Hoping to counter the total media saturation of Donald Trump and capitalize on momentum from his recent victories, Bernie Sanders‘ presidential campaign is rolling out a series of web videos, the first of which features Bernie Sanders supporter and actor Mark Ruffalo and an eerily familiar-sounding slogan. The clip features Ruffalo and director Matthew Cooke complaining about the system, and waxing rhapsodic about Bernie Sanders’ courage in the face of it. Right toward the end, though, and in the video’s title, is a bit of wordplay that might sound familiar to devoted supporters of another politically revolutionary presidential candidate with a flair for small donations, an appeal to “independents,” and a demographically narrow support base:
I think of it as a “ReLoveLution,” instead of evolution. It’s really based in a kind of love.
Those of you old enough to remember the 2008 presidential election might remember seeing this bumper sticker on your 25 year-old neighbor’s car, or your lab partner’s laptop, or plastered on a booth in a dark, remote corner of CPAC:
The appeal could hardly be accidental, as Ruffalo hit many of the themes of disaffection that drove Ron Paul‘s ardent, fiercely-loyal supporters in 2008, supporters who obviously didn’t follow Rand Paul into his presidential bid. Ruffalo sounded some of those notes in his interview with Variety, as well:
“He has been on a serious media diet for whatever reason,” Ruffalo says. “Part of it is the infatuation and fetish-ization of Trump in the media class.” Where Sanders has been helped is via social media, particularly with his popularity among young voters. “We all kind of joke that we are the media now. We call it Main Street media.”
“What people don’t understand is you have had a mass sort of revolt of Democrats who have left the party, who literally moved to the independent box,” Ruffalo says. “We have to consider what this means. It is not so simple as the party reuniting. It is the rebirth of the party.”
If Sanders does not get the nomination, Ruffalo says that it will be up to Clinton to address how she reunites the party, including how she deals with issues such as money in the system and climate change.
“I think one thing you could do is bring Bernie in, make him your vice president,” Ruffalo says. “You want to have a unified ticket? See something magical happen. That would be a signal to people. It will be up to Hillary Clinton to signal if she wants to bring the party together.”
Sanders has been making slow, steady progress in broadening his appeal among Democrats, but if he becomes the nominee, Sanders has said that his candidacy will appeal to independents and disaffected Republicans, as well, so an explicit appeal to the Ron Paul set appears to be an effort in that direction.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.