VIDEO LOSS

a blog about politics, the media, and culture by tom bunting, a Real Journalist

Politics

The significance of Ocasio-Cortez endorsing Sanders

The significance of Ocasio-Cortez endorsing Sanders

The significance of Ocasio-Cortez endorsing Sanders

At a massive rally today in New York City, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez formally endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders. The endorsement, which leaked earlier this week during the fourth Democratic debate, has been covered nationally, a rare moment of news cycle domination for a campaign that’s often struggle to get positive mainstream coverage.

There has been some skepticism about how significant Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement is. Sanders surrogate Jonathan Tasini told Politico that Ocasio-Cortez fans who didn’t already support Sanders “could fit into a booth at the local diner.” Former Clinton 2016 aide Jess Morales Rocketto questioned to the New York Times whether Ocasio-Cortez is “super influential to voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.”

These are both fair critiques, but I think they are somewhat missing the point of the endorsement. Ocasio-Cortez’s support isn’t meant to jumpstart Sander’s flagging poll numbers in early states, it’s a media and base play meant to reset the narrative around the campaign and energize his supporters. For a campaign that often attempts to position itself outside of conventional political thought, I’m struck by how politically savvy Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement has been handled by the Sanders camp. 

Here’s why I think the endorsement—and its handling—matters:

- It resets the narrative around Sander’s campaign in the media. Even before a heart attack took Sanders off the trail for two weeks, his numbers in early states were going down amid a lot of media chatter around Warren’s rise. By leaking the endorsement right after a strong debate performance earlier this week, Sander’s camp practically guaranteed the media would be talking about his comeback rather than predicting his demise.

- Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the most influential or popular politician in America, but she’s one of the most-covered by the media.  Her endorsement was one of the most sought-after this cycle partially because of this; anyone who got her support was going to get a ton of press coverage for it. Sanders got that; while getting a ton of coverage about how the fight for the American left is still raging between him and Warren.

- Ocasio-Cortez is also wildly popular among Sanders base and liberals generally. Her endorsement seemed to reenergize his support among the Sanders faithful; which built directly into the massive rally we saw today. That rally was a tremendous show of force for the Sanders campaign and drove another positive media cycle for the campaign. Ocasio-Cortez is also expected to travel with Sanders to California, where I’d expect she’d be really useful at getting the campaign more media attention and turning out undecided liberals who like her and may have otherwise been leaning towards Warren.

- Ocasio-Cortez’s support dispels a common myth about Sander’s demographic support. We’ve know for a while now that Sander’s support cuts across generational lines rather than racial lines. Yet there’s a pretty accepted mainstream narrative that Sanders supporters are predominantly white and male. While it’s frustrating that a single prominent woman of color’s support would change that narrative, I do think it’s an optically important endorsement that will go a long way in dispelling that myth in mainstream political circles. 

While I don’t think AOC’s endorsement will do much to shift poll numbers (which I’d expect to continue to slide down as the news of Sander’s heart attack continues to reverberate), I do think it’s undeniable that her endorsement is a significant boon for the campaign. They’ve handled the rollout incredibly well, and I think it significantly shifts the narrative around their campaign in a way that will benefit them in the long run. 


The significance of Ocasio-Cortez endorsing Sanders

At a massive rally today in New York City, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez formally endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders. The endorsement, which leaked earlier this week during the fourth Democratic debate, has been covered nationally, a rare moment of news cycle domination for a campaign that’s often struggle to get positive mainstream coverage.

There has been some skepticism about how significant Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement is. Sanders surrogate Jonathan Tasini told Politico that Ocasio-Cortez fans who didn’t already support Sanders “could fit into a booth at the local diner.” Former Clinton 2016 aide Jess Morales Rocketto questioned to the New York Times whether Ocasio-Cortez is “super influential to voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.”

These are both fair critiques, but I think they are somewhat missing the point of the endorsement. Ocasio-Cortez’s support isn’t meant to jumpstart Sander’s flagging poll numbers in early states, it’s a media and base play meant to reset the narrative around the campaign and energize his supporters. For a campaign that often attempts to position itself outside of conventional political thought, I’m struck by how politically savvy Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement has been handled by the Sanders camp. 

Here’s why I think the endorsement—and its handling—matters:

- It resets the narrative around Sander’s campaign in the media. Even before a heart attack took Sanders off the trail for two weeks, his numbers in early states were going down amid a lot of media chatter around Warren’s rise. By leaking the endorsement right after a strong debate performance earlier this week, Sander’s camp practically guaranteed the media would be talking about his comeback rather than predicting his demise.

- Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the most influential or popular politician in America, but she’s one of the most-covered by the media.  Her endorsement was one of the most sought-after this cycle partially because of this; anyone who got her support was going to get a ton of press coverage for it. Sanders got that; while getting a ton of coverage about how the fight for the American left is still raging between him and Warren.

