Bernie Sanders is winning the internet and changing the conversation – by Matthew Yglesias and Joe Posner on June 2, 2015

Bernie Sanders’s quest for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination is very unlikely to succeed, but his campaign has become an unlikely internet sensation, with Sanders content dominating social shares and driving coverage decisions. He’s changing the conversation in American politics with an unusual — and effective — brand of politics.

Sanders’s virality doesn’t show that he has a chance to win. If anything, it’s the opposite. His virality stems, in part, from the fact that he isn’t even trying. Most politicians are trying, on some level, for mainstream influence. Even a long-shot candidate like Martin O’Malley really might become the Democratic nominee if Hillary Clinton is struck by lightning or suffers some unforeseen meltdown.

Sanders isn’t like that. He’s not going to win no matter what, and he knows it. After all, he is an avowed socialist with zero interest in big-dollar fundraising who’s not afraid to say he thinks the US should fundamentally transform itself into a different kind of country.

That leaves him free to just come out and say things that nobody making a serious bid for national office would say. Case in point: his recent exchange with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos. Here, Sanders praised the Nordic social model. When Stephanopoulos said it would be impolitic to say America should emulate foreign nations, Sanders said he didn’t care. Sanders isn’t going to be president no matter what he says to George Stephanopoulos, so he might as well say what he thinks.

That’s not really a path to victory, but it’s certainly a path to social shares.

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Under pressure from businesses, Indiana could clarify controversial religious freedom law

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  1. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) told the Indianapolis Star’s Tim Swarens that he’s in discussions with legislators to potentially clarify a controversial religious freedom law so that it won’t promote discrimination against LGBT people.
  2. The law, which Pence signed on Thursday, could legally protect employers, landlords, and business owners who discriminate against LGBT people on religious grounds.
  3. “[T]his law is not about discrimination,” Pence told Swarens. “It’s about protecting religious liberty and giving people full access to the judicial system.”
  4. Businesses and public figures around the country, including Angie’s Listand George Takei, have criticized the religious freedom law as discriminatory. Pence’s comments appear to come in response to that public pressure.
  5. It’s unclear how, exactly, legislators will alter the religious freedom law. Pence later told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos, “We’re not going to change the law, okay? But if the general assembly in Indiana sends me a bill that adds a section that reiterates and amplifies and clarifies what the law really is, and what it has been for the last 20 years, than I’m open to that.”

Indiana is one of dozens of states pushing laws that could limit LGBT rights

Indiana’s law is among the latest in a series of measures Republicans are proposing at the state level that could limit LGBT rights.

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Fact-Checking the Sunday Shows: September 21 – By Steve Contorno and Lauren Carroll

From American support for airstrikes and ground troops against ISIS to the nine lives of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, PunditFact checks the talking heads against the record.

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By Steve Contorno and Lauren Carroll

President Obama will have allies if he decides to expand airstrikes against the Islamic State extremist group to targets in Syria, vowed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power on Sunday.

Appearing on three network news shows, Power touted international support for Obama’s war strategy ahead of his Wednesday address to the U.N. General Assembly. But Power would not say which countries have voiced support for airstrikes in Syria when pressed by the moderators, including This Week’s George Stephanopoulos, who noted “not even Great Britain has said they’re going to join the airstrikes.”

“I will make you a prediction, George, which is that we will not do the airstrikes alone—if the president decides to do the airstrikes,” Power said.

Her message of increased military power did not please the progressive wing of the Sunday pundit class. Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of liberal magazine The Nation, said the media and administration are over-hyping the Islamic State threat to war-weary Americans.

“There’s a barbarism and a gruesomeness to the videotapes which have moved the American people at this stage to support strikes,” vanden Heuvel said on This Week, “but the support for ground troops is not there. The support is very thin.”

PunditFact wanted to examine polls on Americans’ attitudes toward airstrikes against the Islamic State compared to all-out ground troops. Is support for the latter as thin as she says?

We rate her comment Half True.

As vanden Heuvel said, there’s significant majority support for airstrikes. According to a CNN poll published September 8, 76 percent of Americans backed additional airstrikes against the Islamic State, and just 23 percent opposed. The results were consistent with several recent polls.

What’s important to note is there was majority support for airstrikes in other polls of Americans before the journalists’ beheadings. A Washington Post/ABC poll from August 13-17 found majority support, 54 percent, for airstrikes against the Islamic State. That poll was conducted before August 19, when the Islamic State released footage of a Sunni insurgent beheading American journalist James Foley.

So it’s not as if the beheading mobilized Americans to come around to the idea of airstrikes.

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