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Bernie Sanders’ Rise Prompts Media Meltdown, Establishment Panic: A Closer Look


-Bernie Sanders won the Nevada caucus
in a landslide on Saturday and, now, some pundits
in the Democratic establishment are panicking
about the possibility that he might be
the Democratic nominee. For more on this,
it’s time for “A Closer Look.” [ Suspenseful theme plays ]
[ Cheering and applause ] Bernie has now won
the popular vote in the first three
primary contests, making him
the clear front-runner, and, now, Politico is reporting
that Bernie sanders has sent the Democratic
establishment into panic mode. And you can tell
because the general tenor of the coverage on cable news
has gone something like this… -NBC News projects Bernie Sanders
the winner in Nevada. -What the [bleep] is going on?! [ Laughter ] [ Applause ] -Pundits across cable news have been freaking out
about Bernie’s rise. For example, you might remember
that, after Bernie won the popular vote in Iowa
and again in New Hampshire, the story wasn’t
that he was winning, but that, if you used pundit
math, he was actually losing. -I don’t understand how Bernie
is considered a front-runner. In New Hampshire,
52% of voters wanted either Pete Buttigieg
or Amy Klobuchar or Joe Biden. Moderates are winning. -Why wasn’t
Buttigieg’s win in Iowa a bigger banner headline? He also has upset Bernie Sanders
in both states. -The story of the night: Amy Klobuchar now
in third place. -The story of the Sanders
campaign, so far, this year, is how much ground he’s lost
from four years ago. -That’s right:
By winning states, Bernie is actually
losing ground. [ Laughter ]
You see, as all expert pundits know, you don’t wanna win
the first two. That’s a rookie mistake, wherein you come off as needy
or, as the kids would say, thirsty.
[ Laughter ] You wanna throw everyone off
by losing a bunch of states, playing it cool,
off to the side, until someone finally says, “Who’s that fellow
with zero delegates?” [ Laughter and applause ] No, seriously. [ Applause ] No, seriously, who is that? [ Laughter ]
Oh! Alright. See, according to the pundits, you don’t actually win the first
two states, like Bernie did. You wanna follow
the Joe Biden path: Come in fourth in Iowa,
fifth in New Hampshire, and a distant second in Nevada. And, on top of all that, just wander over
during a crucial debate [ Laughter ]
and give the front-runner a hug, you know. That’s the first time Biden
ever hugged someone from an angle where
they could see him coming. [ Laughter and ohs ]
And, not only [ Laughter and applause ]
did some pundits insist that Bernie wasn’t actually
the front-runner after winning
the first two states, they also created an elaborate
mythology in their heads where Bernie was only winning
because the so-called moderates were supposedly
splitting the vote. And they kept insisting that,
if the moderates would just coalesce
around one candidate, that candidate could be Bernie. -Bernie Sanders may have
eked out the most votes in Iowa and New Hampshire, but if you look
at the numbers more closely, it shows a candidate
hitting a ceiling. If you look
at the combined percentages among the centrist candidates, they do much better
than the progressives. -When you add up the totals,
though, for Pete Buttigieg,
Amy Klobuchar, and Joe Biden, when you add them up last night, that’s more than half the
electorate backing a moderate. -Buttigieg and Klobuchar
and Biden split the moderate vote,
with their combined percentage overwhelming that of Sanders,
who got 26%. -That’s right: If you just
combine the votes of Buttigieg, Biden, and Klobuchar,
you can beat Bernie. [ Laughter ]
Now, all you have to do is find a way to genetically
combine them into one candidate, called the
Klobu-Biden-Butti-char. [ Laughter and applause ] It’s that’s easy.
And then, all — [ Cheering and applause ] And then, every time
you ask it a question, it has the same answer. What should we do
about healthcare? -We must step forward
into the future. -I’m from Minnesota. -CornPop was a bad dude. -Alright.
