The outcome of Super Tuesday II, when US voters charged off to choose their nominee in the Republican and Democratic primary elections in five key battleground states, was already determined before the day began. That did not stop the pundits from setting the stage for an epic Sanders letdown following his improbable victory one week earlier in the Michigan race.
What pundits do not explain is that, in politics more than anything else, the process is what really matters. The process, the timeline, and early voting had decided the election long before the last voters trudged to the polls Tuesday evening.
Misinformation: corporate media impugned Sanders’ Civil Rights record for weeks
Mainstream media has long told its American audience that Bernie Sanders could not appeal to black voters, followed by a smear campaign featuring Representative and Civil Rights legend John Lewis questioning Sanders’ contribution to the Civil Rights movement. Claiming he “never saw Bernie Sanders,” Lewis questioned whether photographs clearly documenting the Senator’s involvement in the 1960s fight for equality were photoshopped fakes.
The mainstream smear effort culminated in an outlandish assertion by Civil Rights icon Dolores Huerta that Sanders supporters yelled "English only" despite incontrovertible video evidence to the contrary. Hillary Clinton supporter David Brock wrote in Time Magazine that it was Sanders himself who said "English only." The publication never issued an apology or a correction.
This was, of course, right before Clinton began winning, starting with the South Carolina Primary, where she won over 87% of the African American vote, before posting similar margins throughout the Deep South where black voters are a majority of the Democratic electorate.
The tide turned as corporate media allegations were debunked
But soon the tide had turned. The Chicago Tribune released a photo showing Sanders being viciously detained by police. Minority leaders like Ohio’s Nina Turner and former NAACP head Benjamin Jealous rallied behind Sanders.
The veil of misinformation had been lifted, and Sanders, a Democratic Socialist bereft of SuperPACs and Wall Street speaking contracts, won Michigan by two points after trailing in polls by 37 points.
Everybody in the upcoming states had already voted weeks ago
Michigan does not allow early voting, and the voters in Michigan were responding to an immediate narrative. One other recently voting state also prohibits early voting — Missouri — where Sanders tied Clinton after trailing weeks earlier by 28 points.
In contrast, Ohio, which turned into a “surprise” landslide for Clinton, began voting a month ago during the apex of the misinformation campaign. Illinois voters started sending their votes in 15 days prior, North Carolina 12 days earlier, and Florida 10 days before. These votes had already been cast before the media’s spin on the public record was corrected.
The Blackout: One final insult, one final nail in the coffin of American democracy
And so Bernie Sanders, the unlikely charismatic grandfather figure to America, who echoes the promise of New Deal liberalism the American people so desperately clamour for and have not seen since FDR was president, found himself in an impossible position on Tuesday, with supporters falsely led by the media to expect an upset in a race that had been decided weeks ago. Still, he had another chance: a major speech to the national viewing audience, to tell them that they did not need to settle.
As Sanders approached the stage, losing the vote but winning the hearts and minds of his electorate, he looked into an audience of enthusiastic supporters and cacophony of film cameras knowing that, at least one more time, he could drive home his vision that America’s young people should not graduate college with a lifetime of debt, that American elections do not need to be bought and sold, and that the country should serve more than just those on Wall Street.
But the American people watched on television last night as a victorious Donald Trump declared how rich he was and that to be rich is to be great. TV watchers heard Hillary talk about making “tough decisions,” like staring down Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ted Cruz waxed poetically about his conservative credentials, despite not winning anything. John Kasich, mired in single digits in the polls, announced a victory in his home state.
Even “Little Marco” Rubio was televised speaking before an audience of two dozen as he dropped out of the race. But, yesterday, there was no Sanders on the networks. He still didn’t exist as a viable candidate.
There were pundits talking about Sanders and what a disappointment the night had been for him. There were Clinton loyalists calling on Sanders to drop out of the race for the sake of the Democratic Party, lest he sought to help Trump emerge victorious. There were even SuperPAC commercials on mainstream news channels slamming Sanders for his record on guns and immigration.
Tuesday night, the mainstream media struck the final nail into American Democracy as the American people were not able to hear the man they prefer, who never got to tell his side of the story. The mainstream media patted themselves on the back, knowing their misinformation campaign was a success.
Below: Loud & Clear's Brian Becker speaks with 2016 Socialism and Liberation presidential candidate Gloria La Riva and 2012 Socialist candidate Stewart Alexander about Tuesday's election results.