BERN NOTICE: 5 Things To Remember During Tonight's Debate

Here are the basic facts to keep in mind amid the inevitable garbage fire of vapid punditry, Trump talking points and dark money ads

Bern Notice is a production of the Bernie 2020 campaign. Please forward this on to your friends and tell them to subscribe. The views expressed here are solely of the bylined author.

If you only read the Beltway media headlines about tonight’s Democratic primary debate, you might not know Bernie Sanders actually exists. The Bernie Write Off™ has happened even as new polls in the last week show Bernie surging to the top of the field in three of the first primary/caucus states. And that boost has been fueled by months of Bernie’s policy rollouts on climate change, criminal justice, education, college affordability, credit card debt and workers’ rights — all initiatives that set him apart from the rest of the field.

The good news is that at least one publication — Slate — is seeing through spin, evaluating the indisputable data and declaring a basic truth: “Bernie Sanders Could Be The Next President.”

And with polls consistently showing that Bernie is a very strong general election candidate, the Daily Beast notes that Donald Trump is becoming increasingly nervous about the prospect of facing Bernie’s agenda. He should be nervous — especially considering recent data suggesting Bernie is the strongest Democratic candidate in the key swing counties that flipped the 2016 election to Trump.

As you watch tonight’s debate, here are five things to keep in mind:

1. Bernie isn’t just right on the issues today. He’s the only candidate who has always been right and has always taken on Republicans — even when it wasn’t politically convenient.

Now that the progressive agenda is ascendant, many candidates will tout their support for that agenda. But don’t forget: Bernie was for this agenda before it was ever considered acceptable — and he played a pivotal role in making the agenda popular in the first place, which proves he will back up his campaign promises with action in the White House. You can see it in the old clips of him during his earliest congressional campaigns:

For years, Bernie helped lead progressive Democrats’ fight against Wall Street deregulation, bank bailouts, welfare reform, mass incarceration, the Iraq War, job-killing trade deals and the bankruptcy bill — while other Democratic lawmakers broke with their party to help Republicans make those disastrous initiatives a reality.

For years, Bernie supported Medicare for All, the assault weapons ban, serious climate policy and stronger labor rights — while other Democrats stayed on the sidelines or helped Republicans try to block those initiatives.

2. Obama touts Medicare for All and calls Bernie “fearless” — after Bernie fought to pass and protect the ACA.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Biden will aim to manufacture a divide in the Democratic Party between “those who want to build on the Obama legacy and those who want to attack it.” It is an attempt to pretend lawmakers somehow can’t support the Affordable Care Act and push for Medicare for All.

Bernie has proven the opposite: The Intercept reports that as Bernie has pushed Medicare for All, he also played a pivotal role in shaping the ACA and Vox notes Bernie aggressively campaigned to defend the ACA. In opposing Medicare for All, Biden has now split with Obama — who recently touted Medicare for All. Meanwhile, Obama has said Bernie “has the virtue of saying exactly what he believes, and great authenticity, great passion, and is fearless.”

3. Americans don’t love private insurance corporations. Polls show Medicare for All is wildly popular. Polls also show majorities want Medicare for All to replace private insurance — and don’t just want tweaks to the current corporate-run system.

A new report from investigative journalism outlet Tarbell reviews how the health industry’s deceptive talking points have infected the presidential campaign discourse. The most pernicious of these is the supposition that Americans are opposed to Bernie’s Medicare for All plan. But as rates of uninsurance increase and Americans’ take-home pay is being swallowed up by health care bills, polls show the exact opposite.

4. Bernie’s Medicare for All plan remains popular — even though front groups are spending millions of dollars on attack ads.

It is important to remember that strong polling numbers for Bernie’s Medicare for All initiative are persisting, even as the health care industry is pumping tens of millions of dollars into television ads.

Indeed, new data from Axios show that the health care industry has already spent $65 million on issue ads. Meanwhile, the insurance/pharma front group called “The Partnership for America’s Health Care” — which demonizes Bernie’s Medicare for All initiative — today announced that it will be airing ads during the debate - as part of their seven-figure ad campaign to buy the 2020 election.

5. There will be lots of populist talk about rejecting big money, but Bernie is the only leading candidate who has 100% done that — and will continue to do that for the entire election.

There has been a lot of talk about rejecting the influence of big money donors — but here is an indisputable fact: Bernie is the only leading candidate whose campaign is 100% funded by grassroots donors, and who has pledged to run his campaign that way not only in the primary, but also in the general election.

That is not only a principled anti-corruption position — it also is politically viable and potent because, as the New York Times recently showed, Bernie has by far the biggest donor base of any presidential candidate.

Bern after reading,