[ Laughter ] But the reality is
that most actual voters don’t think like pundits. They don’t divide candidates into a so-called liberal lane
and a moderate lane. In fact, polls have shown
that the top second choice among Biden voters
is actually Bernie. Polls have shown
that Democratic voters are overwhelmingly satisfied
with choices. They don’t divide them up
into lanes. They like them each
for their own reasons. They like Bernie
for his consistency on issues like health care. They like Warren
for taking on big fights against special interests,
like Wall Street. They like Biden for his
eight years as Obama’s VP. They like Buttigieg for his
youthful charm and charisma. They like Klobuchar
for her record in the Senate. And they like Bloomberg because he pays people
to like him. [ Laughter ] Still, before Nevada,
many in the media were desperate to avoid calling Sanders
the front-runner and, in fairness,
only two states, both of them mostly white,
had voted. In fact, even Bernie bristled
at the question of whether he was
the front-runner during a town hall on CNN. -I think it was right before
New Hampshire primary, I asked you, after Iowa,
if you considered yourself the Democratic front-runner. Now, after New Hampshire,
do you? -Who cares?
[ Laughter ] -If Bernie gets elected,
his inauguration is just gonna be
a four-hour open house. [as Sanders]
Stop by, don’t stop by. There’ll be cheese and crackers,
but, you know, maybe eat before you come. [ Laughter and applause ] [ Cheering ]
Say what you will — [ Applause ] [ Whistling ]
Say what you will about the guy, but he does not care
about status. He has one suit that he irons
by running it over with his car, I guess.
[ Laughter ] He shoots lay-ups with two hands and he’s been photographed
in the middle seat in coach and that is the only time
he’s been centrist. [ Laughter ]
But even the pundits and Bernie himself
cannot deny his clear status as the front-runner
after an overwhelming victory in Nevada on Saturday,
the first diverse state to vote in the primary, in which Sanders seemed to win
virtually every demographic. -Sanders, indeed, won a smashing,
across-the-board victory, according to our entrance poll. He won among men and women, college graduates
and non-college graduates, liberals
and moderates/conservatives, union and nonunion members, people who decided early
and people who decided late. In short, Sanders crushed it. [ Laughter ]
-Take a look here among self-described moderate or
conservative Democrats. That’s a third
of this electorate in Nevada. This is what you’re seeing. Sanders is actually leading. -NBC/Wall Street Journal
poll asked, “Who are you most enthusiastic
or comfortable about, when it comes to the
Democratic nominee?” Bernie Sanders leads with 65%. -He was powered by young voters,
Hispanic voters, very liberal, and those
who supported Medicare for All. -Damn, he won union voters,
nonunion voters, young voters, Hispanic voters, men, women, liberals,
and conservatives. And, based on this photo,
he did well with former vice presidents
over 70. [ Laughter ]
And, yet, still, cable news reacted with shock
at Bernie’s success in Nevada. For example,
as results were coming in and it was clear that
young voters and people of color were going overwhelmingly
for Sanders, one anchor at a caucus site audibly sighed
as she reported the results. -[dully]
Largely, people of color. Of those,
the majority are Latino and they are clearly,
at least from eyeballing it, [sigh] strongly in favor [ Laughter ]
of Bernie Sanders, with Joe Biden coming in second. -[laughing]
Oh, my God, with the sigh! [ Applause ]
She’s reporting on Bernie
winning a caucus site the way you tell your parents why your dip[bleep] boyfriend
got fired from his job. [ Laughter ] [dully] “He, uh, well,
he was usin’ the copier and, well, from eyeballin’ it, it looks like he, uh, [sigh] he photocopied his ass and put it up
in the break room.” [ Laughter and applause ]
And then — [ Cheering ] And then, prominent [ Whistling ]
Democratic strategists
and pundits started spinning out on live TV. James Carville, for example,
has been showin’ up nonstop on MSNBC, warning
that nominating Bernie would destroy the party
and even suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin
was rooting for him. -It’s gonna be the end of days,
so I’m scared to death. I really am. There’s a certain part
of the Democratic Party that wants us to be a cult. I’m not interested
in being in a cult. I’m 75 years old. I’m just not
a very culty person. I’m 75 years old. Why am I here, doin’ this? Because I am scared to death.
That’s why. The happiest person right now — It’s about 1:15 Moscow time. This thing is goin’ very well
for Vladimir Putin. I promise you. He’s probably stayin’ up,
watchin’ us right now. How you doin’, Vlad? [ Laughter ]
-Alright. He’s not watching,
but, if he was, he’d probably think this was
a public access puppet show. [ Laughter ] Seriously, James Carville
always looks like he was released naked
into a Louisiana Goodwill and given five minutes
to pick an outfit. [ Laughter and applause ] [ Giggles ] [as Carville]
How this hat look on me? How’s this hat look on me, bad?
