Bernie Sanders Is Like the Brooklyn Dodgers

When I was 12 years old the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn. Why this mattered to me, growing up in South Alabama, I don't really know. But I and my friends listened to the World Series on the radio, and my best friends and I adored "Dem Bums" even though they had a way of losing. They had an extraordinary lineup of players, and when they won, they won big, and when they lost it broke our hearts. I got used to people like Mickey Mantle hitting home runs against them, but the day Duke Snyder made that catch in center field, clinching the game for us, I declared him once and for all "my favorite Brooklyn Dodger."

I think Bernie Sanders has some of the same appeal. His followers like the way he plays the game even if his batting average is less than a thousand. They like his rough exterior, and they know he has enough heart for a whole world series.

There was a Bernie Clean Air Rally in my town Saturday afternoon. I joined my daughter (age 53) there and we were joined by her 21-year-old son. It was a remarkable event. Probably 2,000 people showed up. There was music, there were brilliant speakers, and even my cynical grandson came away exhilarated. The talk was all about Bernie's stands on the environment--climate change, clean water, fracking and other issues such as Native American rights. There was a dynamic young black emcee, a Cherokee woman who talked about how she and her tribe had been welcomed into the Sanders camp, Bill McKibbon joined us by video, and a few other women, including a local environmental activist, roused us like cheerleaders as we all waved signs and occasionally screamed with joy. I had never attended anything like it. It was clear that, even if Bernie doesn't win New York State, he is the leader of a movement that will not be over when the election is decided. There is too much to be done, and too many with the energy to let it pass once again.

The next morning I saw a 30-second clip of the event on local television, and a passing mention of the rally. That evening there was coverage of a rally for Hillary Clinton, with interviews with Cecile Richards, looking listless and weary and imploring the audience not to allow the Republicans to undo the work of Planned Parenthood. The camera scanned the crowd which looked to be fewer than 20 people. All those interviewed appeared dreary and cynical. Then the announcer said, "Bernie Sanders also had a rally here on Saturday."

It's pretty clear this race is almost over. The Dodgers are about to leave Brooklyn (by the way, when the Dodgers did leave Brooklyn I lost all interest in baseball). But this one is going to have a different ending.

Stay tuned.

Views: 345

Comment by Zanelle on April 11, 2016 at 5:52am

I hope he wins and wonder at a third party run for him.   So interesting that the news had such a slant on what you really saw.  Thanks for this post.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on April 11, 2016 at 6:12am

Perhaps Sandy K will run?   :)

Comment by koshersalaami on April 11, 2016 at 7:00am

If he did, at least we'd get a Jew who takes Yom Kippur off.

In terms of rallies, Bernie has been eclipsing Hillary for months and months. It looked for a long time like that wouldn't make a difference. But I'm not so sure any more. Bernie has won what, eight of the last nine primaries/caucuses? 

There's another really strange aspect of this election: the radical has the best shot at being a unifier, including with the Right. This is bizarre. 

Earlier in the campaign, Ron Paul called him the most Libertarian candidate. Now comes what may be a bigger surprise: An assessment that Bernie is, based on his record, the best candidate for veterans came from the most influential voice on that topic: John McCain. If the Republicans don't manage to nominate Paul Ryan at a brokered convention, you're looking at a whole lot of Republicans in Congress who absolutely despise both Trump and Cruz, but they don't personally despise Bernie at all. And, if Trump doesn't get the nomination and his followers go looking for another outsider, because that's why they followed him in the first place, for a whole lot of them their number two pick is Bernie, not another Republican. Hillary doesn't pick up that support at all but Bernie does. 

If Bernie gets the nomination, we could be looking at a landslide. In a turn of events that is insanely unexpected, Bernie's socialism could turn out to be an asset in a general election because of his outsider status. Unlike Trump, Bernie has outsider status while having a lot of experience working with Republican Senators and Congressmen, as you can see by McCain's assessment. 

We could also be looking at an election that does not center around the lesser of two evils - vote for Bernie because as an alternative he beats Trump/Cruz/Ryan, but because the people agree with him on a lot of his issue stands and because he's earned way more trust than anyone else in the race. 

There's another factor about Bernie I really haven't looked at before: 

If you poll Americans, you find the majority want a lot of things that Congress doesn't give them because the US Government is functioning mostly as an oligarchy now. The public wants way more action about the corporations and individuals who damned near sunk our economy than anyone in politics has been willing to give them. The public is more environmentalist than the government is. The public backs Social Security more than a lot of their representatives do. The public hates all this concentration of wealth at the top that Congress and the President have done way too little in terms of policy to stop and reverse. 

