Monday, Bernie Sanders live-streamed a town hall on economic inequality, oligarchy, and the collapse of the middle class. More than 1.7 million people watched Sanders and co-hosts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, filmmaker Michael Moore, and New School economist Darrick Hamilton. Sanders has done issues town halls before with CNN (like this on taxes in 2017). But this time, like his healthcare event, he’s skirting big media for non-traditional platforms; The Guardian, Young Turks, NowThis,
Bernie’s town hall beat CNN’s ratings; their 966,000 viewers (for entire primetime) vs. his 1.7 million (90 minutes). Pretty good for an economics lesson. Both Sanders and Moore addressed corporate media’s limitations.
Healthcare, economic inequality; these were issues that drove the groundswell behind Bernie’s 2016 campaign, and Sanders’ frank talk with struggling, hardworking families resonated both with and beyond Dem-loyal voters. You can make a good case that in the wreckage of Hillary’s ’can’t lose’ campaign and the corruption it exposed in the Party, progressive voices like Sanders and Warren are the leading edge, defining the party’s path forward. We don’t get to what’s-next unless 2018 is a bloodbath for congressional Republicans, who deserve one. But we still need vision; 2016 teaches us that just spotlighting how bad the other guys are isn’t a strong enough strategy.
Take healthcare: Nobody signed to Sanders’ Medicare-for-all in 2014. And the Party followed Hillary’s lead opposing it in 2016. But now, after the resistance movement cut its teeth putting down Trump/GOP’s move to destroy Obamacare, expectations ramp higher. One-third of Senate Dems signed on to co-sponsor Sanders’ bill, including 2020 hopefuls; Sanders and Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand. Plus 60% of the House Dem caucus signed on to Rep. John Conyers’ HR 676, which he introduced every congress for years (Conyers has since departed the Hill). Is this all about mollifying progressives so a Party resistant to reform can distract us while promoting a whole new class of lifeless Democrats? Mebbe. I dunno. I’m not sure it matters. This has always been an uphill climb. The difference now may be more climbers.
Here’s “Inequality in America: The Rise of Oligarchy and Collapse of the Middle Class”: Opt out of the ad after 5 seconds, then skip to 20 minutes for the event start: