Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at an-invitation-only press conference at the National Press Club on May 1, 2016 (Justice Integrity Project photo by Andrew Kreig)
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders vows to remain in the race by persuading Democratic super-delegates to switch support to him from rival Hillary Clinton.
Conceding that he faces a tough road to win 65 percent of pledged delegates remaining in state contests, the Vermont senator said May 1 that he expects nonetheless to continue winning the contests so strongly that superdelegates will renounce the overwhelming support most of them have previously conferred on his rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“It’s a steep hill to climb,” Sanders admitted at the National Press Club Sunday in Washington, DC. “But, at the end of the day the responsibility that superdelegates have is to decide what is best for the country and what is best for the Democratic Party.”
On May 3, Sanders and other remaining candidates face off in another big primary contest in Indiana, where most polls show Clinton with a significant lead over Sanders in the Democratic race and businessman Donald Trump leading his remaining rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich in the GOP primary. With the stakes especially high for Republicans, Trump continued to mock the Texas senator Cruz as "Lyin' Ted" and the Cruz camp responded in kind with a TV ad denouncing Trump as a "phony."
Sanders attracted about 70 members of the media to the press club's ballroom where he in effect launched his campaign a year previous. This editor attended both sessions on behalf of the Justice Integrity Project, which focuses coverage primarily on what other media overlook about the campaigns. That reporting necessarily involves close study of both the candidates from both parties and diverse media.
"Sanders’s pitch," the Washington Post's John Wagner reported, "comes at a point in the race where even he has acknowledged a very narrow patch to winning the nomination and has talked publicly about a secondary goal of shaping the Democratic Party’s platform. To win the nomination, Sanders would have to flip hundreds of superdelegates, far more than the several dozens that changed from Clinton to support then Illinois Sen. Barack Obama eight years ago. Sanders would also have to convince superdelegates to vote against the national pledged delegate leader — an unprecedented political maneuver."
The Post further reported:
Hillary Clinton is 91 percent of the way to clinching the Democratic nomination, when including superdelegates. She leads in both pledged delegates by 1,645 to Sanders’ 1,318, according to the Associated Press. It takes 2,383 to win.
Sanders would need to win more than 82 percent of the remaining delegates and uncommitted superdelegates through June if he hopes to clinch the nomination; currently, Sanders has been winning just 39 percent.
Sanders, elected to the Senate as an Independent, said he plans to continue the race into the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this July, seeking to win delegates and influence the party's campaign platform. His argument to superdelegates emphasizes that polling so far shows that he wins more support than Clinton against any of the remaining GOP contenders.
Sanders reported on Sunday that he brought in about $26 million in April for his campaign. This represented a sharp reduction from the $46 million that he raised in March, according to an Associated Press reported that noted also that his campaign had laid off hundreds of staffers after losses last month in New York and several other primaries on the East Coast. The campaign said it was downsizing its staff because about 80 percent of the primaries and caucuses had been completed and the changes would allow it to focus heavily on California.
The AP has reported also that Clinton leads among superdelegates who have publicly declared their support by a margin of 520 to 39, as Sanders noted Sunday.
“They’re going to have to go into their hearts," Sanders said of the superdelegates chosen because of their Democratic Party service, "and they are going to have to ask do they want the second strongest candidate to run against [GOP front-runner Donald] Trump? Or do they want the strongest candidate?”
During a question and answer period, one reporter asked Sanders what he thought his campaign legacy would be.
"I'm not into 'legacy,'" he responded.
But then he added: "I hope my legacy will be that I was a very good president of the United States!"
Related News Coverage
Washington Post, Sanders makes a public plea for Democratic superdelegates to switch allegiances, John Wagner, May 1, 2016. The senator from Vermont shows no signs of ending his challenge against Hillary Clinton. White House hopeful Bernie Sanders, who has fought the Democratic establishment throughout his campaign, made an extraordinary appeal Sunday for party insiders to help deliver the nomination to him, even if he doesn’t catch rival Hillary Clinton in the remaining primaries and caucuses.
Addressing reporters at the National Press Club in Washington, Sanders made a public plea for Democratic superdelegates to reconsider their allegiances to Clinton, particularly those in states where he has won nominating contests or those who committed to Clinton before he entered the race.
