular vote numbers, Danaa. There are 35 delegates apportioned to the four districts of the state of NV.

      • Danaa on February 24, 2016, 12:36 pm

        I stand corrected MRW – I thought for some reason this was like Iowa, where they really did give counts of those “county delegates” rather than the popular vote. I think I just refused to believe so few people in Nevada go to caucus. But seeing the republican numbers, must now accept the unbearable lightness of democracy in Nevada.

      • Danaa on February 25, 2016, 1:25 pm

        MRW – I just saw this chart on the Nevada turnout for Dems and Repubs on Rachel maddow. The numbers definitely don’t jibe with those very low numbers in the few thousands for the Dems and just over twenty thousand for the Repubs.

        These caucuses are definitely confusing….

  14. JimMichie on February 22, 2016, 8:44 am

    WOW! Peter, you wasted no time in trashing Bernie, an all too obvious signal that you don’t and never did like him as a candidate or a person. “It is unfortunate that the Democrats do not have better choices to vote for”? Really, Peter? As Bernie would respond, “That’s a low blow,” Peter. Oh! And you accuse of Bernie being a “Zionist”? Really, Peter? Well, “Pontius Pilate”, I do believe that Bernie Sanders is practicing the Judaism that he apparently has practiced all of his life, and I believe that he would practice that same Judaism in dealing with brutal, racist, genocidal, ethnic cleansing, fascist Zionist Israel. So, Peter, please take your pessimism and flush it down the toilet! Thank you!

    • echinococcus on February 22, 2016, 10:31 pm


      Sanders is so very obviously a 60s Zionist, “Labor” aka Zionist Bloc and J-Street. The same “brutal, racist, genocidal, ethnic cleansing, fascist Zionist” folks who brought you Israel. As for “practicing the Judaism that he apparently has practiced all of his life” that would need the same thing as his non-Zionism, i.e. even a reason to dream of any kind of evidence for it.

      • Lillian Rosengarten on February 22, 2016, 11:57 pm

        Coccus, you don’t know this and your response is black and white and angry. Judaism and nationalist racist Zionist are not the same despite the propaganda minister’s attempts to make it one. Also, I do believe Bernie has something positive to offer this sad country that has fallen by the wayside in its illusions of exceptionalism and the power and greed of the 1%

      • echinococcus on February 23, 2016, 4:51 am

        Ms Rosengarten,

        Judaism and nationalist racist Zionist are not the same

        Of course they are not. The former is a religion, while the latter is a political movement.

        The unreal (and tribal or racist) construct of inherited Jewishness, on the other hand, is shared by the tribals, the Zionists, and the genocidal movement of WWII. The concept of inherited Jewishness is distinct from Zionism (as I suppose was your point) but it is a necessary condition for the creation and maintenance of Zionism. It is a conspicuous characteristic of “Jewish” tribal movements that claim to oppose Zionism while damaging the assistance to Palestinian resistance.

        There is more than enough evidence in Sanders’ record, both personal and professional, to indict him as a Zionist. His past in a Kibbutz and the positions held every time in more recent years do show adherence to the “Labor” faction of that monstrous criminal conspiracy.

  15. Boo on February 22, 2016, 10:12 am

    All this handwaving about Sanders’ candidacy being “doomed” ignores the series of predictive polls that, since the start of the year, continue to show Sanders leading any of the Three Stooges (Cruz, Rubio, Trump) by between 4-10 percentage points depending on the Stooge.

    Meanwhile, HRC’s numbers in the same polls range from 4% leads to underwater in some cases.

    Now admittedly, predictive polls at this early stage can’t be considered as determinative. But the run-to-run consistency shows they can’t merely be shrugged off and rationalized as outliers or anomalies. Rumors of Sanders’ political death are greatly exaggerated.

  16. on February 22, 2016, 1:31 pm

    I have given Bern’s campaign $100 but I have stopped there. Until he says something stronger about Israel and/or foreign policy I will remain ambivalent about his future and will withhold further financial support. I know that a lot of his fans agree with me. This article sums it all up. Well done. Bernie is just a Trojan Horse designed to suppress a lot of so-called progressives and eventually present them to Clinton is a state of submission. JStreet does the same thing for AIPAC.

