Sanders and the Mainstream Media Helped Put Trump in the White House

A fair and honest assessment of what happened in the 2016 presidential race is key to progress in future U.S. elections. But too many vested parties want to obscure the truth. Fortunately, facts have a way of emerging. And we’re learning that Trump was assisted not just by Republicans, but by those who should have been neutral, or opposed him.

Weeks before the release of Hillary Clinton’s book about 2016, compelling data has emerged about the role Bernie Sanders and the news media played in her Electoral College defeat.

Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center provides overwhelming evidence that the mainstream media were instrumental in electing Donald Trump. The key takeaway:

“Donald Trump succeeded in shaping the election agenda. Coverage of Trump overwhelmingly outperformed coverage of Clinton. Clinton’s coverage was focused on scandals, while Trump’s coverage focused on his core issues.”

Rather than accept an iota of responsibility, many reporters and pundits continue to attack and blame Clinton. For example, Andrea Mitchell appeared on Morning Joe to discuss newly released excerpts from Clinton’s book and baselessly claimed there was “obviously a lot of calculation.”

The problem isn’t just the mainstream media. As if to cement what Clinton advocates have argued all year, a new analysis using CCES data clearly indicates that Bernie Sanders played a role in electing Trump.

Brian Schaffner on Twitter

WI: 9% of Sanders voters voted for Trump. MI: 8% of Sanders voters voted for Trump. PA: 16% of Sanders voters voted for Trump. 3/n

Early in the primary process, Sanders raised important issues and ran a positive campaign. Democrats and progressives were excited about their field. But as 2016 approached, he and his surrogates began waging a singularly character-focused attack on Clinton, assailing her integrity and accusing her of being corrupt. His senior aides fanned out across cable to hammer Clinton on her Wall Street speeches, a strategy Sanders himself had previously rejected as “a character assault he had long opposed,” according to the New York Times. These were not issue differences, these were GOP-style smears.

As it became clearer Clinton would win the nomination, Sanders riled up his supporters further instead of dialing back the attacks. His team talked of a “rigged” primary (which is demonstrably false) and expressed open antipathy toward the DNC. All while knowing Donald Trump was the likely Republican nominee. When a person of Trump’s temperament and worldview is anywhere near the presidency, all comparisons with previous cycles are moot. Self-interest and personal ambition must be set aside for the greater good. Lamentably, that’s not what Bernie Sanders chose to do.

By the time his campaign’s attacks were done, young voters were throwing dollar bills at Clinton in the street. Seeing an accomplished and dignified woman so brazenly demeaned was an ugly and shameful spectacle, a low point in American politics.

We are now discovering more about the harmful aftermath of Bernie Sanders’s negative campaigning: More than 20% of Sanders voters did not vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election.

Helping to elect Trump by relentlessly tearing down Clinton and turning a faction of his supporters against her is the unfortunate legacy Sanders (and all Americans) must live with. His late endorsement could not undo the fury he unleashed against her among certain voters, which reverberates to this day. And incredibly, he and a handful of his diehards continue to go after dedicated Democrats.

It’s one thing for Republicans to smear and demonize Hillary Clinton. That was to be expected. It’s another altogether for the supposedly non-partisan news media to assist her opponents, or for a campaign on the left to compel young progressives to vilify her. Not to mention the interference of a hostile foreign power, which tilted the playing field even further against her.

As many have observed, it is a testament to her strength and the dedication of her 65.8 million voters that she won the popular vote so handily despite fighting on multiple fronts.

It is also important to give credit and praise to the majority of Sanders supporters who backed her in the general election:

Peter Daou on Twitter

You and everyone who made that choice in the general election did the right thing. And I salute you. https://t.co/VgYSXHNYjh

The debate over what took place in 2016 is about the future, not the past. We witnessed a travesty with far-reaching and dangerously unpredictable consequences. To avoid repeating the same mistakes, we have to speak the truth honestly and forcefully.

-Peter Daou

[Updated Sep. 2017]


Peter Daou on Twitter

1/10. THREAD: The talking point that Bernie Sanders is the “most popular politician in America” is misleading and excludes Obama and Biden.

