Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been experiencing a lot of factors working against him but the biggest opponent is not perhaps who you’d think it’d be.
Tensions do remain high between Sanders and Democratic frontrunner Clinton, but his biggest rival lies with the “mainstream media”. From MSNBC to CNN, Sanders is reported not only as the underdog, but as already having lost.
Many political news sources, like POLITICO, go even further as to consider him already entirely out of the race and citing that the numbers for his victory would never add up as Clinton as too much of a delegate lead.
While Clinton is up in the total delegate count, superdelegates are delegates that are not pledged to any specific candidate and may vote how they please. POLITICO currently reports a delegate total, where Clinton is in the lead with 1,712 total delegates and Sanders is in second with 1,004 total delegates.
These numbers are, however, potentially dangerously misleading as it includes superdelegates who can freely change their vote and side with whoever candidate they please, but usually go with whoever their state chooses.
Without superdelegates factored in, Clinton maintains a marginal lead with 1,266 pledged delegates and Sanders follows in a close second with 1,038 pledged delegates. It is not always the case that superdelegates vote with their state, however, as Vermont democratic superdelegate and former presidential candidate Howard Dean (famous for the “Dean Scream” media debacle of 2004) has decided to go against Sanders victory in Vermont and vote for Hillary, although this is not common among superdelegates.
POLITICO seems to maintain a heavy Clinton bias, although has not formally endorsed either candidate, with some clear bias in the timing and naming of their articles.
When Sanders pulled three big caucus victories on March 26 in Hawaii, Alaska, and Washington State, POLITICO published an article the next day entitled “Sanders, Clinton Forget Manners” which had a focus on Sanders not congratulating Clinton on her victories on March 15 and considering her behavior nothing short of “amicable” towards Sanders.
While a clear bias exists from some news sources, Sanders’ biggest hurdle is getting any media coverage at all. CNN puts Bernie Sanders’ free media coverage at a measly $321 million in comparison to Clinton’s $746 million and Trump’s mammoth $1,898 billion in free advertising. A disadvantage like this is extremely damaging to a candidate, as many voters may have no idea who Sanders is when they reach their primary polling station.
This is especially prevalent in states like Pennsylvania which, is overall a much older state in terms of ages who are less technology savvy and rely on television media for most of their news sources. Sanders receives next to no coverage on major news stations and most of his political buzz centers around the internet and social media on websites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.