And suddenly a Presidential candidate genuinely agrees with the public? Without saying "Yes, But.." every two minutes? 

Not only that, but there is ZERO pandering in his agreement. On the contrary, he's running because of his views, that just so happen to match up with those of the public better than those of his competition. He's just less inclined to take excuses.

Corporations have too much influence? OK, I won't accept their campaign contributions. How's that?

That can't possibly work. Except he's outraising Hillary at the moment. 

If he gets the nomination and he has the coattails I think he has, God help the Republicans in this upcoming election. And I think this works either way: If Trump get the nomination, there will be a lot of Republicans in the Republican mainstream who won't want to touch him and will stay home. If Trump doesn't get the nomination, a lot of the fringe Republicans who don't stay home will cross over, the mirror image of Reagan Democrats. 

And there's this weird other factor: Even though the NRA hates his voting record, crossover Republican voters who want to hold onto their guns see Bernie as a guy who is inclined to protect their rights. This whole Newtown thing which may work against Bernie in the primaries works powerfully for him in the general election. 

Comment by Mary Lois Adshead on April 11, 2016 at 7:32am

Great comment, kosh! I wish I could be as optimistic as you are, but in my heart of hearts I feel that Hillary's had this nomination in the bag since Day One--before, even. She's convinced black voters that she cares for them, she's curried favor with the party officials, and she's locked up the Super Delegates. Never mind that she's a lousy campaigner and will be reluctant to change anything when elected. She has tried to paint that as a strength and there are a lot of low-information voters out there. Bernie means "revolution" and that scares the hell out of the Establishment. I do think he'd win in a landslide IF he got the nomination, but I don't think there's much of a chance he will. I was heartened at the Clean Energy Rally, nevertheless. It showed me that he doesn't have to win to effect the change we all want. He has started a movement. And there may be some time left for the planet if we all work with him whether or not he wins.

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on April 11, 2016 at 7:44am

LOL.  KS' comment made me chuckle.

A few years ago, on Open Salon, I was expound on the people needing to support the Green Party, Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders.  KS and several others told me that I was out of my freakin mind, was going to bring on the apocalypse and was a very bad person for NOT supporting the Democratic nominee.  

It's nice to see that people can actually "evolve".  (but I also wonder how much of it reflects bandwagon/fairweather "Brooklyn Dodger" fans supporting a possible "Pennant" winner, vs. being a diehard "Cubs" fan like me who knows their club doesn't have a chance but supports them anyways) 

Comment by Mary Lois Adshead on April 11, 2016 at 8:03am

I'll vote Green (Jill Stein very popular here) if Bernie isn't the Democratic nominee and it looks like Hillary might actually lose. I expect it to be landslide for the Democrats even with Hillary at the helm. I just don't think she'll do much but hold the place--and there is that all-important SCOTUS vacancy, and others possibly. I don't see how Trump or Cruz could bring anything but a landslide to whoever is the Democrat.

Comment by JMac1949 Today on April 11, 2016 at 8:23am

Beauty of living in California is that when it comes to the general election, you can vote for however you chose with a clear conscience... Dems will almost always win California.  Even though I have to dump my Green registration, I'm still gonna vote for Bernie in the primary.

Comment by Myriad on April 11, 2016 at 10:01am

Thing is, if Sanders wins just how will he institute this "revolution"?  Does he have coattails sufficient to dislodge the nasty stubborn Republican hold on Congress?

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on April 11, 2016 at 10:22am

Thing is, if Sanders wins just how will he institute this "revolution"?  Does he have coattails sufficient to dislodge the nasty stubborn Republican hold on Congress?

First of all, why is EVERYBODY all wrapped up over the word "revolution"?  It is not a damn bit difference than Obama's "Hope and Change" or Hillary's "Working for Change".

Secondly, Sanders just might have the coat tails.  There are a bunch of people sick of this crap and once they take the "big step" of voting for a "social democrat" it isn't too far towards "throw the bums out and start over".

The good news about ^^THAT^^ is that he might get 5-6 Green Party candidates elected too.  That would have an amazing effect on the balance of power, especially in the Senate.

Comment by Zanelle on April 11, 2016 at 11:12am

Trump sure has big rallies...I wonder if they are the biggest of all.  Maybe it will all spill over into the streets.

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