“The State of our Union is…feeling the Bern”

Jake Tapper opened his show, The State of the Union, on CNN today with that statement about Bernie’s campaign.

5 out of the last six contests have been absolute landslides for Bernie Sanders. If he continues at this pace, becomes the nominee, and goes on to beat Trump in the general election (which he would), it will be against nearly insurmountable efforts and odds to kill his campaign. Hillary Clinton and her well-oiled (literally and figuratively) machine has done everything except put a hit out on Bernie, and yet, he perseveres. Even the contests (below) where Bernie did not win almost deserve an “*” to explain what was going on in those states.  There is so much dodgy-ness in the 2016 presidential campaign that I guarantee history will not treat most of these candidates kindly, to say the least.

I have put the results below in chronological order and omitted the delegate count. What we’re looking at here is a movement, and also momentum:

MARCH 26th

Bernie Sanders: 70%
Hillary Clinton: 30%

Washington State
Bernie Sanders: 73%
Hillary Clinton: 27%

Bernie Sanders: 82%
Hillary Clinton: 18%

MARCH 22nd

Bernie Sanders: 40%
Hillary Clinton: 58%

Bernie Sanders: 78%
Hillary Clinton: 21%

Bernie Sanders: 79%
Hillary Clinton: 20%

MARCH 15th

Bernie Sanders: 33%
Hillary Clinton: 64%

Bernie Sanders: 49%
Hillary Clinton: 51%

Bernie Sanders: 49.4%
Hillary Clinton: 49.6%

North Carolina
Bernie Sanders: 41%
Hillary Clinton: 55%

Bernie Sanders: 43%
Hillary Clinton: 57%


Bernie Sanders: 50%
Hillary Clinton: 48%

Bernie Sanders: 17%
Hillary Clinton: 83%


Bernie Sanders: 64%
Hillary Clinton: 36%


Bernie Sanders: 68%
Hillary Clinton: 32%

Bernie Sanders: 23%
Hillary Clinton:  71%

Bernie Sanders: 57%
Hillary Clinton: 43%


Bernie Sanders: 19%
Hillary Clinton: 78%

Bernie Sanders: 30%
Hillary Clinton: 66%

Bernie Sanders: 60%
Hillary Clinton: 40%

Bernie Sanders: 28%
Hillary Clinton: 71%

Bernie Sanders: 49%
Hillary Clinton: 50%

Bernie Sanders: 62%
Hilary Clinton: 38%

Bernie Sanders: 52%
Hillary Clinton: 42%

Bernie Sanders: 32%
Hillary Clinton: 66%

Bernie Sanders: 33%
Hillary Clinton: 65%

Bernie Sanders: 86%
Hillary Clinton: 14%

Bernie Sanders: 35%
Hillary Clinton: 64%


South Carolina
Bernie Sanders: 26%
Hillary Clinton: 74%


Bernie Sanders: 47%
Hillary Clinton: 53%


New Hampshire
Bernie Sanders: 60%
Hillary Clinton: 38%


Bernie Sanders: 49.6%
Hillary Clinton: 49.9%

Two things about the Democratic contests.

First of all, I got those outcomes (above) from several sources, including Politico. I deliberately formatted the results as a timeline, without inserting all the stuff about delegates and super delegates. What I’m attempting to do is show that Bernie’s campaign has gained a lot of momentum. It always had tremendous support, but he did hit “firewalls” in the South. Much like an athletic event, momentum counts. And while the political pundits try to explain what’s going on, playing catch-up when they get it wrong (which is all the time), and continue to try and create some sort of narrative about this campaign season, it’s safe to say that support for Bernie and Trump knows no boundaries.

