🀳 The Internet has made Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump possible

🀳 The Internet has made Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump possible

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump would have been chanceless years ago, but because of the internet, they can get past the party's gatekeepers and win.

Mathias Sundin
Mathias Sundin

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This is a WIP analysis, part of our premium content for WIP members.

Joe Biden against Bernie Sanders is an interesting battle in the war between the new and the old (despite being at the age of 78, Bernie is allowed to represent the new, against the 77-year-old 'youngster' Biden.)

Biden is part of the party establishment that has had significant influence over who wins the nomination. In the primary elections the voters decide who wins, but for the candidates to even have a chance to present themselves properly, sufficient support has been required in the party's establishment and interest groups.

In past times, support from enough influential people and groups gave you access to money, it opened doors in the media, helped you build a campaign organization. Without that support, the uphill battle was considerable and impossible if you were too extreme in the eyes of the establishment.

The Internet has changed that.

Howard Dean was the pioneer in the United States when he began raising money online in 2004. He took off like a rocket and garnered a lot of grassroots support, but the campaign organization didn't get strong enough. So when the opponents all attacked him just before the Iowa election, his campaign collapsed.

Howard Dean left with a famous scream.

The Dean Scream - yeeeehaaaa!

The Internet has come a long way since 2004. Not only are there more people online, but they are also used to paying for things online, the payment tools are developed and there are many people with expertise in crowdfunding. You can organize entire campaigns online.

In other words, you can get around the gatekeepers. They still have influence, but their power is much smaller.

Donald Trump is an example of that.

He was hated by the Republican establishment when he launched his campaign. Well-funded opponents with the establishment behind them, like Jeb Bush, had no chance. Through Twitter, Trump had his own channel where he trumpeted so hard that it gave him almost total impact in traditional media as well.

President Donald Trump and VP Mike Pence
Photo by History in HD / Unsplash

Bernie Sanders was seen at the beginning of the 2016 campaign as a joke, but the gatekeepers stopped laughing when the money began to roll in. Millions of small donations gave him a considerable campaign fund.

He then lost to the strongest establishment candidate of them all, Hillary Clinton, but has spent the last four years continuing to build his organization.

Bernie Sanders, Rally at Pittsburgh University, Sunday April 14.
Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen / Unsplash

Sanders is not the only candidate of this kind in this year's election. Andrew Yang came from nowhere with a completely different message. He didn't win, but he came a long way. Pete Buttigieg got some positive vibes from the establishment, but he was not an establishment candidate. Being mayor of the backwater town of South Bend was his main merit. Nevertheless, he won Iowa.

When Joe Biden stands against Bernie Sanders, it is once again tested how far the shift in power has come. The Democratic establishment barely managed to maintain control in 2016. In 2020 Sanders took the lead before South Carolina. Then Biden made a huge comeback and the party establishment threw itself in his corner before Super Tuesday.

Now it looks like Joe Biden and the establishment will win once again, but the change is already here. Long-term, it is something very good that a political position is open to more people, and the small elite groups can't have too much power over who gets elected.

This is a WIP analysis, part of our premium content for WIP members.