On Sunday, the senator from Vermont signaled that he has no intention of ending his fight before the July convention in Philadelphia. Discussing delegate math in a fashion more typical of a campaign consultant than a candidate, Sanders said he thinks it is highly unlikely that Clinton will have won the 2,383 delegates needed to claim the nomination based on primary and caucus results alone.
If that’s the case, Sanders said, the Democrats would have "a contested convention," and the nominee would be determined by the party’s 719 superdelegates -- the Democratic elected officials and other party insiders -- who have a say on the nomination and are not bound by the results in their states.
Clinton "will need superdelegates to take over the top at the convention in Philadelphia,” Sanders said.
AP via Washington Post, As Path Narrows, Sanders Asks Party Leaders To Back His Bid, Lisa Lerer and Ken Thomas, May 1, 2016. Bernie Sanders acknowledged Sunday that his “uphill climb” to the Democratic nomination depends on winning over superdelegates, the elected officials, lobbyists and other party insiders who are free to back either candidate.
He’s asking those party leaders, who overwhelmingly support rival Hillary Clinton, to “go into their hearts” and change their support to Sanders. It’s an admission that even some of his own aides call ironic, given that Sanders has focused his campaign on taking down what he calls a corrupt political establishment. The Vermont senator formally joined the Democratic Party a year ago, after serving decades in Congress as a self-identified democratic socialist.
In a press conference organized to mark the year anniversary of his insurgent bid, Sanders called on superdelegates to reflect the vote in their state. He also cast himself as more electable against Donald Trump, arguing that superdelegates should prioritize beating the GOP frontrunner over other concerns.
Though they’ve been part of Democratic presidential elections since 1984, the superdelegates have never been a determining factor for the nomination because they’ve never overturned the candidate that leads nationally in pledged delegates.
So far, no Clinton-backing superdelegates have flipped to Sanders, despite an aggressive lobbying campaign from his supporters that in some cases included harassing phones calls and online threats.
OpEd News, Bernie Sanders Gives Press Conference Honoring the First Anniversary of His Candidacy, Marta Steele (author of the book Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols), May 1, 2016. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders today held a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Only members of the press were admitted on this Sunday, when the club is usually closed. Strong, angry, spirited, unflinching, the Vermont senator celebrated the one-year anniversary of his entry into the race for nomination as Democratic presidential nominee. He had announced his bid for the nomination in the District.
Within this year, he said, he took on the entire mainstream Democratic establishment and won 17 primaries/caucuses in every part of the country--a total of nine million votes, which some polls interpret as leading Hillary Clinton (HRC). Within this year Sanders has raised $174 million, a record for this point in the primary cycle--without the aid of Super PACs or any device other than direct contributions from we the people averaging $27 apiece; in the last month alone donations exceeded $25 million.
"We can run without big money," he told reporters, who represented numerous mainstream vehicles as well as Al Jazeera, the Justice Integrity Project, and of course Oped News. The Press Club ballroom was filled to exact capacity. Another accomplishment within the last year, said Sanders, is 1.1 million people having attended his rallies, the majority consisting of voters aged 45 years and under, which he called "the future of the Democratic Party and of this country."
The Vermont senator specified issues that "are on all minds," including the unbalanced economy; the criminal justice system; the question of a carbon tax; the crisis of polluted water distributed to the people of Flint, Michigan among other locations; fracking; elimination of tuition charges from all state-level colleges and universities; and raising corporate taxes.
Shifting to the subject of Democratic delegates to the party convention, he specified the total as 4,766, 4,447 of whom are pledged to HRC or him; there are also 719 super-delegates. The 2383 total needed for nomination is out of HRC's reach by the end of the formal primary season, June 11. As of today, HRC has 1645 pledged delegates to his 1318.
Before the primary season ends, voters in 10 states have yet to weigh in, along with the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam. He will need to win 710, or 65 percent of the 1083 remaining delegates. Sanders expressed optimism about winning in California and, over all, his goals are "tough but not impossible."
