The Progressive Bloc: The Mainstream Media’s Mask Has Fallen

MSNBC's Chris Matthews was among the many pundits sounding the doomsday alarm last week now that Bernie Sanders' blowout win in Nevada has solidified him as the Democratic front-runner. (Source: YouTube)

The Progressive Bloc is an opinion column by Contributing Writer Quinton Bradley that discusses politics, society and culture from an unapologetically left-wing perspective.

After pulling off a three-peat in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, Bernie Sanders’ chances of securing the Democratic nomination look ever more possible. In response, Democratic elites and overpaid cable news pundits have spent time making fools of themselves both in print and on camera.

It all began as a steady progression in the aftermath of the Iowa caucus mess up to now where as of this writing, Sanders has absolutely crushed it in the Nevada caucuses, winning 46.8% of the votes with 96% of the total votes being accounted for since the polls closed on Wednesday. Sanders’ lead was so strong during the first night that he was officially declared the winner by NBC, The Associated Press and Fox News mere hours later with barely a fifth of the votes having been reported.

And, of course, news outlet MSNBC has ramped up their disdain of the Vermont senator to cartoonish levels, acting as a Comcast-appointed sock puppet hell-bent on convincing the legion of limousine liberals, technocrats, moderate Dems and suburban wine moms with “#resist” in their Twitter bios making up their viewership that a Sanders presidency would result in the end of America as we know it.

Following Iowa, the usual complaints and insults were voiced over and over. “Electability.” “Hasn’t been vetted yet.” “What about those who like their private insurance?” “What about his health?” Fear-mongering rants accusing Sanders of being partial toward Soviet-style communism were recycled as if they hadn’t already been used back in 2016.

Because, you know, advocating for “radical” things like free universal healthcare, free public college and raising taxes on the wealthy is just like advocating for the abolishment of private property, the elimination of all forms of currency and the support of centralized dictator-style leadership. I’m all but certain that Stalin and Mao would totally agree.

The red-baiting reached Saturday Night Live sketch levels-of-ridiculousness after the New Hampshire Democratic debate when MSNBC’s Chris Matthews implied a parallel between Sanders and communist revolutionary Fidel Castro, suggesting that if Castro and the Soviets had overtaken the U.S. during the Cold War “…there would have been executions in Central Park and I might have been one of the ones getting executed.”

(Source: YouTube)

While host Chris Hayes did his best to mask the smile on his face as Matthews stammered and barked like “that one uncle” at Thanksgiving dinner, Matthews ended his rant with “I don’t know who Bernie supports over these years, I don’t know what he means by socialism…what does he think of Castro?” with Hayes cutting him off to go to commercial break.

Then, as the Nevada caucus results started to slowly trickle in last Wednesday with Sanders showing a commanding lead right out of the gate, the pundit and former Carter administration speechwriter went viral once again, this time comparing Sanders’ blowout victory in Nevada to Nazi Germany’s overthrow of France in 1940 saying,

“I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940…the general, Reynaud, calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over.’ And Churchill says, ‘How can that be? You’ve got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over?’ He said, ‘It’s over.’”

(Source: @abgutman/Twitter)

Since then, there have been calls for Matthews’ resignation online. This marks the second instance this year in which a prominent member of the media has likened Sanders or his supporters to Nazis. The day prior to the New Hampshire primary, MSNBC’s (noticing the pattern?) Chuck Todd, host of Meet the Press, cited an article written by a conservative journalist which referred to the senator’s supporters as a “digital Brownshirt brigade.” The Brownshirts were the paramilitary arm of Hitler’s regime.

In the same fate that would befall Matthews a week later, there were calls for Todd to resign.

Apparently, in the effort to protect the financial interests of billionaires and corporations, aligning a Jewish man—whose own family were wiped out by the Nazis—with Hitler is fair game.

When they weren’t busy acting like Sanders was the reincarnation of Robespierre, MSNBC let the “mask” slip a few times on air. A common talking point among the left (the real left, not the progressive-aesthetics-in-place-of-progressive-policies left) is that if push comes to shove, the corporate-aligned swap monsters within the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic party at large are willing to disrupt Sanders’ likely nomination and install a centrist stooge in his place.

Some have surmised that the true goal for the Democratic establishment is not to defeat President Trump—but rather to stop a potential Sanders presidency. The view is this: yes, Democrats across the board, from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to progressive firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) aim to see Trump out of office, but at the end of the day, establishment Dems are seeking to remove Trump while also ensuring that the assortment of Wall Street donations, corporate lobbyists and backroom deals in place for them is kept intact.

In other words, they want to have their cake and eat it too.

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Leading up to the Nevada caucuses, Democratic mega-donor Steve Cloobeck (a businessman worth $100 million) was asked by MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle if he would support Sanders should his preferred candidate, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, fail to get the nomination.

Without hesitation, with no pretense of the “Vote Blue, No Matter Who” mantra pushed by liberals online who care only about seeing Trump gone, Cloobeck simply replied “Anyone but Bernie.” Even after Ruhle reiterated her question, pointing to the supposed importance Democrats claim to feel when it comes to getting Trump out of office, Cloobeck, defiant, said “Anyone but Bernie.”

(Source: MSNBC/YouTube)

The day of the Nevada Caucuses, Matthews (rearing his head once more) implied on-air that the Democratic establishment may be willing to risk a second Trump term as long as it means keeping Sanders out of the White House.

(Source: @EoinHiggins_/Twitter)

This relates to the big concern going through the minds of many Sanders supporters as he continues to dominate the polls: the superdelegates at the Democratic national convention.

Unlike regular delegates, which are voted for, superdelegates are privately hand-picked. At the convention, should a candidate receive over 50% of the delegates, that person is officially declared the winner of the primary. However, should a candidate receive less than 50% of the delegate’s votes, superdelegates are allowed to step in during a second round of voting and vote as they choose.

This means that even if Sanders is a hair-width away from cinching the majority vote at the convention, the 764 superdelegates on reserve could potentially subvert democracy due to their votes being the only votes that will matter should such an outcome materialize itself.

Because the group of superdelegates will consist of insiders, moderates, party loyalists and D.C. beltway careerists that embody everything wrong with American politics at large, Democrats determined to stop the Vermont senator are viewing the technicality as the final trick up their sleeves.

Despite this possibility, Sanders supporters need to keep pressing forward. Though he earned a massive victory in Nevada, thanks in no small part on behalf of the state’s Latino voters, who are projected to have voted for him by a majority of 51%, the nomination is not in clear reach yet. The attacks have already begun once more, and they won’t be over until we collectively drag him over the finish line to beat Trump this November.

In a moment of rare honesty from a cable news network, MSNBC’s Joy Reid briefly departed from the “Stop Sanders” script in the wake of the Nevada results, acknowledging the fact that working class people at large in this country are fed up with a system that they feel does nothing more than gift proverbial sailboats to the rich and offers cheap, duct-taped flotation devices to the poor while those in the former camp glide along comfortably in the sea of life as members of the latter have to kick and thrash as they desperately attempt to keep their heads above water.

(Source: @BernForBernie20/Twitter)

A day later, Anand Giridharadas, political analyst and one of the nation’s sharpest critics of capitalism, underscored Reid’s point during a head-to-head segment with her.

(Source: @AnandWrites/Twitter)

It’s a shame how much working-class people in this country have to endure just to increase the odds of receiving the free, universal health care that other major countries enjoy, isn’t it?

Quinton Bradley
Contributing Writer

Quinton Bradley is an Ohio-based writer. He runs a blog called Hammers and Papyrus and can be followed on Twitter @QBAbstract.


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