Today is the Nevada caucus, an exciting day in the dead heat race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. This potentially pivotal first-in-the-west caucus, and the media attention afforded Sanders topping Clinton in a national poll (FOX) for the first time on Thursday (followed by a confirming Quinnipiac national poll on Friday) guarantees all eyes will be following this race closely
The other big news is the explosive controversy over Sanders’s lifelong commitment to racial justice. The Chicago Tribune yesterday published an archival photo of Sanders being arrested as a young civil rights activist, demonstrating his 50- plus year commitment to racial justice (more below). That news was followed by charges that the Clinton campaign did push polling, in Nevada, where 30% of the electorate is minority voters, making for a thrilling weekend in politics.
Sanders rallies have taken on a spirit of their own, or so the story goes. Last night in Henderson, right outside Las Vegas, ABC News reports the Sanders final caucus-eve rally “took the form of a lively concert” after a long day of campaigning:
Sanders joined the artists and musicians onstage for a live rendition of “This Land is Your Land” …. Sanders grinned ear-to-ear as his wife Jane danced across the stage. The 74-year-old seemed as comfortable as ever.
And if there was ever a reason to feel comfortable –take a look at the Quinnipiac University graphic and poll released this week:
Both Sanders and Clinton have reached new favorability highs and lows respectively in matchups with GOP contenders. Sanders outpolls Trump 48 – 42 percent; and tops the rest by wide 8-10% margins, whereas Clinton only edges past Trump by a slight 1% margin and it’s downhill after that, losing out to Cruz, Rubio, Bush and Kasich.
Reportedly, a new Colorado poll (described as an earthquake) shows Clinton’s lead has evaporated in that state, giving Sanders a 5 point lead ahead of the state’s caucuses on March 1.
Are people taking Sanders seriously yet? Here’s Morning Joe Thursday morning astounded that Clinton booked a rally in Texas tonight and won’t be sticking around Nevada for the caucus results. Hear the commentators acknowledge that media has concentrated on the GOP race because of Trump and only now are waking up to the fact the Dem race “is a huge story.” Huffpo political reporter Sam Stein weighs in, “Her campaign has consistently underestimated just how hard this election is going to be against Bernie Sanders”. Maybe the media has too:
Plus, ABC News reports the Clinton campaign got snagged with an audio recording push polling in Nevada. The campaign is denying it but it smacks of desperation.
Now for the explosive news. Take a look at this video the Chicago Tribune included in their breaking news story yesterday announcing Sanders’ arrest: “In the mid-1960s, protests over segregation in the area raged over mobile classrooms dubbed ‘Willis Wagons,’ — trailers that Willis set up for black children instead of sending them to white schools”:
The accompanying black-and-white photo (top of this article) found in the Tribune’s archives, “shows a 21-year-old Sanders, then a University of Chicago student, being taken by Chicago police toward a police wagon. An acetate negative of the photo was found in the Tribune’s archives, said Marianne Mather, a Chicago Tribune photo editor.”
The importance of this evidence proving Sanders’ activism for racial justice cannot be underscored enough. It follows months of misrepresentation surrounding a now famous 1962 photograph of Sanders by renowned civil rights photographer and filmmaker Danny Lyon, leading a sit in addressing CORE [Congress of Racial Equality] activists inside the University of Chicago’s administration building. The photograph has faced scrutiny since TIME magazine stated that it was “not in fact a photograph of Sanders” — and University of Chicago Library’s Special Research Center caved to pressure and changed their archives, removing Sanders’s name from the photo.
The discovery by Tribune’s archivists of Sanders’s arrest in August 1963 should lay to rest rumors his history of activism is untrue or exaggerated. The Tribune:
A Chicago Tribune archival photo of a young man being arrested in 1963 at a South Side protest is Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, his campaign has confirmed, bolstering the candidate’s narrative about his civil rights activism….
“Bernie identified it himself,” said Tad Devine, a senior adviser to the campaign, adding that Sanders looked at a digital image of the photo. “He looked at it — he actually has his student ID from the University of Chicago in his wallet — and he said, ‘Yes, that indeed is (me).'” Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, was traveling Friday near Reno, Nev., on the eve of the state’s Democratic presidential caucuses.
Sanders’ activism at the University of Chicago has been in the news recently, after questions arose about a different photo that appeared to show Sanders addressing students at a 1962 campus sit-in. At first, several alumni identified the speaker as another man, according to the University of Chicago Library’s Special Research Center. The other man is no longer alive.
However, photographer Danny Lyon, who took that photo, contacted the research center and made available more photos from the same sequence, confirming Sanders’ identity, the center said……
Information with the negative indicated that the Tribune arrest photo was taken in August 1963 near South 73rd Street and Lowe Avenue, which is in the Englewood neighborhood.
The smears against Sanders were not merely online squabbles between Sanders and Clinton camps. They included a member of the Washington Post’s editorial board Jonathan Capehart, who seems to have taken a personal interest in proving Bernie Sanders is not who he says he is. Capehart’s Feb.11 op-ed “Stop sending around this photo of ‘Bernie Sanders’” claimed Sanders “only existed in spirit” as an activist CORE leader at the University of Chicago in the 60’s; and thus far Capeheart has not retracted the slam. A man on a mission, Capehart claimed just two days ago Sanders was “trying to say that he’s been in the trenches fighting for us, fighting for civil rights, that’s not Bernie Sanders”:
— Tanner (@mountainsol) February 19, 2016
This news breaking on the eve of Nevada’s caucus, Sanders having just won the backing of the Clark County Black Caucus in Nevada’s largest county, should give him a big boost today and hopefully lay to rest all these rumors denying Sander’s long record supporting civil rights prior to Super Tuesday.