WhoWhatWhy, How Moral Differences Between Sanders and Clinton Were Obscured, Russ Baker, April 28, 2016. Sanders promised to run a campaign that took the high road with no cheap shots. Russ Baker discusses how that admirable approach might have cost him a chance to be president.
WhoWhatWhy, How New York Times Helped Hillary Hide the Hawk, Russ Baker, April 28, 2016. If you wonder why Sanders had such a hard time, despite his wide appeal, look no further than the role of the media.
New York Times, Ted Cruz Confronts Donald Trump Supporters in Indiana, Matt Flegenheimer, May 2, 2016. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas had a date with a waiting car. It was the second of five stops on Monday, the eve of Indiana’s critical primary, and the event at a restaurant here had been billed as little more than a meet-and-greet. When he got back outside, a half-dozen protesters who supported Donald J. Trump (shown in a Gage Skidmore file photo) were waiting across North Washington Street, some holding signs.
Los Angeles Times, Cruz's faltering campaign shows the risks of depending on a few wealthy donors, Joseph Tanfani and Noah Bierman, May 2, 2016. Ted Cruz, in his outsider’s bid for the White House, has depended heavily on the largesse of just three wealthy donors to establish credibility and stay afloat amid a chaotic nominating process that killed off most of his rivals. Now, at perhaps the most desperate moment in his quest to win the Republican nomination, Cruz is learning the perils of relying on strong-willed magnates who carry their own agendas and have demanded an unprecedented level of control in how their money is spent.
One of the three primary donors to Cruz’s presidential efforts, a private equity manager who recruited the other two top donors, has refrained from spending the vast majority of his $10 million contribution to bolster the Cruz campaign. He is instead fighting openly with the top strategist for the super PACs that were set up to spend the money.
The man at the center of the fight, Toby Neugebauer, is a close friend of Cruz and his wife, Heidi. Neugebauer and his own wife have vacationed with the Cruzes, and he still counts himself a major supporter. But he has refused to spend $9 million of the $10 million he put into a super PAC.
Huffington Post, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Endorses Ted Cruz For President, Sam Levine, April 29, 2016. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) on Friday gave a tepid endorsement to Sen. Ted Cruz’s bid for the presidency ahead of Tuesday’s primary in his state. A Cruz victory in Indiana is seen as crucial to block Donald Trump from getting enough delegates to secure the Republican presidential nomination. “I will be voting for Ted Cruz in the upcoming Republican primary,” Pence said during a radio show on WIBC Friday afternoon.
Before he announced the endorsement, Pence went out of his way to praise Trump, whom he said has “given voice” to the frustrations of Americans. He also made sure to say that he “wasn’t against” any of the Republicans running for president and that he would “work his heart out” to support whoever becomes the nominee. Pence later added he was endorsing Cruz because the Texas senator has the “courage of his convictions,” will rein in federal spending and has a commitment to the “sanctity of life.” Cruz has been making a hard push in Indiana, where he announced on Wednesday that businesswoman Carly Fiorina would be his running mate if he earns the GOP nomination. Ohio Gov. John Kasich also agreed to pull resources out of Indiana so Cruz could campaign there more effectively.
RealClearPolitics, Obscure Panel May Have Big Effect on GOP Convention, Rebecca Berg, May 2, 2016. As the possibility of an open convention looms over the GOP presidential primary, the Republican National Committee’s rules panel — which will set the criteria in Cleveland in conjunction with its convention rules sibling — has been dragged to the forefront. But another, less talked-about committee could earn a place in the spotlight: The RNC Committee on Contests.
World Net Daily (WND), Cruz's evangelist father re-emerges in Indiana; Christian vote looms large in 'last-hope' primary, Jerome R. Corsi (shown in file photo), April 29, 2016. After negative reporting of his religious views, the Christian evangelist father of Ted Cruz has returned to the campaign trail in an effort to win evangelical voters in Indiana, whose primary Tuesday is regarded by many as the Texas senator’s last hope to keep his bid for the Republican presidential nomination alive.
