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  March 20, 2016

Sanders Campaign Could Win In Spite of Corporate Media Spin

Robert W. McChesney, Prof. of Media and Communications, University of Illinois, says that Sanders has a good fighting chance to secure the Democratic nomination in spite of the traditional media's effort to undermine his success
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Robert W. McChesney is the author of Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy (New Press, 2013) and a professor of communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. With John Nichols, he wrote Dollarocracy: How the Money-and-Media Election Complex is Destroying America (Nation Books, 2013). His work has been translated into 31 languages.


SHARMINI PERIES: It's the Real News Network, I'm Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.

The New York Times reported on march 17th that President Obama privately told a group of democratic donors last Friday that Bernie Sanders was nearing the point at which his campaign against Hilary Clinton would end and that the party must some come together to back her. Mr. Obama made the remarks after reporters had left the fundraising event that took place in Austin Texas for the democratic national committee. According to the New York Times, White House officials confirmed the report. Bernie Sanders directly responded to this on MSNBC saying that, to suggest he would drop out of the race now before the convention is absurd.

I spoke to Robert McChesney, Professor of Communications at the University of Illinois and coauthor along with John Nichols of the new book People Get Ready. I spoke to him about whether he thought Bernie Sanders still has a chance at securing the democratic nomination and this is what he had to say.

ROBERT MCCHESNEY: I think his chances still are very strong. I think what's happened is by watching conventional media they play this expectations game and they started doing something interesting this year. They added super delegates into the total of delegates which makes Hilary Clinton's lead look overwhelming. In fact, the super delegates are not formally committed into candidates, it can change at any given time. I think it’s highly unlikely if Bernie Sanders were to win the majority of elected delegates, the super delegates would throw it to Hilary and make her the nominee because that would lead to an upheaval in the party, the likes of which the country’s never seen. I think it would guarantee her defeat in the fall.

So if Bernie wins the most delegates I think he'll get the nomination. Super delegates will come over. Can he do it? I think so. There's a couple of things people forget when they look at his situation today. When Bernie Sanders announced to be president in July or June or April or whenever it was in 2015 except for the state of Vermont he was behind by 50 or 60 points in every other state. So it wasn't like they both started at 0 and then she got up to 60, he had up to 40. She started at 85. He started at 2 or 3 or 10 at most. So he's carving away. The way that the schedule was structured, it wasn't intentionally done for this race that way but it's had that effect. They've stacked up a number of states early on where he would have no time to campaign. Where she's well known everyone know and people have no idea who he was and there was no way he could effectively campaign in the south for example and get those votes. Yesterday march 15th or 2 days ago March 15th they then stacked up again 5 major states and he had 1 week to campaign in them.

So you come out of all this and actually he's not looking bad at all. He's not far behind in delegates, elective delegates. He's done amazingly well. The states he's done best in have been high turnout states. The states he's done worst in have been record low turnout states where Hilary has won her great victories as a rule with no exceptions. Now we're looking at a schedule that goes very favorably for Bernie Sanders. I think most people including to my immediate right, will tell you he's favored to win the next 7 primaries or caucuses. That takes us 5 weeks to New York on April 19th.

So if he goes to New York on a 7 or 8 caucus primary winning streak and he's got 2 weeks to campaign in New York, well that will really, could change everything. Well he's far from out of it. The absurdity of this, imagine if Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz or John Kasich had 42% of the elected delegates was favored in the next 6-8 caucuses or primaries so was ahead in the polls and the media were clamoring for this person to get out of the race because they were second place. They would be considered absurd. Bernie Sanders is the only presidential candidate ever who's had this significant of a role, this powerful of a role, and people are saying well you have no hope whatsoever. He has plenty of hope, now he's got to do it. He's got to win these elections. He's got to campaign. He's got to have luck. He's got to make his breaks. But he's very much in the game so I think people who are interested should turn off the cable television and don't listen to these spin masters who have been wrong about everything at all times and actually go out and see what's actually happening and they'll see that Sanders is thriving.

PERIES: That was Robert McChesney and thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.  


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