No, the Democratic primary is not a two-man race

Truth is, it is Bernie Sanders versus Joe Biden and the corporate media know-it-alls.

Biden vs Sanders Reuters
Democratic presidential candidates former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders participate in a debate in Atlanta, Georgia on November 20, 2019 [Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters]

We are told by the corporate media know-it-alls that the contest to become the Democratic nominee for president is now a two-man race. 

Never mind that the know-it-alls have, in the past, been so wrong, so often about so many things and have proven time and again during the long, often erratic campaign to select Donald Trump’s opponent in 2020 that they are about as adept at picking who will ultimately prevail as you or me. 

Remember way back, when the know-it-alls insisted that polls showed that Joe Biden had it won before the heats had even begun and he just needed to survive the TV debates to be officially crowned nominee?

Remember when Biden got spanked during a debate by Kamala Harris over his record on desegregation school busing and the know-it-alls said the Democratic senator had seized the momentum having knocked him out of the park with her potent “that little girl was me” retort? 

Remember when Harris soon vanished and the know-it-alls said former Mayor Pete Buttigieg had grasped the momentum after his “surprise” win in the Iowa caucuses and Biden looked frail and spent?

Remember when the know-it-alls hailed billionaire Michael Bloomberg as the tiny, perfect saviour while Biden, unsure, and, at times, incoherent, continued to falter?

Remember when the know-it-alls said the tiny, perfect billionaire saviour’s political fortunes sank faster than the Dow Jones index after Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren likened Bloomberg’s foul sexism to Trump’s?    

Remember when, after Sanders’s early string of primary victories, the know-it-alls churned out an assembly-line of hyperbolic, end-is-neigh columns to convince readers the Vermont Senator is an older, beardless version of Che Guevara, to stall his crescendo-like momentum?

Well, not only do the corporate media know-it-alls suck at being know-it-alls, but they are fibbing about what they claim to know after Biden’s Super Tuesday resurgence. 

This is not a “duel” between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. The new “narrative” pushed by the know-it-alls implies that Biden and Sanders are competing for voters on equal footing without, of course, the know-it-alls planting a big, collective finger on the scale in favour of their favourite son.   

Look, Biden was, is and will always be their guy. Sure, he may have frightened, bewildered and disappointed them along the unpredictable way, but the political axis has righted itself. So, it is back to pumping Biden’s once deflated tyres as the only man capable of beating Trump. 

Truth is, it is Sanders versus Biden and the corporate media know-it-alls. 

The former vice-president is their guy because the know-it-alls are, like Biden himself, the cliche-spouting embodiment of the status quo.  

It does not matter that Biden has not offered what could even be remotely considered a novel idea to address the pessimism of so many young and working-class Americans burdened by astounding college and medical debts, the unfolding climate catastrophe or how to stop a handful of already uber-rich families from hoarding more of the country’s wealth. 

It does not matter to the know-it-alls that Biden voted for endless, ruinous wars in the name of US exceptionalism and imperialism, since they have spent their careers in the unflinching service of US exceptionalism and imperialism. 

None of it matters because, apparently, all the know-it-alls pine for is a return to the “normalcy” that Biden will, they are convinced, deliver. You know, those happy, bygone days when US presidents ordered soldiers to kill with a patina of profundity and saluted when generals asked for more money, while gutting social-welfare programmes to staunch the once “unsustainable” national debt. 

In this context, what offends the know-it-alls’ sensibilities is not what Trump has done at home and abroad since, despite all the anguished rhetoric, it is the same stuff other presidents have done at home and abroad. What offends the know-it-alls is the vulgar, illiterate way Trump has done what he has done.    

The know-it-alls are content for the president to enrich the rich, vilify the poor, and wage war as long as the president pretends to be gracious, dignified and a champion of democracy.   

Any politician who says, does or promises to do anything outside their centrist-hugging terrain is dismissed as a dangerous “insurgent” who not only threatens the status quo, but is unelectable. 

There have been exceptions to this rule. Remember when the corporate media know-it-alls enjoyed a brief love affair in 1992 with Texas billionaire, Ross Perot?

The “plain-talking,” balanced-budget-touting, anti-establishment “populist” skyrocketed in presidential public opinion polls after he was feted by the know-it-alls as a refreshing political phenomenon who seemed poised to break the “stranglehold” of America’s two-party system.               

Perot’s “populist” credentials were not considered a tangible threat to the existing political orthodoxy because his aw, shucks brand of libertarianism was well within the acceptable bounds of the sliver of centrism that the know-it-alls occupy and adore. 

Ross Perot was a lovable “insurgent.” 

Alas, the know-it-alls quickly fell out of love with Perot after he entered the Twilight Zone and announced he had “discovered” a GOP-engineered “plot” to smear his daughter with a fake photograph on the eve of her wedding. 

For the know-it-alls, Sanders poses a real, formidable danger to the prevailing political and economic order. As such, the know-it-alls have devoted oodles of time and space on their platforms in corporate media not only to tar Sanders as a “scary,” closet Trotskyite, but to annihilate him politically. 

If you think I am exaggerating, then you have not been paying much attention to the berserk vitriol the know-it-alls have been hurling at Sanders, hoping that much of it sticks. 

Still, the most defamatory of the know-it-alls’ barrage of assaults on Sanders is the suggestion that he is the left’s facsimile of Trump: a scheming, egocentric socialist harnessing rampant anger and resentment to propel himself into the presidency.  

It is a lie. Sanders is the antithesis of Trump. He thinks. He reads. He learns. He cares. His pledge to act and serve as a transformative president for the many, not just the few, is transparently sincere.   

And, despite the know-it-alls, he can win.       

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.