Monday, December 16, 2019


While you weren't looking, Bernie Sanders surged to second place in the Democratic presidential contest.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders lead the crowded Democratic field, pulling in together about half of the support of Democratic voters and Democratic-leaning independents, according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

Biden leads with 24%, followed closely by Sanders at 22%. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is third with 17%, followed by South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 13%, all together making up a clear top tier of four candidates.
Here's a statistic that made me do a double take when I heard it on the radio this morning:
... Sanders is the candidate who narrowly leads with nonwhite voters, 29% to 26%, over Biden. This might be because of Sanders' strength with younger voters of color and Latinos.
The survey doesn't provide separate percentages for black and Hispanic voters. But it's still remarkable that Sanders is doing as well as he is among non-whites overall, given his 2016 reputation as a candidate with a white-only base.

Sanders is in second place, trailing Biden, in nearly every national poll conducted this month. He's three points behind Pete Buttigieg in the Real Clear Politics average of Iowa polls, he leads in New Hampshire, he reduced Biden's lead to single digits in the latest Post and Courier poll of South Carolina, and he's only a point behind Biden in the latest CNN poll of California. (UPDATE: In a new KQED/NPR poll, Sanders leads by 3 in California.)

So where's the massive media campaign to discredit Sanders? We saw what happened to Elizabeth Warren in recent weeks. Where are the handwringing New York Times op-eds and Morning Joe denunciations of Bernie? I assume they're coming, but I thought they'd already be ubiquitous by now.

It's as if the ascent of Sanders is still under the radar. Either that or the powers that be aren't sure how to scare his voters. (Many of Warren voters are older people who trust the Times and other mainstream media outlets, and thus were easier to terrify with scare stories of a second Trump win caused by Medicare for All.)

Unless Sanders fades again, the assault on him is coming -- but it might not happen until he wins (or nearly wins) a state.

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