In 1932, a former Democratic governor of New York, named Franklin D. Roosevelt, was given a slim chance of winning his party’s nomination for the presidency. He campaigned hard (and history tells us just how physically grueling it was for him as a polio sufferer) but he arrived at the convention without the necessary two-thirds of the delegates needed to win on the first ballot. After promising the vice-presidential position to Speaker of the House John Nance Garner, Roosevelt “garnered” the necessary delegates to swing the nomination on the fourth ballot.
That contested convention led to FDR becoming the Democratic nominee four times and president for twelve years–a record which stands to this day. Roosevelt was seen as a maverick (just as Bernie Sanders is) because he proposed that America could only overcome the economic crisis of the Great Depression by allowing the federal government to play a bigger role in resuscitating the economy. By easing the burden of ordinary Americans, unemployed and standing in soup lines, FDR’s “New Deal” would grant opportunities to all to thrive and prosper.
Many forget that FDR “nominated” (or endorsed) his opponent Al Smith on the first round of the convention in 1932, yet it was Roosevelt who eventually got the nod and went on to win the presidency four times. Eighty-four years later, we seem to have forgotten just how contentious Democratic conventions are. We can blame this on poorly-written history texts, but the majority of the blame rests on the mainstream media of today and how it attempts to color the process in order to please the parties. Modern major political parties want everything at the convention to look “perfect” and “calm” and “unanimous,” but history shows they were anything but and we know human nature hasn’t really changed.
But why does blame rest on the mainstream media for this false sense of how politics is played out in front of voters? Simply put, it’s because they keep a lot of the actual facts to themselves and present only what they feel the public needs to know. Ninety percent of what Americans watch, read or listen to in the realm of “news” is owned by six corporations. These handful of corporate media owners don’t appreciate candidates who point out the vast sums of money they give to other candidates in order to maintain their media monopolies, which Bernie Sanders and his “Berniecrats” have repeatedly pointed out. So, corporate media just doesn’t cover stories about progressives, hoping the voters remain in the dark.
The major political parties in the U.S. are quite partial to these corporate media funds, too. They don’t want voters to know how much they’re influenced by these big six corporations, but it has become obvious over time, as paid-for politicians are quick to do their corporate masters’ bidding. For example, Time Warner, parent company of CNN, is listed as Hillary Clinton’s eighth largest donor, just behind Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. (http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cycle=Career&cid=N00000019) Why would CNN say or do anything that would upset their bought-off candidate and jeopardize their “in” with her? Corporate media does as they’re told so the laws remain in their favor, not the public’s favor.
But the corporate media’s attempt to trick us into thinking Bernie Sanders’ run for the White House is over has failed. Historians and informed voters know better. Here’s why: as per DNC rules, a candidate with an active campaign (and Bernie’s campaign has not been suspended) is not allowed to deny the endorsement of another campaign. Doing so would result in forfeiture of said candidate’s superdelegate status and loss of access to the convention floor stage. In other words, in order to take the stage and speak to the entire convention in Philadelphia, Bernie has to play the DNC’s game in regards to the “presumptive nominee” and “endorse” her. Franklin D. Roosevelt did likewise in 1932 so he could address the convention, too, and he went on to win the nomination and the presidency by a landslide that same year.
See how the game is played?
To use a tired cliché, “It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.” Bernie Sanders promised his supporters he would take us to the convention. His surrogates have been fighting hard these past few weeks to bring about a progressive platform to present to the Democratic Party and they have achieved many successes. Bernie’s 1900+ delegates have been contacted and asked if they need assistance in getting to and from the convention in Philadelphia. He wants everyone to be there because he’ll need them when the roll call begins. These aren’t the actions of a someone who has given up, but of a player who is still very much in the game. To return to the cliche, the “fat lady” hasn’t sung and taken her final curtain call yet, but it could be coming soon.
The over-arching strategy of Bernie Sanders and his progressive Political Revolution is awe-inspiring. It will only become more so in the next few weeks. Watch and see for yourself.
Bio: Cindy A. Matthews is a freelance writer, novelist and editor of The Bernie Blog. http://bernie2016.blogspot.com