While the national media largely has been silent about Rafael Cruz’s re-emergence, local reporters in Indiana have covered his various appearances. WSBT-TV in Mishawaka, Indiana, reported Rafael Cruz created “a lot of excitement” by showing up as a guest of Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence at a Wednesday night fish fry dinner of Kosciusko County Republicans. On April 8, the Courier-Times in New Castle, Indiana, reported Rafael Cruz stopped by a local restaurant for an event that opened with a prayer from pastor Randy Gross and the singing of “God Bless America” by Christy Stutzman, the wife of Marlin Stutzman, a candidate for the Indiana state Senate.
Andrea Yaeter, reporting for the Courier-Times, noted Rafael Cruz discussed several “hot-button issues in the Republican party including education, gay marriage, abortion, states’ rights and the Supreme Court.” Rafael Cruz said Washington didn’t need someone who was willing to buy out people to get things done, referring to his son’s Republican rival, Donald Trump. At one point in his speech, Yaeter noted, Rafael Cruz discussed the four different ways for Christians to decide who to vote for in an election, stressing that to vet a candidate, the voter must look at the candidate’s record, whether he is an able man, a man of truth and if he hates covetousness. The organizer of the event, Andrew Phipps, a national radio minister, urged the more than 10 pastors from around central Indiana in attendance to endorse Cruz for president, as Phipps suggested he had already done.
Washington Post, Cruz’s latest fights with fellow Republicans are a reminder: Many simply don’t like him, Sean Sullivan and Ed O'Keefe, April 28, 2019. Former House Speaker John Boehner labeled him “Lucifer in the flesh,” while a veteran strategist said Cruz was “the political version of liver and onions.” In the space of just seven minutes Thursday, Ted Cruz reminded fellow Republicans that he has few friends in the party.
First he tangled with former House speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH, and shown in an official photo), a longtime foe who so dislikes Cruz that he labeled him “Lucifer in the flesh.” Then Cruz undercut another Republican, fellow presidential candidate John Kasich, who had entered into an alliance with him to stop GOP front-runner Donald Trump.
“There is no alliance,” Cruz told reporters on Thursday, acting as if a pact announced by his own campaign days before had never happened. Minutes later, Kasich strategist John Weaver dispatched a cryptic tweet: “I can’t stand liars.”
For years, Cruz has angered fellow Republicans with his actions in the Senate. His push to shred the federal health-care law led to the 2013 government shutdown. He declined to endorse his GOP colleagues against insurgent primary challengers in 2014, despite holding a leadership position with the GOP committee responsible for reelecting them. He has refused to apologize for calling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar on the Senate floor — an extraordinary breach of decorum.
On Wednesday night, Boehner told a crowd at Stanford University that Cruz is “Lucifer in the flesh” and that he had “never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life,” according to the Stanford Daily.
Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues
Washington Post, Here are those presidential campaign stories that the media ‘never’ cover, Callum Borchers, May 2, 2016. The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty on Friday vented her frustration at the “tweeps” who whine about how the media supposedly never cover things that, in fact, they cover thoroughly. Anyway, this whole exchange inspired me to assemble some of the other presidential campaign stories the media “never” cover. This isn't about proving some folks on social media wrong. (Okay, maybe it's a little about that.) It's mostly supposed to be helpful.
Voters don't have time to read everything and, when they complain about missing coverage, it's possible that they truly haven't seen any. (Though I always wonder where, if not from the media, they learned about whatever thing isn't being reported, in the first place.)
Facebook, Hubbard Plea Deal Finalized, Donald V. Watkins, May 2, 2016. Our Facebook news team has confirmed tonight that all aspects of House Speaker Mike Hubbard's plea deal with state prosecutors have been finalized, as reported this morning by TheMeck.blogspot.com.
Hubbard will: (a) resign from public office; (b) plead guilty to public corruption charges; (c) agree to an 18-month sentence, 12 months of which will be served in the Lee County jail and 6 months of which will be suspended; and (d) be allowed to register as a lobbyist after serving his sentence. As part of his deal, Hubbard will cooperate with state and federal prosecutors investigating public corruption by Governor Robert Bentley, former governor Bob Riley, and Senate President Del Marsh. Our Facebook news team first reported on April 17, 2016, that early "street" reports of the deal had been confirmed, including the 18-month sentence. TheMeck.blogspot.com reported additional details of Hubbard's deal in its story.
