On It Goes

revolutiona sudden, extreme, or complete change in the way people live, work, etc.

congratulations to Bernie Sanders. He won the expectations game last night. Good for him. But jeez, is it too much to ask that he tone down the rhetoric just a bit?  Here’s what Bernie said after his 1.5 percentage point victory in Michigan last night:

What tonight means is that the Bernie Sanders campaign, the people’s revolution that we are talking about, the political revolution that we are talking about, is strong in every part of the country, and frankly we believe that are strongest parts are yet to come.

Revolution? Oh, my.

Since Bernie had been in bed when the race was called late last night and had to get up and make the above statement, perhaps we can and should forgive him for still being in a dream state.

Today, in the freshness of morning, we can and should look at the real world, as brought to us by the Associated Press:

ap delegate count

As you can see, Hillary Clinton is more than half way to becoming the Democratic Party nominee. Ouch.

When someone, especially a politician, tells us there is a political revolution going on and it is “strong in every part of the country,” we should be able to easily see the evidence. It should be everywhere. But as the graphic above illustrates, there ain’t much of a revolution going on. There is a campaign.  A political contest. And right now one side is crushing the other side in the race for delegates—the only race that matters—and the side getting crushed is the side that keeps talking about a revolution. Obviously, talking about a revolution is not the same as producing one.

Bernie SandersBernie squeaked out an unexpected victory in Michigan last night—getting just short of 50% of the vote—a state to which he committed a lot of time and resources because a loss would have been devastating. Simultaneously, he got thoroughly crushed in Mississippi. If Bernie’s “people’s revolution” is “strong in every part of the country,” apparently he doesn’t consider the people in Mississippi (where he got less than 17% of the vote) as part of the country. Or Louisiana (he got 23%) or Virginia (35%) or Texas (33%) or Tennessee (32%) or Arkansas (30%) or Alabama (19%) or Georgia (28%) or South Carolina (26%). Combined with Hillary’s narrower wins in Massachusetts, Nevada, and Iowa, the one thing we can say with certainty is that Bernie’s campaign isn’t revolutionary-strong in every part of the country.

But last night Bernie did win in an important general election state. I will give him that. As I said, he beat expectations, which is what you have to do these days, since journalists thrive on setting up expectations and then announcing this or that candidate “failed” to meet them and thus everyone is “shocked” by the results. That’s how the media game is played.

But the real result of Bernie’s earnest efforts last night was that his opponent won 17 or 18 more delegates than he did. And I’m pretty sure that doesn’t, at least arithmetically, qualify as a revolution, “strong in every part of the country” or otherwise. But it does mean that Bernie has some momentum and, although the biggest of underdogs, is still in the race for the nomination. And while that fact isn’t revolutionary, it does mean this thing will go on and on and on.

[Photo credit: Associated Press]




  1. Guinness

     /  March 9, 2016

    I am going to vote for Sanders in NC but fully expect Clinton to win the nomination. I happen to like the idea of revolution and he speaks to many of the Occupy Wall Street folks who never had “leader”, except perhaps Elizabeth Warren. I still wonder if the whole email thing will become bigger than it is for Clinton?


    • John,

      The “idea” of revolution is one thing. The actual revolution is another. Just ask the French, whose famous “people’s revolution,” began with a lot of loose heads and ended in a dictatorship. In Bernie’s case, thankfully, he has something a little more modest in mind, and behind such a revolution I would be, if it were possible here in the U.S. in these times. I just don’t see the possibility.
      In any case, I wonder about the email thing, too. But if all there is to it is what we know at this point, then there isn’t much to worry about. I suspect that in the end we will not see much, in terms of legal jeopardy, come out of it, though we can expect, with absolute certainty, that Republicans will beat that drum nonstop until November.



  2. Let’s see, the American Revolution started around 1765. Colonists were still loyal, but send letters pleading for change. Governors had the authority to dissolve assemblies for sending such letters. By 1770, riots began to occur, but the Boston Tea Party didn’t occur until the end of 1773. Sudden for revolutions should be taken on a historic scale. Occupy Wall Street was in 2011, so relative to the American Revolution, what’s happening now is relatively calm and a little bit slower. Meanwhile the Republican Tea Party which began in 2009 basically settled into an astroturf racist organization rather than an actual revolution.

    Frankly I want to know WHY you would want to prevent or even slow down this sort of change?


    • First, you think I don’t want most of the things that Bernie envisions? I’ve said so repeatedly. This is about how to get there and the risks involved, should we choose the wrong candidate to represent us this summer.

      Second, when you compare the American Revolution to “what is happening now,” I have to ask you: are you kidding? We were fighting for independence from what was, essentially, a quasi-foreign government by that time. Next, please look at just “what is happening now.” There ain’t no revolution. There is a Democratic primary in which the democratic socialist is making some noise, but is, as of now, still getting soundly beaten in a party that is predisposed to believe in his radical ideas! Far from there being a wider and much more difficult to achieve general political revolution, there isn’t even one in the Democratic Party at this point. Maybe you guys had better win the nomination first before you start talking about revolutions is all I’m sayin’. Then all of us, including me, will jump on board and see what happens. 


      • I look at my comment where I say what’s happening is calm and slow and you slam me for making the comparison.

        I close with a simple question which you predictably ignore, well you say “risk” which is a euphemism for fear, a word I’ve heard many times from *failed* entrepreneurs.

        Your own words are my case.


  3. It is depressing to watch once more a charade rather than an election. I suppose it is comforting to stay in the rut.


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