Peter Daou on Twitter

1. THREAD: Yet again, a poll that excludes Obama, Biden, Waters, Schiff, etc. spun as Bernie Sanders “most popular politician in America.

Peter Daou on Twitter

1. Bernie did more damage to Hillary’s reputation in a few months than Republicans did in 30 years. He is part of the reason Trump is PEOTUS https://t.co/O6N7yi5yZU

Peter Daou on Twitter

The Bernie/Hillary debate is not re-litigating the past, it’s a CRUCIAL question about the FUTURE of my party, the one Bernie won’t join.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION
  1. I’m one of those people who followed the numbers closely through the primary. After Hillary won the New York Primary with a large margin, it was mathematically impossible for Sanders to win the pledged delegate count. There simply weren’t enough pledged delegates left. Once Trump won the New York Republican Primary it was assured of winning the nomination. If someone like me knew these facts then Sanders had to know. After New York he could have done one of two things to make sure Trump did not win the election: (1) Withdraw and work on Hillary’s behalf. This would have given his followers time to grieve and more importantly, time to understand why they should support Hillary and the danger of a Trump presidency; (2) Continue to campaign putting forth constructive ideas, not attack Hillary, and focus any enmity on Trump.

    But he didn’t do either. What he did do was a political hit job on Sec. Clinton. He and his surrogates were even raising the specter of a contested convention shortly before it began. No wonder there were protesters galore at the beginning.

    Bernie Sanders along with the Russians and the Oct 28, 2016 Comey letter were enough to give Trump a very narrow Electoral College victory (he beat Hillary in the 13 swing states by 816,128 votes out of 46,030,625, and of course we know he beat her in MI, PA & WI by 77,744 out of 14,548,296 votes).

    I am convinced that Sanders deliberately sabotaged Sec. Clinton so he would become more important and have an “accomplishment.” The sad fact is he has accomplished very little in his 40 years living off various governments. He has achieved his goal because the MSM treats him like some sort of political god.

    Neither he nor the MSM have or will ever apologize for what they have done.

    1. What has happened. more citizens have become passionate & involved in the Civil Rights Issues & Elections of our Local & State Representatives

    2. Thanks for this important information and a great assessment.
      I think it should also be noted that Sanders’ campaign endorsements of Clinton were tepid at best. He started every speech for her with, “It’s no secret there are vast differences between Secretary Clinton and myself.” What kind of tone was he setting with that statement? His so-called endorsements of Clinton seemed to me to be more focused on his own “defeated” vision than on her commitment and dedication to a progressive agenda (i.e. that same vision). He seemed to really be saying, “Well we lost our chance, but at least with Clinton we know that Trump won’t be in the White House.” He should have shown some enthusiasm for her; he should have pointed out her strengths, what she’s done for the good of the nation, and what her vision is for the future. Instead he acted like he had been strong-armed into showing support for someone he really didn’t believe in. In the way he campaigned for Clinton he failed her, he failed his supporters, and he failed all of us.

      1. He didn’t say anything positive about Sec Clinton because he knew how terrible Trump would be and was setting himself up to be the next presidential Dem candidate… again feeding from the Dem coffers. So now he’s yelling prominently so he can TRY to swoop in and ‘save’ the US in 2020. When he didn’t stop maligning Sec Clinton and he knew she was the candidate, I lost what little respect I had for him. I’ll never vote for him, ever, so I hope the Dem party isn’t dumb enough to back him again. I may have to go to the Indep party. And I fear the Dem party now has a tea party faction of its own with some Dem legislators trying to stir up trouble and oust Nancy Pelosi. A time when we should stick
        together more than ever.

        1. Thank you for stating what I’ve been feeling but was afraid i’d be viewed as being petulant and defeatist. I will NEVER VOTE FOR Bernie Ever! And his diehards who though belittling anyone who wasn’t on their train as “stupid” or voting against our best interest. I’m not a far left loon… I’m a pragmatic progressive who’s been around long enough to know how the system works. I also understand that pushing the party further left is political suicide. All the “free stuff” Bernie offered was all pipe dreams that would never pass muster in a group of people with a modicum of common sense and understanding the minutiae of political policy and getting those programs passed. His diehards won’t be happy till they destroy the DNC in a hostile hijacking. If the dems allow that to happen I won’t stay in the party nor will I donate one more dollar.

