Manufacturing Consent — How Democratic operatives are undermining Bernie Sanders 2020 candidacy

Manufacturing Consent — How Democratic operatives are undermining Bernie Sanders 2020 candidacy

If voting could change anything it would be made illegal!

— Robert S. Borden

Manufacturing consent has been the modern means by which the few powerful gets to control the many powerless. Since the many won’t give up their power so easily, the powerful must find new ways of convincing the many — that the candidate of their choice does not enjoy popular support — so they must pick a more reasonable choice to rule over them.

In this article, I will attempt to convince you with publicly available data that Democratic party insiders are trying manufacture consent in the current 2020 Democratic primary season. Specifically, they are trying to prop up the candidates of their choice — Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren & Pete Buttigieg — while undermining Bernie Sander’s candidacy thru self-serving “poll”s.

Many of the pollsters use a statistically sound polling methodology, which they then publish along with the results. We might disagree with the methodology (or) the demographic selection, but we atleast have these details. Polls with these details are “somewhat” legitimate.

No poll thats done in secrecy where all aspects are not open for public scrutiny can be that that reliable, let alone accurate. This is not to say that no poll gives the general sense of what people feel, but just that those polls where the pollsters have inherent self interest of the results should not be taken seriously.

We now have a new phenomenon where a pollster that neither publishes their methodology, nor demographics, but publishes just the summary/memo of which candidate gets what percentage of votes. This memo is then picked-up by mainstream media to run non-stop propaganda with no questions about the credibility of the poll.

This is the story of one such dubious organization — which is packed with establishment operatives — that publishes polls that are highly questionable at best, outright corrupt at worst.


If you paid attention to news lately, you would notice media telling everyone that Bernie is falling while Warren is surging.

To this end, I would like to focus on one of the recent polling published by an organization called Focus on Rural America. I’ll refer to this organization as FORA from now on.

Diagram: Political Polls: Summary of Focus on Rural America

Here are some of the media outlets that picked the poll put out by FORA.

  1. New poll finds Biden, Warren in virtual tie in Iowa
  2. New Iowa Poll Finds Warren Surging, Sanders Fading, and Biden Leading
  3. Joe Biden edges Elizabeth Warren in Iowa, Pete Buttigieg in third: Poll
  4. Warren shows signs of broadening her base
  5. Presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar in Detroit hoping to build on Midwest momentum
  6. Dems fear another rural wipeout will reelect Trump

There are lot more outlets that picked up this poll. To see all of them go here.

And some political commentators have already picked this stuff & are spreading it among their followers.

Diagram: David Axelrod sharing FORA poll

Also, polling pundits like Nate Silver have used this poll as a base to undermine Bernie’s popularity — while singing priases of the chosen one, Elizabeth Warren.

Diagram: Nate Silver downplaying Bernie in Iowa

Mainstream TV outlets like MSNBC already used these polls to draw inference about electability, drumming up propaganda.

I am told that many other mainstream TV outlets also ran multiple segments based on this specific poll. I will update this post when I gets access to the footage.

Since many legitimate media outlets & TV talking heads are taking this poll seriously to push an agenda, lets take a close look at the organization.

Uncovering the actors

Lets start with analyzing the credibility of this poll publisher FORA; specifically,

  1. Who are behind it
  2. Which pollster do they use
  3. What polling methodology does the pollster use

If you go to this link, You would notice that the poll is published by someone named Jeff Link.

Diagram: Focus on America Summary page

When you click on the Author’s link, you get The page you requested could not be found.

Diagram: Jeff does not exists

About & Contact page does not help us either.

A different page on the website explains that Jeff Link is the co-founder of FORA.

Diagram: Jeff Link is the co-founder of FORA

Navigating the website does not give you anymore information about who this man is. If you google for his name, you will find another website called Link strategies.

It describes him as someone with expertise in paid media strategy & public opinion-research. He was ex-Bill Clinton staffer & also ran Paid Media and Research to the Obama for America Campaign — specifically — he coordinated all paid media and polling in 25 states.

Diagram: Jeff Link - Link strategies

The same post also mentions another person who holds the post of chair in FORA, namely Patty Judge who also happens to be Past Lt. Governor and Secretary of Agriculture for Iowa.

Diagram: Patty Judge is the Chair of FORA

Patty Judge gave glowing views of Elizabeth Warren in Jan 2019 — a month after warren announced her candidacy for Democratic primary.

