220,000 people raise $6m for Bernie Sanders in first 24 hours of his campaign

Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders.
John McEvoy

Bernie Sanders has raised $6m within just 24 hours of launching his 2020 presidential campaign. More than 220,000 people have donated an average of $27 – totalling four times as much as previous frontrunner Kamala Harris for first-day donations. “They may have the money and power”, Sanders told supporters on 19 February, but “we have the people”.

And it’s not just Sanders who terrifies the US establishment. It’s the mass movement building around him.

Bernie 2016: reloaded

Sanders’ 2016 bid revolutionised US political campaigning.

Like Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, Sanders energised hundreds of thousands to turn what pundits called a ‘fringe’ campaign into a mass movement. Symbolically, the average campaign donation that Sanders requested in 2016 is the same as this year: $27.

The US media establishment wrote him off. “You say you want a revolution? Sorry, Bernie, not for 27 dollars apiece,” wrote Politico. But once again, Sanders is setting the agenda.

Smears and twisted logic

The closer Sanders gets to the presidency, the more we can expect smears and twisted logic.

  1. Sanders will be tirelessly and viciously smeared as a Russian stooge. Unfortunately, some progressives (Sanders included) are partly responsible for this by promoting the ‘Russiagate’ narrative.
  2. Venezuela’s economic crisis will be used to delegitimise socialism, and therefore Sanders. The Canary has already covered the stupidity of this argument in depth.
  3. Despite being Jewish, Sanders – like intellectual heavyweight Noam Chomsky – will likely face accusations of fuelling or enabling antisemitism.
  4. Sanders will be asked to denounce each and every instance of his supporters’ bad behaviour, or be accused of complicity.
  5. The ‘Bernie doesn’t stand a chance’, ‘Bernie can’t win the African-American and Latino vote’, and ‘Bernie’s too old, white, and male’ brigades will also be out in force.
  6. The Democratic Party will be among his biggest opponents. Its elites rigged the primaries in 2016; so they can’t be trusted not to do it again.

This list is, of course, incomplete.

Sanders is far from perfect. In particular, his record on foreign policy is a particular cause for concern. And since one person is much easier to control than an entire movement, establishment voices will try to direct Sanders in their preferred path through such smears, lies, and twisted logic. If successful, he must never forget the base that elected him.

Featured image via Gage Skidmore

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