  2. Many will claim it was Bernard’s followers, surrogates, or bots who carried out the most malicious trolling. They say Bernard wasn’t culpable and he did his best to campaign for Hillary. While I cannot prove intent, I disbelieve this completely. I believe Bernard himself was responsible for the tone of his campaign, and that he was aware of GOP/Putin trolls working in his favor and did nothing to dispute their lies. He put Trump in the White House and now he thinks he’ll walk right into it in 2020 after millions of vulnerable lives have been damaged by this so-called “revolution”.

    1. So true. How can Bernie claim to be a leader when he can’t even lead his own loyal followers? His followers continue to claim that the DNC somehow “rigged” the primaries to make sure Hillary won the nomination. I’d like to see a journalist press him with this question: “Do you, Senator Sanders believe that the DNC rigged the primaries and kept you from winning the nomination?”

  3. I always admired and still admire Hillary. Bernie could never hold a candle to Hillary, he fired up his supporters with dreams that were impossible to accomplish. I was attacked numerous times by his supporters on Facebook very nasty and hateful. The same as Trump supporters. To this day no one can tell me why they hate Hillary. We need to get Bernie’s influence out of the Democratic Party!

  4. I voted for Bernie in primary and “was” proud of that vote. Then the convention..his true colors came shining thru! His childish pouting and surrogate shenanigans left me feeling disgusted. Almost feels, by design, they were/are still sowing discord, chaos and doubt. DNC is dead to me, a lifelong dem, I’ll give money to individual candidates before a dime goes to them and by extension Our Revolution. Ugh!

    Don’t even get me started with Andrea Mitchell..so obvious she’s a Hillary hater that’s mired in jealousy and successful gaslighting by the right.

  5. Bernie Sanders & Andrea Mitchell were 2 of many people instrumental in the election of Donald Trump. The Sanders campaign attacked Hillary with trolls, lies, & bots. Hillary said: “I’m so sick of the Sanders camp lying about me. ” & she had every right to be sick of it. Hillary was nice to Andrea Mitchell & even invited her onto HillForce 1 to travel with her campaign. Andrea turned too much focus onto Hillary’s Emails instead of using airtime to help Hillary get her policies across to more viewers in addition to those Hillary had already clearly reached. Andrea’s behavior was/is shameful toward Hillary.

    Bernie Sanders claimed Hillary’s policies & plans, which she worked hard to develop, as his own. He takes credit for Hillary’s hard work. It’s awful that our Democratic party supports Bernie. Bernie Sanders is no Democrat.

    1. I wish I could remember the date but I watched Andrea Mitchell show during the campaign. She had 6 different panelists on and individually asked them how Hillary could overcome the lack of trust people had in her . She asked the same question 9 times. I thought it was just lazy journalism but now how I see it contributed to the anti-Hillary faction.

      1. I looked through some of my files of the campaign & Andrea Mitchell for the clip you described but were unable so far to locate it. I located 2 clips w/ 5 panelists which contain similar content as you described. Can you tell me more about this clip if for ex: names of any panelists, city it aired from, chyrons you might remember. Any more info about the clip you can provide would be helpful.

  6. I will always be a strong Hillary supporter. It is Bernie’s way or no way! I don’t believe he really displayed any genuine support for Hillary.

  7. I didn’t know anything about Bernie but I was willing to listen. It didn’t take long to realize he had no idea how to accomplish what he was saying. I don’t think I will ever understand the hatred of Hillary. I’ve seen it in my own family and no one can tell me why. I’m just so sad and angry about it all.

    1. I am with you too. It’s misogyny. Especially called up for a truly competent and strong woman who is committed to the rights of women and children. She is not “just a woman candidate”; she stands up against guns and male violence generally. Good on the men who have stood for her too.

