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Just How Real is the Bernie Surge?

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 20, 2016 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 20, 2016 |

A very fine Canadian reader of ours (Hi Elena!) emailed last night, and suggested that we cover more of Seth Meyers on the site because, as she reasoned, “American politics puzzle and frighten me but watching Seth Meyers gives me hope that reasonable, thoughtful people will do the right thing in your upcoming election.”

Don’t get your hopes up too high, Elena, because sadly we are not reasonable, thoughtful people on the whole. However, you’re right: Seth Meyers is great, and a better alternative for our collective Jon Stewart fix than Trevor Noah (side note: I was listening to Rage Against the Machine the other day, and for some reason, the “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me” refrain made me miss Stewart so very much).

I confess that I have also fallen down on my late-night viewing lately. There’s too much Trump, and most late-night hosts still seem to be handling him with kid gloves. Laughing at the man doesn’t work; the man needs to someone to seriously bite into him.

Seth Meyers may be our best hope. Having spent the last hour consuming a series of Seth Meyers’ “A Closer Look” segments, I’m more convinced than ever that if most of us get our news from late-night television, it should be coming from Meyers. Not only is he a charming interviewer (see his recent interview with Rachel Bloom, who used to be an Intern for him), but the show is much more than it was in the first few months: An outlet for other current and former SNL cast members to promote their wares. For instance, here’s Meyers on Trump’s White Nationalist supporters (and David Duke suggesting that Trump is more radical than he is).

This week, Meyers took up the Bernie surge, and suggested that it is for real. I’ve always been a Hillary person — even in the 2008 primaries — because I am loyal, and Hillary is a Clinton, and Bill is from Arkansas, and we Arkansans kind of glom on to other reasonable Arkansans, because we are so few and far between.

Lately, though, the Bernie infectiousness has begun to wear me down. I find myself seriously considering him, not just as an alternative to Hillary, but as perhaps someone better positioned to defeat Trump. Their politics may be on opposite extremes, but Bernie can probably tear away a few of those Republicans who’ll vote for the candidate most willing to speak his or her mind. In an election contest more and more defined by personality (rather than issues), Bernie is the only guy as colorful (and curmudgeonly) enough to appeal to other curmudgeonly voters, and we all sadly have to admit that no Republican is going to switch sides for Hillary. Bernie has just as much “fuck the establishment” appeal as Trump.

Anyway, Seth Meyers digs into the Bernie surge, notes that it is real, and claims that Bernie has the Betty White factor going for him. I can see that.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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