The Canary recently spoke to the Intercept‘s Ryan Grim about his new book – We’ve Got People: From Jesse Jackson to AOC, the End of Big Money and the Rise of a Movement. And he explained how “corporate America is pushing back” against progressive presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders because of the threat he represents to their power.
Alternative political funding is essential
Grim described how, in his book, he looks at “conflicting approaches toward building a political movement withinside a political party”. He highlighted how money is essential to doing this in the US. “In the late 1970s, early 1980s, the Democratic Party turned toward big money”, he said, in an attempt to compete with the Republicans. But this resulted in the party becoming “much more friendly to the corporations that it was now hitting up for money”.
The counter-movement… is small dollars from individual people who are giving five to 10 dollars a month to keep campaigns going. And they, in turn, produce entirely different politics.
Grim elaborated by talking about ActBlue – a “platform that almost exclusively serves as a vehicle through which small donors give their money to Democratic campaigns”. He said:
it took ActBlue, which was founded in the early 2000s, maybe 15 years to raise their first billion dollars. And then it took just one more year after that to raise its second billion dollars. So the numbers are climbing exponentially to the point where they are now able to not just counter / balance out big money, but in fact – in this presidential race – to beat it.
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The current media environment, however, is “highly dangerous”
Grim also addressed Sanders’s criticism of the media, saying:
I think it’s fair as criticism. I think it’s not fair as complaint. Sanders wants to overthrow the reigning political establisment and its alliance with corporate America. You can’t expect the political establishment and corporate America to just roll over and allow that to happen. So I think, for very good reasons, corporate America is pushing back against Sanders. He is a threat to them. And I don’t see his criticism as remotely really controversial.
He then emphasised that:
The media situation in the United States is a disaster. … We’re at a place where a significant amount of the news outlets today are funded and owned by billionaires…
It’s highly dangerous, long-term, for the country – no doubt about it.
Imagine if the media wasn’t against Sanders…
It’s really incredible that, given how biased the media is, that Bernie has any support. Imagine how well he’d be doing if the media weren’t dedicated to totally smearing him.
She stressed in particular that:
The thing about the Post and Politico and the New York Times is they are so shameless in their hatred of Sanders they don’t even hide it … The Washington Post famously had 16 negative Sanders stories within 16 hours. Jennifer Rubin writes, I think, two pieces, one day apart, slamming Bernie. It is like they are addicts. They don’t even know how to cover it up anymore.
And she argued:
Two massive issues
Media bias and political funding are two giant issues in US politics. And they will continue to be a major obstacle for Sanders (and all progressives) for the foreseeable future. But the fightback has already begun.
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