The Hubbard deal will be publicly announced after the legislature adjourns.
David Meckley d/b/a TheMeck.blogspot.com, Yellowhammer News, the Alabama Political Reporter, Roger Alan Shuler d/b/a Legal Schnauzer.blogspot.com, and other online journalists continue to lead the state's news media by breaking all of the leading news stories relating to Alabama's high-profile public corruption scandals.
WHNT-TV (Channel 19, Huntsville, AL), Gov. Robert Bentley a no-show for State Auditor’s hearing, Staff report, May 2, 2016. It probably didn’t surprise many people that Governor Robert Bentley didn’t come to State Auditor Jim Zeigler’s office on Monday morning. Neither did any members of his staff, but Zeigler pushed forward, saying he is now prepared to take the case to Montgomery County Circuit Court. He will request the court issue an order for Gov. Bentley to appear, bring the documents to court, and if he fails to do so, he would face contempt of court charges.
Legal Schnauzer, More sex tapes might surface of Gov. Robert Bentley and Rebekah Caldwell Mason — and these reportedly are much more graphic than the first batch, Roger Shuler, May 2, 2016. More sex tapes exist of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and former advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason — on top of those already made public, which had Bentley talking about caressing Mason's breasts and exploring her nether regions. The new tapes, according to a report from Birmingham attorney Donald Watkins, are more graphic than the ones already made public.
When might the new tapes be made public? We don't have an answer to that question, but Watkins reports (via his Facebook page) that federal subpoenas are being issued in Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, seeking documents related to Bentley, and her husband Jon Mason. (The governor and her are shown in a WKRG-TV photo collage, along with Alabama's former top law enforce Spencer Collier, shown at far right and fired this February by Bentley.)
New York Daily News, Indiana political blogger commits suicide after writing Donald Trump post with ominous comment, Jason Silverstein, May 2, 2016. A prolific Indiana political blogger wrote an ominous post last week predicting a Donald Trump victory in his state — and soon afterward committed suicide, police said. Gary Welsh, a lawyer who managed his Advance Indiana blog since 2005, was found in his Indianapolis apartment around 8 a.m. Sunday with a gunshot wound, according to the Indianapolis Star. Officers found him in a stairwell, dead at the scene, according to a police report.
Police ruled Welsh’s death a suicide, but have not released any details about what may have motivated it. One friend, attorney Jim Klimek, said Welsh's mood had been "deteriorating" in the past few weeks. Welsh was facing financial struggles, in part because he spent so much time blogging that it cut into his struggling law practice.
Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Welsh suicide? Not! Wayne Madsen, (WMR's editor is the author of 14 books and a former Navy intelligence officer), May 2, 2016 (Subscription required; excerpted by permission). Here we go again!
It was just after Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb (shown in a file photo) contacted this editor and said he, also, was investigating the firm Affiliated Computer Systems (ACS) and wanted us to share notes, that he was reported to have died from two gunshot wounds to the head at his Carmichael, California home. ACS was involved in processing the U.S. student visas for alleged 9/11 hijackers Mohammed Atta and his compatriots.
Before even launching a full investigation, Indianapolis police are calling the sudden death of Indiana political blogger Gary Welsh a "suicide." Never mind the fact that it was Welsh who was the initial source of WMR's recent story on Florida Senator Marco Rubio's "foam bath" exploits in South Beach, Miami....
Antiwar.com, Hillary Clinton’s Damning Emails, Ray McGovern, May 2, 2016. A few weeks after leaving office, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have breathed a sigh of relief and reassurance when Director of National Intelligence James Clapper denied reports of the National Security Agency eavesdropping on Americans. After all, Clinton had been handling official business at the State Department like many Americans do with their personal business, on an unsecured server.
But NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations — starting on June 5, 2013 — gave the lie to Clapper’s testimony, which Clapper then retracted on June 21when Clapper sent a letter to the Senators to whom he had, well, lied. Clapper admitted his “response was clearly erroneous – for which I apologize.” (On the chance you are wondering what became of Clapper, he is still DNI.)