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Anand Giridharadas on Sanders' Victory in Nevada: 'A Wake Up Moment for the American Power Establishment'

Giridharadas called out MSNBC and other establishment forces for behaving "like out-of-touch aristocrats in a dying aristocracy."

Jake Johnson

"You have someone talking about, in a way we have not heard, genuine deeper democracy, popular movements, human equality in a meaningful way, and a politics of love in the tradition of Dr. King—and winning elections," said author Anand Giridharadas. (Photo: MSNBC/Screengrab)

In an appearance on MSNBC Sunday morning just hours after Sen. Bernie Sanders' decisive victory in the Nevada Democratic presidential caucus, author and political commentator Anand Giridharadas said the senator's win could represent the dawn of "a new era in American life" and called out establishment forces—including MSNBC—for reacting like "out-of-touch aristocrats in a dying aristocracy."

"You have someone talking about, in a way we have not heard, genuine deeper democracy, popular movements, human equality in a meaningful way, and a politics of love in the tradition of Dr. King—and winning elections."
—Anand Giridharadas

"Last night was a historic win that I think a lot of us are still struggling to understand," said Giridharadas. "Something is happening in America right now that actually does not fit our mental models. It certainly doesn't fit the mental models of a lot of people on TV."

MSNBC's Nicole Wallace admitted as much Saturday evening, lamenting that she has "no idea what voters think about anything anymore" following Sanders' overwhelming caucus victory, powered by the mobilization of a diverse coalition of voters across Nevada. UCLA's Latino Policy and Politics Initiative estimated Sunday morning, with around 60% of precincts officially reporting, that Sanders won over 70% of the Latino vote in the Nevada caucus.

"You have someone talking about, in a way we have not heard, genuine deeper democracy, popular movements, human equality in a meaningful way, and a politics of love in the tradition of Dr. King—and winning elections," Giridharadas said of Sanders. "I think this is a wake-up moment for the American power establishment, from Michael Bloomberg to those of us in the media to the Democratic Party to donors to CEOs."

Giridharadas emphasized that Sanders' win is also a wake-up call for MSNBC, whose anchors and contributors spent much of Saturday evening melting down on live television over the prospect of the Vermont senator winning the Democratic presidential nomination.

"I think about this network, which I love... and I think we have to look within, also," said Giridharadas. "Why is a lobbyist for Uber and Mark Zuckerberg on the air many nights explaining a political revolution to us? Why is Chris Matthews on this air talking about the victory of Bernie Sanders, who had kin murdered in the Holocaust, and analogizing it to the Nazi conquest of France?"

On the subject of Bloomberg—viewed by many establishment figures as the only Democratic candidate with the ability to stop Sanders—Giridharadas said the "attempt to purchase the presidency of the United States may be legal, but it is corruption on a scale that makes a Ukraine deal look actually quite trivial."

"We are living in a plutocracy," Giridharadas added. "You either recognize that or you don't. And if you do recognize that, you think we need to make the plutocrats less powerful—all of them less powerful. If you want justice to flourish in America, you're gonna to have to make those people less powerful. And I do not believe they are going to be the leaders of the change that displaces them."


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