What ‘Stop Sanders’ Really Means.
Talk of stopping the democratic frontrunner feels as though it’s more about stopping his supporters.
As Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders further cements his frontrunner status in the Democratic primary with an overwhelming victory in Nevada that showcased the undeniable diversity and coalition of his support, pundits on mainstream media outlets continued to discuss what the other democrats running have to do in order to “stop him” from getting the Democratic nomination. Throughout this entire primary the ‘stop Sanders’ narrative has remained incredibly persistent, and the longer it continues it only becomes more clear that it is not about stopping Bernie himself, but his supporters as well.
As the results of the Nevada primary were coming in, MSNBC’s Joy Reid said “we have underestimated the sheer unadulterated rage, the anger, of working class people especially young people…They’re turning the tables over, and they don’t care what the potential result is…No one else is as hungry, angry, enraged, and determined as Sanders voters. Democrats need to sober up, and figure out what the hell they’re gonna do about that.” The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin joined in the calls to figure out how to stop him in a recent piece, outlining “steps Democrats can take to save the party and the country”.
These are just the latest of the ‘stop Sanders’ rallying cries, but among the most controversial came to light back in April of 2019. It was revealed that party leadership such as Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and even his fellow Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg had attended “a series of dinners” organized by party financier Brian Schwartz about how stop Bernie from becoming the democratic nominee.
Bernie’s ability to bring out the latino vote in unprecedented ways in Nevada shows the vast support from a broad and diverse coalition that Democrats have spent decades arguing is necessary in order for them to achieve electoral success. So one can’t help wondering why many of the most prominent pundits and leaders are so determined to stop it. As Bernie continues to not just maintain but widen his lead, at what point do we acknowledge that to some pundits and members of the democratic party leadership, stopping Bernie Sanders is more important than coming to terms with why he has risen in the first place?
The fact that this has continued even after Bernie proved the strength of his support following the Nevada win seems to indicate that it has never been about fears of “electability”. Not only does the ‘stop Sanders’ discourse stoke the already heightened division in the democratic party, it indicates that the democratic establishment is legitimately afraid of working class people flexing their political muscle, and realizing the power that they have when they organize together. Discussing how to stop the clear Democratic frontrunner serves as a disappointing reminder that certain Democrats would turn their backs on this historic movement rather than hear their concerns about the party and the direction the country has taken overall.
Hopefully in the future, democrats will be able to acknowledge the importance of the grassroots movement that Bernie has built, acknowledge, and embrace it rather than attempt to thwart it.