- Ocasio-Cortez is also wildly popular among Sanders base and liberals generally. Her endorsement seemed to reenergize his support among the Sanders faithful; which built directly into the massive rally we saw today. That rally was a tremendous show of force for the Sanders campaign and drove another positive media cycle for the campaign. Ocasio-Cortez is also expected to travel with Sanders to California, where I’d expect she’d be really useful at getting the campaign more media attention and turning out undecided liberals who like her and may have otherwise been leaning towards Warren.

- Ocasio-Cortez’s support dispels a common myth about Sander’s demographic support. We’ve know for a while now that Sander’s support cuts across generational lines rather than racial lines. Yet there’s a pretty accepted mainstream narrative that Sanders supporters are predominantly white and male. While it’s frustrating that a single prominent woman of color’s support would change that narrative, I do think it’s an optically important endorsement that will go a long way in dispelling that myth in mainstream political circles. 

While I don’t think AOC’s endorsement will do much to shift poll numbers (which I’d expect to continue to slide down as the news of Sander’s heart attack continues to reverberate), I do think it’s undeniable that her endorsement is a significant boon for the campaign. They’ve handled the rollout incredibly well, and I think it significantly shifts the narrative around their campaign in a way that will benefit them in the long run. 


Tulsi Gabbard responds to Clinton’s Russia accusation

Tulsi Gabbard responds to Clinton’s Russia accusation

Great! Thank you. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose. It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.

Something that always bears repeating: Tulsi Gabbard is a fucking weirdo. Clinton did nothing today but give Gabbard red meat to her similarly-weirdo base.

Tulsi Gabbard responds to Clinton’s Russia accusation
Tulsi Gabbard responds to Clinton’s Russia accusation

Bernie Sanders: We will make history

Bernie Sanders: We will make history

But let me relay to you an experience that I had lying in a hospital bed in Las Vegas after the heart attack. And I thought about a lot of things, but one of the things that went through my brain is what would have happened if I did not have the good health insurance that I have? And it made me feel even more strongly, the need for us to continue our efforts to end this dysfunctional and cruel system that leaves so many people uninsured, underinsured, causes bankruptcy, lowers credit scores, for people who owe medical debt. It's an insane, corrupt, bureaucratic system based on the greed of the health care industry. So I gotta tell you, that even as I sat and lied down in that hospital bed in Las Vegas, the issue of the struggle we are engaged in permeated in my mind. And I want all of you to understand that the day is gonna come when you’re gonna be talking to your kids and you’re gonna be talking to your grandchildren and say “you know what, I was involved in that struggle that finally brought health care to all Americans as a human right.”

A really inspiring and impressive rallying call from Sanders to his supporters, his first real statement after a heart attack took him off the campaign trail last week. It’s notable how effective Sander’s usual message of political revolution is when he ties it to personal experience. This is the first time I’ve really heard him talk about the future in these terms, it strikes me as a surprising acknowledgment of his own mortality for a candidate who hates talking about himself. 

I’ve seen some polling indicating that he’s taken a hit from this cycle and the speculation around his health. That makes sense, but I do believe he may have an opportunity to gain momentum if he keeps speaking like this. 

Bernie Sanders: We will make history
Bernie Sanders: We will make history

Why won’t Barack Obama say Trump’s name?

Why won’t Barack Obama say Trump’s name?

We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people. Such language isn’t new – it’s been at the root of most human tragedy throughout history, here in America and around the world. It is at the root of slavery and Jim Crow, the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. It has no place in our politics and our public life. And it’s time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much – clearly and unequivocally.

It’s deeply odd to me that Obama won’t go all the way and name Trump in this paragraph. 

It’s even more bizarre given the rest of the statement. He has no problem directly identifying two of the other reasons for the increase in mass shootings generally and white nationalist terrorism specifically: America’s broken gun laws and the internet’s ability to spread hate. How clearly he names these two factors make the paragraph above all the more inexplicable to me. 

I mean, like, he’s clearly talking about Trump in that first sentence, right? We all know that. Trump knows that. What exactly is spared by excluding Trump’s name? Beyond that, casting the current problem of white nationalist terrorism in a historical context is a very Obama stylistic flair, yet it also lacks coherency since he doesn’t name one of the primary catalysts of this new scourge: Trump’s rise and the normalization of outwardly racist statements in political discourse. 

I don’t know. I get that Obama is trying to stay above attacking his replacement—this statement follows a long tradition of Obama implicitly criticizing Trump while not naming him directly—but doesn’t this moment demand more than this? How much longer can Obama’s subtweeting stay viable? What will the breaking point be? 

Why won’t Barack Obama say Trump’s name?
Why won’t Barack Obama say Trump’s name?

