U.S. ‘Progressive’ Magazines Deep-Sixed Senator Sanders’s Incipient Presidential Campaign

Eric Zuesse

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont might be the most progressive of all U.S. Senators – only two Senators are even contenders for that spot, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Elizabeth Warren of Massachussetts, and neither of them has campaigned at all for the Presidency.

Only Sanders even tested the waters. On 17 September 2014, Paul Heintz of Vermont’s weekly newspaper Seven Days, headlined, “‘Run, Bernie, Run’: In Iowa, Sanders Tests the Presidential Waters,” and opened: “The crowd went wild Saturday afternoon [13 Sep.] as Bernie Sanders ascended a makeshift plywood stage at the Sauk County Fairgrounds in Baraboo, Wisconsin. … ‘Run, Bernie, run! Run, Bernie, run!’” Heintz noted that, later on the same day, in Iowa, Sanders addressed students at Dubuque’s Clarke University. Then, the next day, on Sunday morning, he was at Waterloo Iowa’s Center for the Arts. 

Already, he had tested the campaign waters in Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Hampshire, and other states, and received enthusiastic receptions everywhere, even in the deep South where Democrats rarely win. Heintz spoke to David Yepsen, a veteran political reporter in Iowa, who said, “I think he’ll run.” That was as of 17 September 2014. 

Then, on 30 April 2015, in a terrific MSNBC interview with Ed Schultz, Sanders said that he would run, and he explained why; and on May 26th, he officially kicked off his campaign, with a wildly enthusiastic event in Burlington Vermont, where his political career had started in 1981 as Mayor. 

All this while, Sanders was one of the leaders in the Senate in opposing Obama’s ‘trade’ deals, and, earlier, pressing Obama to support more strongly a public option in the healthcare exchanges, and on many other matters. He has hardly been an inactive Senator, such as Hillary Clinton was. Instead, he was always one of the leaders of the Senate’s progressives.

How much coverage were America’s supposedly ‘progressive’ magazines providing of this? Nothing before he started making noises about a possible Presidential run, and little even after that.

Here are the “Sanders” search-results as of 11 May 2015, at the magazines that claim to be ‘progressive’ – and this is everything, going back not only before 2015, but before 2014: it’s everything at every period. They ignored him up through 2013, and covered him little during 2014 and 2015, while he has been campaigning nationally.


The Nation Deep-Sixes Sanders’s Campaign

30.Apr.2015   http://www.thenation.com/blog/205865/6-degrees-separation-between-bernie-sanders-and-hillary-clinton

5.May.2015 http://www.thenation.com/article/206521/bernies-race

13.May.2014 http://www.thenation.com/article/179837/bernie-sanders-could-be-2016-democratic-candidate-weve-all-been-waiting

6.Mar.2014  www.thenation.com/blog/178717/bernie-sanders-i-am-prepared-run-president-united-states


Mother Jones Deep-Sixes Sanders’s Campaign

30.Apr.2015 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/04/sen-bernie-sanders-running-president-greatest-hits

30.Apr.2015 http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/bernie-sanders-hillary-clinton-democrat-2016-press-questions

2.Apr.2015 http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/bernie-sanders-inequality-president-interview

6.Nov.2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/11/bernie-sanders-big-money-election-spending


The Progressive Deep-Sixes Sanders’s Campaign

8.Oct.2104 http://www.progressive.org/news/2014/10/187877/highlights-fighting-bob-fest-senator-bernie-sanders

      (That’s a speech he gave in Wisconsin.)


American Prospect Deep-Sixes Sanders’s Campaign

nothing after 2011


But, there is one exception (although it was only very late and very sudden):

In These Times Endorses Sanders for President

30.Apr.2015 http://inthesetimes.com/article/17893/bernie-sanders-a-candidate-worth-voting-for

6.Apr.2015 http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17814/bernie_sanders_endorses_chuy_garcia_in_chicago_mayoral_election

26.Jan.2015 http://inthesetimes.com/article/17572/bernie_sanders_president


He was the only progressive who was even testing the waters for a possible 2016 Presidential bid, and these were the 5 ‘progressive’ national political magazines, and so no wonder, then, why it was that as of his official kick-off date of 26 May 2015, he was so little known to the American public that he didn’t even show up at all in the 2016 Presidential polls. 

He was an unknown even though he has more political experience than either of the other two Senate progressives, and even though he has been campaigning, already, for almost a year. 

These five magazines are the only five national progressive political magazines; and, so, they’re the ones that should have been devoting major attention to him, both in the Senate and on the prospective campaign trail, yet only one actually did, and even that one started on 26 Jan. 2015, months after he had started “testing the waters.”

Here is NBC Nightly News on 12 April 2015, the day that Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy.

None of the network national news shows covered the Sanders 26 May 2015 kick-off event, even though NBC News did have a van there. Here is NBC News’s Politicall Director Chuck Todd, saying that Sanders is just an idealistic sideshow to the 2016 race. “He may not be able to win Iowa, or even get 15% in Iowa.”

The ‘progressive’ magazines were doing nothing to help ‘their’ person to overcome the contempt that dripped from the mainstream ‘news’ media against him.

So: on which side do the ‘progressive’ magazines actually weigh?


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.