At the moment, we are stuck in the middle of what Lee Camp, who runs an amusing spoof news programme on the Russian TV site RT, calls “a festival of corporate propaganda” as the mainstream media, electronic and in print, reveals its naked biases in the Democratic primary race between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
After the debate before the Michigan primary every one of about six polls that were taken declared that in the general opinion Sanders won hands down. Yet the media kept insisting that Clinton “dominated” the debate. And within 16 hours of the end of the debate the Washington Post (now owned by Jeff Bezos, the Amazon guy) published 16 articles that were critical of, and some of them hostile to Sanders.
My son, who lives in Austin, Texas, had been telling me for months that Bernie was speaking to huge crowds everywhere he went, had been gathering in immense sums of money contributed by small donors, millions of them, and yet all of this, though reported on what is now called social media, had gone unremarked by the mainstream media.
In addition, the mainstream reporters have not shrunk from telling bare-faced lies about the delegate count. They have become accustomed to counting the so-called Superdelegates, that is, the hundreds of Democratic party officials who are given a free ride to the convention, where they are free to support whoever they like, on Hillary’s total. Without them, of course, Bernie is within 200 delegates of Hillary and with only 28 per cent of the total population so far consulted, clearly he is within striking distance of the frontrunner. States with huge populations such as California, Ohio, Illinois and New York have yet to utter, and the fact is Hillary’s victories so far have, with the exception of Massachusetts where she won a narrow victory, all been shored up by the black vote, and there are few states left where the black vote will be decisive in the result.
The Clinton campaign has been unexciting so far: she seems to have been repeating all the mistakes that cost her the nomination to Barack Obama in 2008, when, incidentally, seeing the way things were moving, the Superdelegates deserted her in droves at the convention.
Another impressive element in how this race is being reported, to my way of thinking, is the totally inappropriate and tendentious tendency of mainstream reports to say Sanders’ proposals are naïve, impossible of realization, and beyond the ability of the nation to pay for. One has only to recall that the wage packets of middle-class and working class Americans have remained the same for the last forty years, leaving them struggling to kee their heads above water, while the super rich have risen to obscene levels of wealth, to understand how far from naïve are Bernie’s policies. He wants everyone to be covered by a single-payer health scheme, as in almost every other major country on earth; he proposes a $15 minimum wage rate, that would lift hundreds of thousands of service workers out of poverty; he opposes welfare for the rich, for the corporations, and has always done so during his 40-year career as an active politician. And another of his maor planks is to reform the corrupt system for election financing that has enabled the wealthowners to buy control of major politicians. In fact, beside Bernie’s dogged pursuit of an equalized society, Hillary’s proclamations of how progressive she is, how she has always worked to support progressive legislation, how she was the first to warn Wall street they had to mend their ways, and so on, ring more and more hollow the more often one hears them. It is not just a smear, as Hillary says it is, to say that she is the Wall Street candidate.
A good number of black intellectuals have not hesitated to approve Bernie’s candidature, and it is a wonder to a far-off observer than the majority of black voters have not been able to see that all of Bernie’s policies when put into place would immensely benefit them.
The one thing I don’t especially like is how Bernie keeps talking about how he is creating a revolution. By any measure it cannot be called a revolution: rather he is harkening back to the New Deal days of FDR. Although he has been accused of being vague and unconvincing on foreign policy, I don’t find him particularly so: indeed, he voted against the Iraq war, and has a clean record of opposing most of the aggressive actions taken by the United States in recent years as it has pursued it self-appointed role as the world’s policeman.
It seems almost too much to hope that he could win. But what one can say is that if he doesn’t the United States is destined to keep on doing what it has been doing with such deleterious results everywhere in the world. One thing that everyone knows is that this election is one of unusual importance. And that will be proven should, perchance, Donald Trump win and become President. Bernie’s candidature, equally, suggests the hope, the faint hope perhaps, that a new path could be forged for his great country.
Of course, such hopes exist to be disappointed, as we all know from the experience of Barack Obama, the first black president, in whose watch the conditions of African-Americans have, disappointingly on the whole, deteriorated.