America, Do You Feel The Bern?

Psst. Hey, you there. Yes, you – the one drinking from the “Bernie Speaks for Me” coffee mug.  Are you like me? Did you wake up this morning, brow furrowed, worried about the future of the “yuman” race? Did you find yourself dropping your “r’s” from the end of words, emphasizing the beginning t of words and generally yelling out everything you said? Did you decide to pluck your hair, dye what was left white and comb the remnants with a battery cable? Did you put on yesterday’s rumpled shirt? Are you constantly barking out the words to “This Land is Your Land” everywhere you go?

Yeah, me too. And do you know why? Because we have Bernie-mentum! We are part of the 99%! Yeah, that’s right – we feel the Bern! And yes, Hillary, you should be afraid – very, very afraid! Two days ago Bernie shocked the world by winning 41% of the vote among Democratic activists in the Wisconsin straw poll, thus preventing Hillary from winning a majority (she only pulled 49%). No other Democrat – not Lincoln Chaffee, not Joe Biden, not Martin O’Malley – won more than 3% of the vote. And this despite the fact that the pro-Clinton booth was stationed right outside the straw poll voting location! Clearly this has become a two-person race, and the momentum is with Bernie!

Oh sure, the media naysayers carp that it was a low-turnout, non-random voting event that’s not representative of the actual Democratic electorate. Heck, Clinton didn’t even bother to campaign there. But what do you expect from the right-wing plutocracy that passes for the mainstream media these days? They have consistently ignored Bernie’s candidacy from the day he announced. In a show of how much they fear Bernie’s candidacy, the corporate lackey New York Times buried its coverage of Bernie’s declaration on page 21. No wonder independent journalists are questioning whether Bernie will get a fair shake with the mainstream media.

Despite this negative news coverage – or perhaps because of it – Bernie is drawing huge, raucous crowds everywhere he goes, beginning with the estimated 5,000 who crowded the Burlington waterfront to see Bernie kick off his campaign. The day after he drew the largest crowd of the current campaign season in Iowa. Standing room only events characterize his campaign stops in New Hampshire as well. And why not? Bernie’s progressive message is resonating everywhere with voters, and it’s forcing Clinton to take notice too. That doesn’t make the crony capitalists on Wall St. very happy; already some are raising the alarm that Clinton will try to adopt Bernie’s common-sense progressive agenda in order to preempt his rising support. As one member of the Wall St. criminal class and former Clinton supporter put it, “My fear is that she is just going to get pulled too far left by people who want her to just hammer the banks and stand in opposition to all these things she’s against.”

But it may be too late to stop Bernie. As Clinton’s poll numbers founder amidst rising negativity and a growing sense that she is untrustworthy, Sanders has vaulted into second place among Democratic voters nationwide. And if, as polls now suggest, Sanders comes out of Iowa with a top-two finish, who knows what will happen in New Hampshire, which is in Bernie’s backyard?

And while official totals won’t be released until July, early media reports suggest that Bernie’s rise in the polls has been matched by a slew of small donations – average size about $43 – that collectively add up to an impressive $1.5 million within the first day of his formal announcement.  His fundraising totals are all the more impressive considering he is not taking PAC money and has eschewed big donors. Heck, he’s one of the rare elected officials who has seen his wealth shrink while holding office! How can you not support someone who is carrying a debt of between $25,000 and $65,000 on his two credit cards? What is more American than that?

So, go ahead. Pass the mug. Drink in the Bernie-mentum. Feel the Bern, America!

Addendum (1:46 p.m.):  Bernie is kicking Hillary’s …er…derriere on this Daily Kos poll too!


  1. If nothing else, #feelthebern is by far the best candidate sponsored hashtag of the election thus far…

  2. Come on professor. Political science teaches us that these early polls mean very little. Look what happened to Howard Dean after he made the cover of Newsweek and Time.

    Abby B is right. He is the best # so far.

    Go Bernie. Beat Wellesley and Yale.


  3. Jack,

    You must be part of the 1%! Wait ’til Bernie raises your marginal tax rate to 90% – that will teach you to fear the Bern.

  4. If a Poli Sci Professor can’t have a little fun in the early primary goings, what’s life all about?

    My chances of being president are roughly equivalent to Bernie’s, but he is such a relief from the 15-20 guys +1 lady in my side of the aisle.

    And, it clearly brings pain to the Anointed One.

  5. Shelly – If nothing else, Bernie is authentic which I suspect not everyone would say about many of the other candidates during this election cycle.

  6. The words “authentic” and “Hillary” have never been used together in the same sentence.

  7. It seems like the traditional pageantry on mainstream media is being subverted by Bernie’s grassroots support. Like Prof Dickinson said, Bernie is authentic and I think the younger generation just might be willing to take the risk this election cycle. Real change is coming If not this election cycle, then definitely the next.

  8. To me, the most surprising thing about Sen Sanders is that he doesn’t cut his hair or wear a suit that fits him. I get saying whatever you want; that’s authentic and may appeal to people. However, I just don’t get his choice of appearance. Image isn’t everything, but it is something. I think more people would listen to his message if he looked a bit more polished, and his message should be the important thing. As it is now, he’s playing into the stereotype of socialists as wild-eyed idealists who can’t be bothered with reality.

    I’m sympathetic to Sanders and his ideas and policies, even though they are probably unrealistic in this political climate. I just wish he weren’t so easy to caricature. I wonder how well he would do if he looked more presidential. Or maybe that’s the idea – if I were a 1%er, I might funnel money to him on the sly just to make his ideas, and by extension the Democrats in general, look like crazy radicals.

    At lease the debates will be interesting, on both sides.

  9. @Ezra, I agree that Bernie’s look and message don’t fit the “reality” of politics which definitely hurts his longterm viability. But I also think Bernie is the kind of break with the past that we need in politics. Change will always seem too radical or unrealistic, that is why we keep postponing it. People know we need change in politics, so if Bernie made himself look more presidential as you suggest that might be enough to make him look less like a kook, because it sure seems to work for the Republicans.

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