Bernie Sanders won the Nevada caucus today, prompting his supporters to mistakenly decide that this means he’s now somehow automatically going to be the Democratic nominee. This would be a tragedy, because the thoroughly unvetted Sanders would be quickly destroyed at the hands of Donald Trump and the GOP. But if you’re a pundit, you can score some really cheap and easy points right now by simply hoping on the Bernie train and blowing smoke at his supporters. Fortunately, some high profile pundits are simply refusing to play that game.
The reality is that only three states have voted thus far (out of fifty). Two of the three were nearly all white. Two of them used the gibberish caucus format. We now know that Vladimir Putin was rigging things for Bernie while all these states were voting, and yet he still only won two out of the three. The problem is that because the Democrats have four great candidates (Biden, Warren, Buttigieg, Klobuchar) and none of them has been dominating over the others, it’s created this fatalist notion that Sanders simply can’t be stopped.
Enter highly respected MSNBC host Joy Reid. On Saturday night she sounded the alarm, pointing out that this is simply a turnout problem. The minority of Democratic voters who want Sanders are voting and campaigning in enthusiastic fashion, and so he’s in the lead, despite only getting around 30% of the vote. The smart voters need to start pushing harder on behalf of the real Democrats right now, before this gets any worse, and we get stuck with a disastrous nominee in Sanders who can’t beat Trump.
Whether you precisely agree with Joy Reid’s characterization of things or not, the reality is this. It would be a lot easier for her, and others in her position, to simply start pretending Bernie Sanders is the greatest thing ever. His most rabid supporters would reward her with huge ratings. Instead, by calling out the fact that Sanders basically sucks, she knows she’s going to be viciously harassed by Bernie’s most over-the-top supporters.
If you think that’s an exaggeration, Joy Reid’s name was trending atop Twitter at one point on Saturday night, as Sanders fanatics began demanding that she be fired. Of course the Sanders fanatics have also recently demanded that MSNBC fire Chris Matthews, Chuck Todd, Jason Johnson, and every other on-air pundit who doesn’t sufficiently kiss up to Bernie. Some of these pundits are better than others, but we need to rally around them on this. They can’t lose their jobs simply because they accurately reported on the Sanders train wreck.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report