Limitations define Kamala Harris’ student debt plan

How a silly tweet reveals a key ideological difference between Harris and her peers

Limitations define Kamala Harris’ student debt plan

Limitations define Kamala Harris’ student debt plan
Limitations define Kamala Harris’ student debt plan

Biden introduces a patch for Obamacare, which he really wants you to remember he helped with

A public option, better subsidies, and prescription drug reforms headline an incremental bandaid on a broken system.

Biden introduces a patch for Obamacare, which he really wants you to remember he helped with

Greg Meeks doesn’t get it

Greg Meeks doesn’t get it

This would not have been even a close race if in fact we were unified. It was six against one, if you look at the numbers. Melinda Katz is now ahead, but you've got to remember that Cabán won four assembly districts and Melinda won 14. When I see what some of the Bernie people are doing, I see they don't care about the Democratic Party. They like the disunity. So it's not about trying to bring us together; they don't care if the party falls apart or splits. I don't think we need to tear it down. We need to fix it.

Tiffany Cabán, the insurgent leftist candidate for Queens District Attorney, is falling behind in late results against establishment candidate Melinda Katz. Based on a recent interview in the Washington Post, this is a fact that local representative Greg Meeks seems to be revealing in.

To his credit, it’s been a tough few months for Meeks, who gained control of the local Democratic Party after longtime establishment hero Joe Crowley shockingly lost a primary to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The Democratic party apparatus in both Queens and the state of New York—historically embodied by moderates like Meeks—is in the midst of a dramatic transformation; a powerful cluster of legislative power in Albany was destroyed in the last election, triggering a wave of progressive legislation, while local newcomers like Cortez, Julia Salazar, and Cabán have been running fiery campaigns against establishment figures. Cabán’s defeat, in this context, is a win for someone like Meeks, a counterattack to the insurgency that threatens his power. An insurgency that, he seems to believe, predominantly comes from outside agitators, who seek only to create chaos at the expense of established consistency.

But to frame politics in this way is insidious, and ultimately a disservice to voters. Meeks is trying to instill a sense of unity to an electorate that is clearly not unified around the status quo. Cortez, Salazar, and Cabán are candidates that have received national attention, sure, but they also got here as a result of true concerns within their constituencies that were not being addressed. A vote for Cabán is not a vote for disunity or a retread of 2016 Presidential primary, it’s principally a vote for a candidate that better represents a community that is predominantly minority and generally open to more progressive criminal justice laws. If the system of governance embodied by Crowley, Melinda Katz, and the slow-motion-legislation of the Independent Democratic Caucus is not in line with the values of a majority of voters, then it is a system that deserves to be torn down in favor of something new.

To deny that, to try to turn this wave of energetic elections into another example of nihilistic left-wing provocation, is an insult to voters who want change and a disservice to anyone who believes in the power of representative government.

It remains to be seen what will happen in the Queens race. As the Posts points out, the election may ultimately hinge on around one hundred Cabán ballots that did not include the mandated “Democrat” label. If so, the establishment may be able to hang onto an election by way of technicality. But this is only one battle, and statements like Meek’s only show the nessecity of war.

Greg Meeks doesn’t get it
Greg Meeks doesn’t get it

Vice News looks to add to newsroom heading into 2020 election season

Vice News looks to add to newsroom heading into 2020 election season

Vice News looks to add to newsroom heading into 2020 election season

How Biden’s campaign confronted him on abortion (The Atlantic)

How Biden’s campaign confronted him on abortion (The Atlantic)

How Biden’s campaign confronted him on abortion (The Atlantic)

The Bald Conservative Men Have No Idea How To Talk About Race

The Bald Conservative Men Have No Idea How To Talk About Race

The Bald Conservative Men Have No Idea How To Talk About Race

The weaponization of liberal outrage was unavoidable. Still, it’s surprising to see how quickly the world’s dumbest people have realized taking old tweets out of context is an effective way to pressure the newly-woke megacorps into firing people they disagree with.

Beto's weird rollout

Beto's weird rollout

"O’Rourke and his wife, Amy, an educator nine years his junior, both describe the moment they first witnessed the power of O’Rourke’s gift. It was in Houston, the third stop on O’Rourke’s two-year Senate campaign against Ted Cruz. “Every seat was taken, every wall, every space in the room was filled with probably a thousand people,” recalls Amy O’Rourke. “You could feel the floor moving almost. It was not totally clear that Beto was what everybody was looking for, but just like that people were so ready for something. So that was totally shocking. I mean, like, took-my-breath-away shocking.”

I don't think she meant it, but Amy O'Rourke really hits the nail on the head here about her husband's appeal: he exists and is handsome and charasmatic. In an era begging for it.

Beto's weird rollout
Beto's weird rollout