William Rivers Pitt | Naked Politics: Sanders, Clinton and How to Win When You’re Losing

First, the bare facts: Hillary Clinton won Kentucky by 1,923 votes as of the most recent accounting — MSNBC is calling her the “Assumed Winner,” a new term in the campaign coverage lexicon — and Bernie Sanders won Oregon by close to 10 points with no assumptions involved.

In the world of gambling, they call this a “push.” In short, Tuesday was a tie, though Clinton gained enough new delegates to snuggle up close to the finish line of nomination completion. Sanders has to run the table from here on out and win every contest in a staggering rout to gain the nomination, and that’s not going to happen. On the Republican side, Donald Trump won Oregon by 12 billion points against two guys who aren’t in the race anymore. He didn’t even bother to give a victory speech, but it’s gonna be great folks, trust me, it’s gonna be great.

Now to the hard part: context and consequences. Bernie Sanders is doomed in this contest. That sucks on a wide variety of levels. It sucks generationally because no presidential candidate since Robert Kennedy has done what Sanders has done these last months. He has inspired those who think politics is for old people and suckers to shed their cynicism and knock on doors, make phone calls to potential voters and believe they can actually make a difference in a profoundly bent political system. He has told the kind of truths about the state of this nation that are seldom heard, but are as necessary to this nation as penicillin is to the immune system when a lethal infection has taken root.

For more original Truthout election coverage, check out our election section, “Beyond the Sound Bites: Election 2016.”

For his trouble, Sanders gets called a “thug” on live TV. I’ve been watching politically oriented television “news” programming with dreary regularity since Reagan was elected in 1980, and I’ve never seen anything like what I saw on Tuesday. MSNBC — the ha ha ha “liberal” news network — went to work on the Sanders campaign as if Bernie had shot Rachel Maddow’s dog in her front yard. It went on for hours. The crux of it centered around the mess that went down at the Nevada Democratic Convention this past weekend. The process of appointing delegates from the Nevada caucus was hijacked by Clinton surrogates in broad daylight, and some Sanders people flipped their lids. According to the Sanders campaign:

The chair of the convention announced that the convention rules passed on voice vote, when the vote was a clear no-vote. At the very least, the Chair should have allowed for a headcount.

The chair allowed its Credentials Committee to en mass rule that 64 delegates were ineligible without offering an opportunity for 58 of them to be heard. That decision enabled the Clinton campaign to end up with a 30-vote majority.

The chair refused to acknowledge any motions made from the floor or allow votes on them.

The chair refused to accept any petitions for amendments to the rules that were properly submitted.

Some idiots allegedly threw chairs (a disputed claim) and made threatening phone calls to the officials in charge of this farce after the deal went down, which was stupid and wrong. The very people trying to stand up for the Sanders campaign wound up stabbing their candidate under the fifth rib by giving the media fodder for slandering him, but they were justifiably pissed because it was a bag job under bright lights right there on the stage. MSNBC, which like most every other “news” network is drooling over the idea of a Trump v. Clinton contest, immediately went into battle mode as if the Sanders people had machine-gunned a home for lost kittens. BREAKING NEWS: Sanders Supporters Have Penchant For Violence; Officials Cower In Terror As Residents Flee. The media blitz went on for hours, and is ongoing as we speak.

It was remorseless, relentless “coverage” that entirely overshadowed what actually went down in Las Vegas. The Sanders campaign got jobbed by Clinton allies within the Nevada Democratic Party who didn’t even have the humility to do it out of sight; they stood at a podium and flipped the bird at a room filled with cameras and people who actually care about something beyond keeping their cushy sinecure within the Party. Some of those people freaked out and acted stupidly, but ask yourself: If you were in the room in 2000 when the Supreme Court decided to give the election to Bush, what would you have done? I might have thrown a chair, too.

Bernie Sanders, when confronted with accusations that his supporters were violent criminals, did not back down:

Within the last few days there have been a number of criticisms made against my campaign organization. Party leaders in Nevada, for example, claim that the Sanders campaign has a ‘penchant for violence.’ That is nonsense. Our campaign has held giant rallies all across this country, including in high-crime areas, and there have been zero reports of violence. Our campaign of course believes in non-violent change and it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals. But, when we speak of violence, I should add here that months ago, during the Nevada campaign, shots were fired into my campaign office in Nevada and apartment housing complex my campaign staff lived in was broken into and ransacked.

If the Democratic Party is to be successful in November, it is imperative that all state parties treat our campaign supporters with fairness and the respect that they have earned. I am happy to say that has been the case at state conventions in Maine, Alaska, Colorado and Hawaii where good discussions were held and democratic decisions were reached. Unfortunately, that was not the case at the Nevada convention. At that convention the Democratic leadership used its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place.

MSNBC and the other networks took that “penchant for violence” quote from the Nevada Democratic Party and jumped on it like hungry dogs going after a soup bone. Constant, vivid, inexcusable violence at Trump rallies is good television. A few screwed Sanders supporters crashing the fence and being stupid? Armageddon, on the hour every hour, with “These Sanders supporters did this stuff, let’s ask a Clinton advocate what they think.” Sanders was omitted from the conversation. If no chairs had been (allegedly!) thrown, he wouldn’t have been part of the broadcast. The bias was that dramatically obvious.

Noam Chomsky has spoken for years and at length about the means by which entrenched power narrows the debate. “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient,” he said, “is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” Bernie Sanders scares the hell out of the Establishment, and the manner in which its media mouthpieces cover this sham of an election in order to shove him and his supporters into the woods is as obvious as it is filthy. Sanders is being shamed for what went down in Las Vegas, but Vegas will tell you all you need to know about how easy it is to run the table when the fix is in.