I’ll take it. It’s all squashed up
like a bug on my head? Yeah. Like it’s completely
lost its shape? Alright. I’ll take it. [ Laughter ]
And, just as a reminder of Carville’s track record: In 2008, he said
then-Senator Barack Obama was unelectable
and attacked him to the point where even Obama hit back
and said James Carville is well-known
for spouting off his mouth without always knowing
what he’s talking about. In fact, Obama was specifically
responding to this comment Carville made
about Hillary and Obama — and this is a real quote — “If she gave him one
of her cojones, they’d both have two.” [ Laughter and ohs ]
Alright. I’m havin’ trouble
following the logic here. So that means [laughing] she was starting
with three cojones? [ Laughter ] Yet, somehow, that wasn’t even the most unhinged response
to Bernie’s win. Chris Matthews actually compared
Bernie’s victory in Nevada to the Nazi invasion of France
during World War II. -I’m reading last night
about the fall of France in the summer of 1940
and the general, Reynaud, calls up Churchill and says,
“It’s over.” And Churchill says,
“How can it be? You got the greatest army
in Europe. How can it be over?” He said, “It’s over.” So I had
that suppressed feeling. I can’t be as wild as Carville,
but he is damn smart and I think he’s damn right
on this one. -As a general rule, anytime
a man of Matthews’ age starts a sentence with,
“I was reading last night about the fall of France
in 1940,” that’s your queue
to exit the conversation. [ Laughter ] He’s like your senile grandpa, screaming into the phone
on FaceTime: “They banned me
from the golf course for not fixin’ my divots! This is just like 1940,
when the Nazis…!” [ Laughter and applause ]
Alright, alright. Talk to ya later, Grandpa. [ Cheering and applause ]
And, somehow — [laughing] Somehow, [ Whistle ]
this isn’t the most insane thing Matthews has said about Bernie. After Bernie’s win
in New Hampshire, you might recall, Matthews went
on another deranged tear, that had somethin’ to do
with Communists executing him in Central Park
or something. It was so incoherent,
his fellow anchor Chris Hayes had to chime in
to offer some sense. -I have my own views
of the word socialist and I’ll be glad to tell them,
share them with you in private. [ Laughter ]
And they go back
to the early 1950s. I have an attitude about them. I remember the Cold War. I have an attitude
towards Castro. I believe, if Castro and the
reds had won the Cold War, there would have been
executions in Central Park and I might’ve been one
of the ones getting executed. And certain other people
would be there, cheering, okay? So I have a problem with people
who took the other side. I don’t know who Bernie
supports over these years. I don’t know what he means
by socialism. One week, it’s Denmark. We’re gonna be like Denmark. Okay. That’s harmless. It’s basically
a capitalist country with a lotta good
social welfare programs. Denmark is harmless.
-He’s pretty clearly in the Denmark category.
-Is he? -Yeah.
-Are you sure? How do you know? Did he tell you that? -Well, I mean,
that’s what he says and that’s what his agenda
calls for. -Just as a reminder, that whole
thing started with this… -I have my own views
of the word socialist and I’ll be glad to tell them,
share them with you in private. [ Laughter ] -Chris Matthews
is definitely a guy who says he’ll share his
thoughts with you in private and then talks to you in public
for a full minute. [ Laughter and applause ]
[as Matthews] I’ll tell you what I think about this movie
later, in private. It sucks! [ Laughter and applause ] By the way,
Bernie is not the first strong progressive candidate
to come under fire from centrist pundits in the
Democratic establishment. When Elizabeth Warren
was soaring in the polls and seen as the front-runner, we got story after story
about how Wall Street and Democratic donors
were panicking. Cable news shows rolled
one clip after another of billionaires freaking out
about her plans. And that’s because they perceive
both Bernie and Warren as threats to their livelihoods
and their way of thinking. Regardless of how you feel
about any particular candidates, if you’re a pundit,
you might wanna ask why so many voters are flocking
to Bernie Sanders and, yet, when you ask them if they’re
at least curious to find out why Bernie
is doing so well, they say… -Who cares? [ Laughter ]
-This has been “A Closer Look.” ♪♪
[ Cheering and applause ] ♪♪
[ Whistling ]

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