For those of you not engaged in Fourth of July preparations here and abroad, we have some reading with caveats about one of our favorite Senators- who- isn't- a- Democrat, Bernie Sanders (I-VT). First, Martin Longman (BooMan) warns against "irrational exuberance" (no-pologies to Alan Greenspan) for Sanders' supporters:
I’m apprehensive about any effort to temper the enthusiasm of Bernie’s supporters, because all the goals I just mentioned are worthwhile and perhaps within reach, but a few larger-than-expected rallies and a lot of small donors shouldn’t get anyone irrationally exuberant. By the only metrics we have, Bernie is exceeding expectations and doing great. If you want to get onboard the Bernie train, do it so this can mean something and have a lasting positive effect. But don’t get thinking that Bernie is going to slay all the lions arrayed against him and win the nomination or the presidency. That’s not what his campaign is about.What Sanders' campaign is about is to bring progressive issues to the fore (you know, ones the majority of the public agree on, like campaign finance reform, single-payer health insurance, raising the minimum wage, and tax reform) and to establish an effective, sustained progressive campaign apparatus that will outlast this election cycle. He's rousting the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" and has already had a far greater impact than many would have expected when he began his campaign. He'll continue to influence the direction of the Democratic Party in a positive way for as long as he's in the race. But. He's not going to be the nominee. That he will shape the party and the party's message perhaps more than the person who will be the nominee will be a source of lasting satisfaction to him and to progressives generally.
Meanwhile, Joan Walsh discusses why the media has a stake in Sanders' campaign (cough= horse race =cough= Clinton-haters =cough=), and how Sanders isn't someone to be shunned, unlike the wig-stand running second in the polls in the Republican Party:
But the rise of Sanders, alongside that of the GOP’s surging star, blustering racist Donald Trump, also shows the media the difference between the ideological moorings of the folks who make up the Democratic and Republican base. The Democrats have a lot of lefties, FDR Democrats, folks who want single payer health insurance, people who think we can learn from Western Europe not stigmatize it — and yes, Sanders excites them. On the GOP side, there is a loud, large, angry segment of the GOP base that’s frankly xenophobic, nativist, even racist. Trump speaks to them.
Sanders and Trump thus offer different kinds of challenges to their party rivals. [snip]
By contrast, Hillary Clinton can afford to welcome Sanders’ candidacy, and even endorse a lot of his platform. As Jim Newell points out here, she’s enormously popular even among Sanders supporters in Iowa. And Sanders isn’t the polarizing figure that Trump is. He’s good for the Democratic Party — and for socialism too. He explains it in simple terms. He points to the strong, social democratic economies of Western Europe, not the USSR. And his rising popularity shows that millennials and other voters too young to remember the Cold War aren’t going to be red-scared away from Sanders because of the socialist label.As Walsh points out, the media's sudden love for Bernie will dissipate once Hillary is nominated, and what the media loved or glossed over in his message they will find dangerous (socialist!) and questionable as Hillary adopts virtually the same platform. Why? Because as Walsh puts it, they're "lazy and apolitical political reporters who love horse races and hate the Clintons."