It has often been argued that people in the world of politics live in their own bubble, guided by partisan ideology that is regularly disconnected from reality.
Nothing is more indicative of that than the inability of Democrats to see that pushing through, or as many have accused them, engineering the nomination of a critically flawed and divisive candidate such as Hillary Clinton could spectacularly backfire on them.
Bernie Sanders’ surge in politics was one of the more inspiring stories of this election cycle, but his campaign that had been organically developed right from the grassroots to the top, and was gaining momentum nationwide, filled with positive energy, never stood a chance if the DNC, which is supposed to be neutral, bent over backwards to undermine it and provide assistance to his opponent, as has been alleged by many of his supporters.
Not only was Sanders a more popular option with the independents, he did not carry any of the baggage or distractions that Hillary brought to the table.
Many people have been blaming third party candidates for these turn of events, but the only people to blame for the Democratic nominee losing the general election are the DNC and the media.
First, they painted the picture that Sanders would never be able to win enough votes to become the Democratic nominee, and that a vote for Sanders was a wasted vote. Many networks and analysts chose to portray Hillary’s nominations as a sure thing, including superdelegates to their count to boost that perception.
When Sanders’ campaign continued its upward trajectory, they tried spinning the narrative that Sanders would never be able to beat the Republican nominee, only Hillary would.
A concerted effort was made to tarnish a whole movement that was built on progressive values and social justice as one consisting solely of sexist white men unable to accept Hillary as President, or ‘Bernie Bros’.
The media ran distorted stories of Bernie supporters being violent or abrasive or sexist, which were often later debunked, but with the damage already being done.
The alleged smear campaign and dirty tactics put off a lot of Bernie supporting Democrats, as well as neutral Independents watching the primaries.
As many pointed out though, it turned out that Bernie wasn’t the unelectable one, it was actually Hillary Clinton.
Pundits on television and the DNC are now trying to blame Hillary’s loss on sexism. Unfortunately, when over half of white women and over 40% of women in general chose to vote against Hillary, that argument just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
Whilst sexism, bigotry and racism may have had an influence on the way people voted, at the end of the day, it boils down to the fact that people just did not like Hillary.
The arrogance that goes into nominating a candidate people don’t like but still expecting them to vote for her only because of fear that the opposing candidate could be worse is astounding.
But it is this very arrogance that is the undoing of those in power. Unfortunately, the people that pay for it are those who are already suffering- the minorities or the disadvantaged.
Jeremy Corbyn faces very similar circumstances in the United Kingdom. Despite being voted into power with overwhelming support from the Labour members, a faction of MPs and Labour party workers decided not to respect the mandate that was given to him, believing he was not the right man for the job.
It seemed that no opportunity went by when Corbyn wasn’t undermined by someone from his own party, or unflattering stories were leaked to the press to create a negative perception. Once again, by the time the stories were clarified or debunked, the damage had already been done.
A narrative was spun by his detractors that Corbyn was simply unelectable. This was then echoed by the press and pundits.
In fact, one study from The London School of Economics found that 75 per cent press coverage misrepresents Jeremy Corbyn. In fact, he couldn’t even walk and talk with a veteran without cropped pictures being published and accusations of him of dancing before the Remembrance Sunday event flying. How is anyone expected to operate successfully in an environment where the party establishment, the press and the opposition seem to be working against them?
That he was drawing massive crowds at his rallies or that Labour membership had increased to over half a million supporters since he came to power was consistently dismissed. A farcical coup attempt was launched which ended with egg on his opponents’ faces.
It is one thing to dismiss the will of your party membership, but the Labour party management decided to take arrogance to a whole other level when they fought an expensive battle to disenfranchise new members from voting in the second Labour election, using money that was raised through membership fees.
Jeremy Corbyn was still elected, this time with an even bigger mandate. The only thing that the Labour establishment had managed to do was generate animosity and a feeling of ill will amongst its own grassroots.
It is this type of superciliousness and disconnect that cause people to revolt and time and again our political establishment have shown themselves to be completely oblivious. Whether with nominating Hillary or undermining Corbyn, I hope they learn their lessons and open their eyes to the truth.
The problems that the Democrats and Labour face are very similar. They need to connect with white working class voters who feel as if their needs have been ignored or overlooked- not the racists and the bigots, but genuine concerns regarding housing prices, education, healthcare etc. Whether these concerns are rooted in reality or not, there is a dire need to engage with them in a meaningful manner, instead of dismissing them or talking down to them. Otherwise they will be lost to the much darker force vying for their vote. This will determine the future success and survival of both parties.