Diagram: Patty Judge praising Warren

Not just that, as recently as Jun 2019, she hung around warren during her visit to an ethanol factory in Iowa.

Diagram: Patty Judge accompanying Warren

Going over the past posts further gives a glimpse of who else are behind FORA.

A post dating back to May 2017 lists a man named Sam Roecker as an Advisor.

Diagram: Sam Roecker in FORA

His twitter profile says he worked as the state director for John Hickenlooper — the same throw your hands up Hickenlooper who was after Bernie in the recent presidential polls before dropping out.

Diagram: Sam Roecker in Twitter

In summary, here are the people behind FORA.

  1. A co-founder, who worked for many Democratic establishment candidates in the past — Clinton, Obama & more
  2. An advisor, who in the past worked for primary opponent of Bernie (Hickenlooper)
  3. A chairman, who praises Warren (another opponent of Bernie) & hangs around with her during the current primary campaign

Even with all the establishment actors running the show, its possible that the poll published by them might still be a credible one — if the pollster conducted the poll in a scientific manner with a well defined methodology.

So, lets look at the pollster & the polling methodology he employed to arrive at this “poll”.

Uncovering the pollster

On the last page of the memo, it is mentioned that a pollster named David Binder Research has conducted these polls. We will get back to the pollster lil later.

Diagram: Sam Roecker in Twitter

We are only given access to the memo of the poll — from which — it is hard to get any idea about what questions were actually posed to the voters & what their answers were.

You are told vague things like

  1. Percent with Positive Opinion
  2. Ruled Out vs Actively Considering

They dont tell you how these voting percentages were arrived at — how voters were selected — what their demographics are — white/black/asian/native american, men/women, rich/middle class/working poor, old/middle aged/young — what percentage of the potential voters were contacted over landline vs mobile.

Nothing. You get no details about these important factors.

They simply have a four page memo, which has tables that says this is what we found. Almost all polls atleast give detailed breakdown, sampling criteria, but this one does not even bother giving you that information.

It just shares the conclusions on what percentage of votes each of democratic primary candidate will get in Iowa.

Now lets get back to finding who is behind David Binder Research.

As per Real clear politics, David Binder Research is run by a guy named David Binder, who worked as an in-house pollster for the Obama campaign in 2008 and 2012.

Diagram: David Binder in RCP

The most important aspect being

Binder specializes in qualitative rather than quantitative research. His focus is on assessing subjective factors such as language, emotion, and attitudes

To me, all this word salad means only one thing. He mind-reads potential voters when conducting his polling. In simple terms, his polls capture his fellings about voter’s feelings about politicians.

I have never heard a worse way to describe a pollster than this. Given that only the memo is published without the underlying dataset, I am assuming that this poll is based on the feelings of David Binder staff about which democratic candidate gets what percentage of votes in Iowa in the upcoming democratic primary election.

Also, when I looked at the staff page of David Binder Research, one of the name caught my eye. His name is Ethan Axelrod.

Diagram: Ethan Axelrod in DBR

He is the son of David Axelrod, who happen to be the senior strategist for Obama’s presidential campaigns, served as senior advisor to Obama & is a senior political commentator of CNN. He is also the host of a show called The Axe Files with David Axelrod on CNN.

Diagram: Ethan Axelrod parentage


An organization called Focus on Rural America — that’s founded by someone who worked for Bill Clinton, ran paid campaigns for Obama — that’s advised by someone who worked as State director for Hickenlooper — that’s chaired by someone who has apparent allegiance to one of the Democratic primary candidates — specifically — Elizabeth Warren — publish just memo of the poll where Bernie is getting lower vote share than Pete Buttigieg.

These polls are conducted by ex-Obama pollster — with a staff member whose father worked for Obama as chief strategist — publishes just memo of the poll — with numbers that are complete outliers — with no information on the methodology/demographic breakdown — which then are picked-up by mainstream media — use this poll to push free propaganda for Warren & other corporate dems — while undermining Bernie’s campaign — till this propaganda becomes reality in the minds of undecided voters.

Most outlets that reported on this poll did not mention that — the polling is done by people who worked for corporate democrats in the past — is commissioned by people who are currently batting for Warren — a candidate in the current democratic primary.

What else do you call this other than Manufacturing Consent by democratic establishment — in connivance with their toadies in the mainstream media — to push a corporate democratic candidate?


Thanks to the following people for sharing some of the references used in this article