But here I focus on Bernie because I really have no idea what’s going on with Trump and his followers. I do know that people were, and are, incredibly passionate (deliriously so), about Bernie and what he stands for, myself included; however, momentum going either way does not ultimately budge Bernie’s supporters. Where it counts is amongst those who perhaps are not yet decided, or have not yet put time into figuring out what the candidates stand for. In those cases, and also in fundraising, momentum especially matters. Among Bernie’s core supporters, and particularly amongst most of us who are older, have been jaded for so long, feeling like we’re just voting for the least “bad” choice. Many of us have “allowed” ourselves to get really excited for once about a candidate. And while it’s heady and exhilarating, it’s also (mentally and emotionally) exhausting. It’s almost like suddenly being able to see all the colors of the spectrum. It’s hard to look away from the beauty of it, but, at times, it would be easier (and more calm) to just care a little less about the whole thing. I actually get people, in real life, asking me why I like Bernie so much. I suspect it’s because they’ve long seen bumper stickers on our cars and we wear Bernie 2016 shirts and maybe they’re finally getting serious about making a decision about who to vote for.  When I get asked such an open ended question about Bernie Sanders, I feel like a child being asked what they learned in school today – sort of giddy and trying to get it all out as fast as possible (before the questioner loses interest).

My readers are well aware of my support for Bernie and my dislike and distrust of Hillary Clinton. I’d like to throw a tiny, itty bitty curve ball into the situation for a second. It’s just something we should keep in the back of our minds, and it came in an email from Bill McKibben (via Climate Hawks Vote). McKibben is the head of 350.org. He’s more passionate about the environment and focused on climate change than almost anyone I can think of. I’d put him at the very top of my list of people I’d bet my life on when it comes to making the right decisions about the climate. He’s a Bernie supporter. His Climate Hawks Vote email was about people needing to continue their support of Bernie’s candidacy.  Here’s a snippet of it:

“Make no mistake — Bernie Sanders isn’t really running against Hillary Clinton. He’s running against the Koch Brothers, and all that they represent: taken together they’re the richest man on earth. They’ve made their money in oil and gas (they’re the largest leaseholders in the Alberta tar sands, on the far end of the Keystone Pipeline). They spend their money to break unions, to shut out solar power, to further concentrate America’s wealth. They’ll spend at least $900 million on the next election, and their operatives are running the Republican Party — even Donald Trump’s campaign is run by Koch people. But Bernie Sanders, with his people-powered campaign, has got their number. They know, in their heart of hearts, that there’s two of them and hundreds of millions of us, and that’s got to be a little scary.

During his campaign, Bernie has been standing tall with the pipeline fighters of Nebraska, the fractivists of Colorado, the solar workers of Nevada, and the families of Flint, Michigan. He’s the real deal.

More than that, Bernie has shown with years of committed action that he will not just talk about the climate on the campaign trail, he will do it in the Oval Office. He understands it for the deep, simple problem it is: that we can’t keep burning this stuff. Our time now is clearly a scary moment, but it could be a thrilling one too. Depending on who’s next in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

P.S. Bernie is a movement politician. His theory of history is that movements change things. I think he’s right. The cruelest trick would be to elect Bernie and then walk away, leave him to deal with all this stuff on his own. That would be terrible. I don’t think he wants it, and I think he’d be mad if people did that, and rightly so. I like Barack Obama and went and knocked on doors for him, but I also ended up chained to his fence at the White House. It’s completely possible I’ll end up chained to President Bernie Sanders’s fence too.”

The part which stopped me dead in my tracks came at the end of the “P.S.” because, of course, Bill McKibben is right, for many reasons. I could say he’s “managing expectations,” or hedging his bets, or try to explain it away, except that I don’t think that would be correct. He’s just stating the facts as he sees them, and I have to agree.

Secondly, I’d like to point out that people here in the US often think that their vote doesn’t matter, and that the whole thing is “rigged.” I halfway agree. Okay, maybe I 49% agree. But 51% of me sees it very differently because if, indeed, your vote doesn’t matter and the whole thing is rigged, and, I’ll even go so far as to say that maybe the presidency is just a figurehead position, well then, why are billions of dollars being spent for a job that is so insignificant, so powerless, and such a foregone conclusion? You can’t have it both ways, right? The presidency and elections cannot be both A) meaningless with voting a big waste of time, while B) armies of people and large corporations are doing everything within their power, and at absolutely any cost, to sway the outcome.

The Koch brothers may be filthy rich and extremely powerful, but they’re also spending nearly a billion dollars themselves to have some impact on who gets elected. This obvious disconnect between “voting doesn’t matter” and billions of dollars being spent to sway voters can only mean one thing: voting matters and just one person, and my hopes are it ends up being Bernie, can make a difference.