The Berniegeddon is upon us! It’s France falling to the Nazis in World War II! It’s the Russians! It’s the end of everything! Flee! Flee for your lives!
Sorry about that. Just trying out for a talking head guest spot on MSNBC.
Vermont senator and Brooklyn native Bernie Sanders ate like a big dog in Nevada last night. At the time of this writing, with 60 percent of the vote tallied, Sanders is pulling down a mighty 46.0 percent. His closest rival, Joe Biden, is a dust speck in the rear view at 19.6 percent, a whopping 26 points behind.
Pete Buttigieg is currently at 15.3 percent in Nevada, and Elizabeth Warren is at 10.1 percent. Amy Klobuchar stands at a dismal 4.8 percent, Tom Steyer is at worse at 4.1 percent, and Tulsi Gabbard is limping in at 0.1 percent.
Sanders won every county in the top half of the state except Pershing, from the Oregon/Idaho border all the way down to Carson City and across the state to Ely. He won Las Vegas and the surround in the southern tip.
Sanders dominated the Nevada Caucus in more sub-categories than I have space to list. According to the entrance polls, Sanders won every age demographic — 17 to 29, 30 to 44, 45 to 64 — save one: The 65 and older set broke for Biden. Sanders captured a majority of votes from Nevada’s Latinx voters, white voters, union households, non-union households, voters with college degrees, voters without college degrees, Democrats, Independents, women and men. He received 27 percent of votes from Black voters (more than all other candidates except for Biden, who received 39 percent). And importantly to his overall campaign strategy, Sanders won the votes of a large number of first-time caucus-goers.
The delegate count will not be released until all the numbers are in, but Sanders is on track to emerge with a clear plurality. This remains largely meaningless three states into the contest, but with the South Carolina primary and the mega-vote on Super Tuesday taking place within the next nine days, Sanders has an opportunity to make himself nigh unstoppable if his momentum holds.
Former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe went on MSNBC to break down the race as it currently stands. “If it’s March 3rd,” he said, “and we’re talking about Klobuchar, Buttigieg, Warren, Biden, Bloomberg, and Sanders, and everybody’s in, Bernie’s going to win almost all the delegates he needs to build an impenetrable delegate lead. That’s just math. It’s not my opinion, it’s just simple math.”
Plouffe’s sober assessment of the state of the race, combined with Sanders’s resounding Nevada victory, had a strange and terrible effect on the minds of a number of MSNBC regulars. No longer content to ignore or dismiss Sanders’s status as frontrunner, that network’s top names spent the bulk of Saturday evening in a state of near panic, weaving a tapestry of impending doom out of literal Nazi analogies and Russia scaremongering.
“Right now, it’s about 1:15 Moscow time,” said James Carville, the longtime Democratic establishment strategist and occasional Gollum impersonator. “This thing is going very well for Vladimir Putin. I promise you. He’s probably staying up watching this right now. How you doing, Vlad?”
MSNBC Host Joy Reid, for her part, smashed the panic button straight through the table in a breathless aria for the ages regarding the seeming menace of Sanders supporters in the face of puddle-bound Democratic establishment candidates.
“They’re turning the tables over and they don’t care what the potential result is,” said Reid of Sanders voters:
They’re the hungriest. He only had to consolidate them, and the moderates, the sort of mushy moderates, think that they have the luxury of luxuriating on whether they’ll have someone who can speak six languages, you know, maybe today I want this woman who’s from the Midwest and, you know, maybe I’ll go with the vice president…. No one is as hungry, angry, enraged and determined as Sanders voters. Democrats need to sober up and figure out what the hell they are going to do about it.
On Friday, Dr. Jason Johnson, another regular MSNBC contributor, went on SiriusXM’s The Karen Hunter Show earlier this week and referred to Black women who have appeared in the media to support Sanders’s campaign as “the island of misfit black girls.” The group of women to which he was referring includes Barbara Smith — the respected Black feminist critic who co-founded the Combahee River Collective and coined the term “identity politics” — and Nina Turner, the Ohio politician who is now national co-chair of the Sanders campaign.
Sanders’s national press secretary, Briahna Joy Gray, offered this response:
I hope we can have political disputes without engaging in open racism and sexism. This misogynoir is disappointing, but not surprising from @DrJasonJohnson.
— Briahna Joy Gray (@briebriejoy) February 21, 2020
On Saturday, Johnson apologized for the remark.
Meanwhile, Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC host and former press secretary to George W. Bush, went scratching for whatever wildly discredited anti-Sanders rocks she could throw, arguing that Sanders “hasn’t been vetted by either the press or the other candidates.”
Apparently, Wallace is unaware — or is pretending to be unaware — of the decades during which Sanders has served in politics, and his presidential primary run against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment in 2016. If that isn’t “vetted,” then nothing is.
But it was MSNBC’s own human weathervane, Chris Matthews, who took home the prize for Most Offensive Anti-Bernie Slander on Saturday night. “I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940,” he lamented, “and the general, Reynaud, calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over.’ And Churchill says ‘How can it be? You’ve got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over?’ He said, ‘It’s over.’ So I had that suppressed feeling.”
Suppressed feeling? Not so much, Chris. By Sunday morning, #FireChrisMatthews” was the top trending topic on Twitter.
The Sanders campaign’s communications director, Mike Casca, responded with somber astonishment that a national news network would liken the campaign of a Jewish presidential candidate to the Third Reich:
never thought part of my job would be pleading with a national news network to stop likening the campaign of a jewish presidential candidate whose family was wiped out by the nazis to the third reich.
but here we are. https://t.co/2G1bqZ6bkI
— mike casca (@cascamike) February 22, 2020
I expect Sanders’s opponents to say ridiculous things as they watch him pull away. It’s primary season; if you’re losing and still acting reasonable, you aren’t trying hard enough. But to watch MSNBC, the so-called “liberal” network, sink into this kind of venomous Fox News-worthy nonsense is a bright, blinking warning light for the entire institution of U.S. journalism.
The establishment wing of the Democratic Party and its cohort of faux-progressive media mouthpieces have been confronted by their own senescence after so many decades of poorly managed control, and they are not liking the taste of it. Even if they manage to thwart Sanders’s nomination with brazenly undemocratic power moves at the convention, the party will never be the same after 2016 and this year’s elections. The writing is on the wall, and it is making them scream on live television.
The dinosaurs have seen the meteor, and it’s coming by way of Brooklyn and Vermont.