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California feels the Bern!

Illustration for article titled California feels the Bern!

Sanders Rally at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, August 9, 2015

Recent polling of likely California Democratic primary voters (as reported in The Forward) now has Bernie Sanders statistically close to neck and neck with Hillary Clinton. Since May, when Clinton polled at 67%, her support has dropped to 47%, and Sanders, who polled at <10% in May has absorbed all that support and more, and is now polling at 37% (there is a +/- 5 point margin of error).

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Clinton gleefully satirized her very-late-to-the-party support of gay marriage on SNL this weekend, but Sanders has supported it for decades. Similarly, while Sanders has been opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, Clinton has supported it for years - until yesterday (!), when she decided to come out against it.

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I’m certainly not opposed to anyone growing into an enlightened position, as Clinton seems to do time and again. But when you have a presumptive nominee, the ostensible leading candidate, continually following a genuine thought leader, more and more voters are recognizing it and opting for the authentic over the convenient.

This year’s primary seems to have a pattern: Bernie speaks out, Bernie goes up in the polls, Hillary echoes Bernie’s position - and is seen as jumping on a bandwagon.

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Meanwhile, media coverage of the phenomenon has been scant (often a 5 second mention, after half an hour (TV/Radio) or a paragraph in a four column article about Trump and/or Clinton (print/online). The reason for this is obvious: Sanders has campaign finance reform as a top priority to save democracy. Where does the $2billion routinely spent on Presidential elections go? Advertising - on TV, Radio, Print media, and online. Bernie Sanders (and to a negligible audience, Lawrence Lessig) have made the elimination of this quadrennial media jackpot a key campaign issue. And that’s why stories like this don’t get the banner headline coverage they deserve; without the present state of big money, the biggest losers stand to be media conglomerates.

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