  17. German Lefty on February 22, 2016, 1:41 pm

    Here’s an interesting Haaretz article:
    Bernie Sanders Reaches Out to Israelis on Facebook, Fails
    Facebook users generally responded positively to the posts, which in each language feature a silhouette of the candidate — fist raised. Israelis, though, were less impressed. (…)
    Here are a few choice examples:
    “If an old Jewish person wants criminal justice to be reformed, then he is advocating for pedophiles. As a camp counselor, I believe Zaidy Sanders is a threat for young children. Leave him to moan in the locker room, that’s where he belongs.”
    “You guys do realize that when he crashes the economy, people are gonna blame Jews? One of the reasons why we’ve done so good here is because when something goes wrong people blame the president, not the Jews. Well, what happens when the president is a Jew?”
    “But socialism increases racism and hate as it places every sector’s hand in the other’s pocket, and everyone’s hand into his friend’s pocket, which creates animosity between different groups in society.”

  18. tarheelnm on February 22, 2016, 5:32 pm

    The factual errors in this article are astonishing, coming from the highly respected Mondoweiss. Sanders did not vote for the Iraq war initially, but he did vote for continuing to fund it. Hardly an “opposition”. Further, to deem Sanders “dovish” ignores his hawkish voting record., and support of the MIC.

  19. Danaa on February 23, 2016, 12:59 am

    Re Sanders and foreign policy positions, I think that many of us who support sanders tend to forget that win or lose, Sanders will still have to represent an Empire. With all that entails. It is not that Sanders forgets that, otr that his anti-war stands, or I/P stands are weak. It’s that he doesn’t forget that because he can’t.

    The question before the people of the country is the same it’s been for many decades now – do we want to stay an empire or, more pertinently, do we, the people, even have a say on the matter?

    Yes, we all figure that when sanders rails against the lobbies that hijacked the US democratic process, he is also speaking of the military-industrial-surveillance lobby and of AIPAC and the Saudi lobby. But, as the case may be, and strangely enough, it is much safer to criticize strongly the financial lobby, the gun lobby, the oil lobby and the insurance lobbies. Because those lobbies, somehow, are part of the so-called “domestic” landscape (even though they are not). Take on the foreign policy and you deal with the Empire in all its trappings.

    And this is the saddest part of the story – that, in the end, even the best candidate, even the bravest one, cannot tackle the deep state. Ron Paul did and he is the only one who dared, and he was thoroughly marginalized, but because of that, is still out there, writing and speaking.

    Unfortunately, in the end, there will be no revolution if one is not willing to take on the Empire itself. And this is a conversation only some military people are able and willing to have because they know, in their bones and in their souls that the Empire is in decline, and as it declines it’ll corrupt everything it touches till only the dry embers of a pretend-democracy are left. Which is why so many of them support Trump. Can Trump really keep it up? can he do anything about it? would he even want to? time will tell but I suspect the Empire has its ways of co-opting him or, if need be, tripping him.

    That is what’s stopping the revolution, regardless of what Sanders true opinions are on Palestinian liberation or Syria or Russia. regardless of how strongly the anti-war camp feels.

    For myself, before I get too depressed about sanders’ real chances, I try to remember Michael hastings. No one speaks of him any longer or his suspicious demise. No one notes the strange silence of Jeremy Scahill, or the scarcity of Glenn Greenwald either. But at least they are still around and may return and do so occasionally, as often as they dare. I also try to remember that Sanders’ fight is an honorable one, and I would like to see him punch through as long as he can, even if he can’t do so on all fronts. I hope his voice will remain strong even though he may not prevail this time around, In the end of count it is the movement he helped create that should be kept alive. As hard and distressing the road ahead is likely to be.

    • Citizen on February 23, 2016, 4:58 am

      It seems, unlike Right To Rise, the Israel Lobby still is working its $/media magic on all candidates (except Jill Stein). The Bush dynasty falls, the Zionists rule on–sans any lobby opponent effective enough to make this matter public.

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