  8. I am a 76 year old, white male. I supported Bernie both financially & and rhetorically up to the CA primary when it became obvious to me that Hillary would win. Then I threw my support to Hillary. She wasn’t my first choice but as I delved deeper into her history I realized she’d be a better president than Bernie and far better than 45!

  9. It is just terribly sad that Bernie was the Ralph Nadar spoiler as well as Jill Stein.
    I really don’t understand the sexist rants from Bernie supporters.

  10. I especially appreciate this sentence:

    “The debate over what took place in 2016 is about the future, not the past. We witnessed a travesty with far-reaching and dangerously unpredictable consequences. To avoid repeating the same mistakes, we have to speak the truth honestly and forcefully.”

    Bernie supporters act like Clinton supporters are suffering from hysteria, or crying over spilt milk. “You’re alienating us! What good does that do?” they say, “See how far that got you?”

    Frankly its an abuse tactic. I was eloquent enough to describe how their gas-lighting affects our nation, I just know its infuriating beyond measure. And we are reminded of it every single time Donald Trump does anything — he is literally the consequence of our inability to properly address racism, sexism, in our country and within our party.

    1. The #NeverHillary #BernieOrBust crowd are totally irrelevant. They won’t get into the Democratic Party and work for what they want. Instead, they sit in the bleachers, shout demands and hurl insults.

      Our job is to get out enough voters to drown them out and not allow them to hand victories to the Republicans.

  11. I have supported Bernie Sanders forever, but because he told me to vote for Hillary, I did.. really have nothing negative to say about Hillary. I just like Bernie more.

  12. I have dealt with right wing hate on social media. I’ve had Evangelicals tell me I’m going to hell because I support a woman’s right to choice. But, some accounts pretending to be Bernie supporters were the meanest. I think they were sent to create chaos and division in the Democratic Party. The true Bernie supporters that I know needed up voting for Hillary.

    1. Same. My Sanders supporter friends (all men) stayed home on election day. And they’re all liberal progressive dudes. One of the called her “brumhilda”. It was a traumatizing election on many levels as a female.

      1. I know exactly how you felt. I tirelessly argued with male Bernie supporters about the merits of HRC, not only during the primaries but also during the general election. The antipathy they exhibited towards her was as harsh as that shown by Trumpers. Some even posited that she was just as bad if not worse than Trump.

        1. whether its attempting to be “diplomatic” against Hillary or just plain mean, it’s always white male progressive liberals at the helm of criticism. They have a long way to go before they learn to undo their privilege, progressives or not.

  13. I was called a Clinton C*nt by an acquaintance who was a loyal Bernie supporter. He told me I was voting with my vagina, as if I was unreasonable for thinking a woman should be elected President after 44 men have held the job. I knew when I saw Bernie’s behavior at the Convention that he was going to do some serious damage in the general election. We have to collectively acknowledge “what happened” at the hands of Sanders NOW, or he’s going to do it again in 2020 and we will have Trump 2.0.

  14. I’m British and what would be accurately described as a socialist. Howrvet I never trusted Bernie Sanders.
    So is this man responsible for Mr Trump and his tweeting and rhetoric that may have such dire consequences in relation to North Korea and nuclear war ? Irony doesn’t come near it.

  15. Thank you
    I am one of the Rebublicans that Votes for Hilary, sad and embarassed by Trump!!!
    So much so I am now a Democrat after 40 years ( slow learner I guess ??)

    1. No-you are a learner…period. Good for you. You should be proud that you can change given the right reasons and not follow blindly.

      As for me, I liked Bernie Sanders but I loved Hillary Clinton, so I voted for Hillary. After seeing Bernie pout like a child when she was made the nominee, I knew Hillary was the right decision. Bernie suddenly was as narcissistic as Trump. I was very saddened because I liked him and I was hoping that they could work together. How sad the ego took over…and it’s still controlling him. He bought into his own importance and forgot to look at the big picture

  16. I still get called a “Hilbot” in the comment section of Crooks and Liars when I suggest that stopping Trump’s reelection would be a good idea.

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12% of Sanders voters cast their vote for Trump over Clinton.
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