Mahatma Gandhi supposedly once said about all successful political revolutionaries that “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Gandhi was, of course, talking about his own struggle against British colonialism, but his famous line is as relevant today as it was in the 1920s or 1930s.
Case in point: how the powers-that-be and their allies in the mainstream media are responding to Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.
First, they ignored him.
Then, when Bernie started surging in the polls and they couldn’t get away with ignoring him, they laughed at him and said he was just another long-shot protest candidate.
When that didn’t work, they went on the attack, seeking to paint Bernie as bad on race, guns, and immigration.
Now the mainstream media has started going after Bernie for, you guessed, it being a “socialist.”
The man leading this line of attack is MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who first brought it up on an episode of “Hardball” Thursday night when he asked Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz the difference between a “Democrat like Hillary Clinton and a socialist like Bernie Sanders.”
Schultz couldn’t give a straight answer and flubbed the question once again when Chuck Todd asked her it on “Meet the Press” yesterday.
That’s when Chris Matthews, who was also a guest on “Meet the Press” yesterday, stepped in and gave the answer he’d been looking for all along.
The difference between socialist and Democrats, Matthews said, was that socialists want the government to control the entire economy while Democrats just want to make small reforms to the economy help out the poor.
Matthews went on to say that the reason Debbie Wasserman Schultz wasn’t making the distinction between socialists and Democrats was that she didn’t “want to offend the Bernie people.”
First things first, Chris Matthews is totally wrong about Bernie Sanders and socialism.
I know Bernie, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from years of talking to him, it’s that he’s not a socialist, or at least not the kind of socialist Chris Matthews says he is.
He’s a democratic socialist, which as he explained to George Stephanopoulos earlier this year, just means that he wants to make the US more like Scandinavia, a region, by the way, that has a flourishing market economy and is home to four of Forbes’ top 10 countries to do business in.
Got that? All Bernie Sanders wants to do is make the US more like Scandinavia. He doesn’t want the government to take over the economy. I repeat, he doesn’t want the government to take over the economy.
And that’s because state control over the economy isn’t a democratic socialist idea.
Sure, it’s a communist idea, but democratic socialists like Bernie have zero interest in Soviet-style communism.
They’re all about regulated capitalism; they just don’t want it having anything to do with the commons.
Sounds pretty harmless, right?
Not if you’re Chris Matthews.
You won’t hear this on “Fox So-Called News,” CNN, MSNBC, or any of the traditional letter networks, but the real divide in Washington isn’t between Democrats and Republicans, it’s between insiders and outsiders.
Insiders are like the mafia.
If you’ve proven your insider bonafides by not straying too far outside what DC elites think is “acceptable,” then you’re a made man who can do no wrong.
But if you do stray outside the acceptable limits of beltway opinion, and start actually calling for real change, then prepare to catch the wrath of the insider elite.
This is what’s going on right now with Chris Matthews’ Bernie Sanders socialism obsession.
Bernie is one of the few true outsiders in DC politics, and his success terrifies career insiders like Chris Matthews because it threatens all the power and influence they’ve gobbled up over the years.
Insiders vs. outsiders – it really is as simple as that.
And that’s something everyone needs to remember as the 2016 presidential campaign moves forward, because the attacks aren’t just going to come from the right – they’re going to come from all over the place from insiders who want to keep the status quo in place and their multi-million dollar paychecks coming.