You can hardly see Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on TV without hearing the words “income and wealth inequality” and “millions of good jobs”.
But listen carefully to what else he says: “Don’t underestimate me.” The reason why?
Revolution Messaging. It sounds like the name of a comic book distributor but it is made up of four key players in Barack Obama’s enviable 2008 social media push. Significantly, it included Obama’s campaign videographer, who became America’s first White House videographer. That guy understands that dominating video online beats all the TV ads and televised debates and newspaper editor endorsements of traditional campaigning. This is no longer up for debate, Barack Obama’s videos and his social media team made the key difference in 2008 and 2012. If you disagree, you are living a decade in the past, my friend. That’s that.
Bernie’s fan-base and nationwide supporters are not all new. The self-identified Socialist who is running for President as a Democrat has been courted to run for President before, always bowing out candidly. Why 2016?
While the beltway can only say “This chart says” and “these polls say” and “why experts say…that Bernie Sanders isn’t a serious candidate”, we will remember that at this stage of the 2008 cycle, the same beltway was calling for Barack Obama to bow out because as great as he sounded, he could never stand a chance against the Clinton family political machine. And unlike Trump or Jeb or the rest of the Republican clown-car of show-boaters, Sanders is playing this one smart by playing up his position as the underdog and that has me convinced that he means business in this election because that is exactly how Obama played the same game in the 2008 primary and in both general elections.
Sanders’ political strategists are smart because they are banking on being able to use the 2008 Hillary campaign to predict what she has learned about negative ads. One of the reasons that Barack Obama pulled ahead in the race in 2008 was that he took the high road when Hillary started talking shit about him. She won’t make that mistake again. Especially with how generous Sanders has been with lavishing her with compliments and making her out to be his old chum, if Hillary starts to break him down she will look ungrateful and disloyal – traits that make a Democrat very unlikeable.
At this rate, Hillary can only ask her friends in the Beltway to start tearing Sanders down for her and that is precisely what appears to be happening. But she, personally, is going to have to embrace him and appear to encourage him if she wants a prayer of rocking the vote and encouraging canvassers in the Spring as Primary season comes to a close.
Sanders is already convincing his progressive friends in the media to help him to push for early primary debates that invite Republicans into the mix and debate between both parties and the idea has the right people intrigued. Again, this is brilliant because if Hillary bows out at a chance of such a debate, her strong Conservative DINO supporters will start to ask which Republican has her scared. Certainly she isn’t afraid of Bernie.
But if she does take the debate podium, she walks into a lion’s den of people who can break her down while Sanders plays her friend. This is a good move because Sanders is cool under pressure with the opposite party. Hillary is not.
Sanders is a fun and powerful orator, Hillary is not.
Sanders is hitting Hillary’s 2008 primary states like Texas and making early in-roads where Hillary is trying to play the Republican fundraising game behind closed doors, losing ground to Bernie all the while.
Lastly: young and animated voters who showed up for Obama in 2008 and 2012 are buzzing with a new passion – killing Citizens United. Ultimately, Obama caved and took the SuperPAC money but did so under duress. These younger voters want a candidate who has the gumption to actually stand on the principle. That’s not Hillary. That’s Bernie.