Let me preface this by saying that I don’t feel the Bern.
I am not a Bernie Sanders fan in the least. Like many white politicians, Sanders excuses white racism by claiming economic anxiety is the reason whites vote the way they do.
No matter how many times this line of thinking is debunked, white politicians love to trot it out to excuse white Americans of their racist votes. It’s old and tiresome, and especially galling coming from Democrats who spend their time chasing a white vote that’s reliably voted Republicans since Reagan.
The Democratic Party Wants to be the Party of Reasonable White People
It’s why Mayor Pete is doing so well in the predominantly white early states and why they will lose to Donald Trump…
With that said, Sanders is the only person running in the Democratic primary who is willing to make the bold changes needed to move the country in a new direction so it can work for all of us and not just a wealthy few.
The Democratic Party, with its neo-liberal principles and business-friendly policies, is scared shitless that someone who actually cares about the people, and is not beholden to special interests, may come into power and disrupt their well-stocked apple cart.
As Sanders has continued to surge in the polls, the Democratic Party and their various operatives and surrogates are getting nervous and doing everything they can to try and discredit him any way they can.
Here are some of the most recent attacks on Sanders and his candidacy.
The Elizabeth Warren Debacle
According to Senator Warren, in a meeting a few weeks before the 2020 campaign started, Senator Sanders told her that a woman couldn’t win the presidency. Senator Sanders vehemently denied these allegations, of course, telling CNN:
“It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win,” the Vermont senator said in a statement released by his campaign. “It’s sad that, three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren’t in the room are lying about what happened.”
And that was the problem with the Warren accusation from the very beginning: who would beleive that the man who encouraged her to run not just in 2018 but 2015 as well, is the same man who turns around and says a woman couldn’t win the presidency?
It also didn’t help that the accusation came on the heels of Sanders’ surging poll numbers and Warren’s declining ones. None of the obvious problems with the accusation stopped the mainstream media and their various surrogates from running with the story and attempting to paint Bernie Sanders as the worst kind of sexist.
From CNN to The View, democratic surrogates everywhere were proclaiming this to be a turning point in the Sanders campaign that could seriously dent his popularity with (white) women. No one agrees with Meghan McCain on The View ever, but when she commented, Sanders issues with women were the same as Pete Buttigieg with black people; no one on the panel failed to disagree.
Elizabeth Warren’s Inability to Discuss Race and Black People is a Big Problem
When asked simple questions about race and black people, the senator didn’t seem to have any answers and in one…
CNN took it one step further when they all but called Senator Sanders a liar at the last Democratic debate. When asked by the moderator if he’d told Warren a woman couldn’t win the presidency, he responded no he didn’t.
The moderator then turned around and asked Senator Warren how did she feel when Sanders told her a woman couldn’t win the presidency. The “slip” wasn’t missed by either the candidates, the audience, or the viewing audience, and CNN was much maligned in various media outlets because of it.
The entire ridiculous ordeal ended with MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid using a body language expert to show how Sanders had been lying the entire time and wasn’t to be trusted. A body language expert who, upon further investigation, had never met a conspiracy she didn’t like.
The attack didn’t have the result many thought and hoped it would. Even with the New York Times endorsement, she split with Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren lost even more ground in the polls as Bernie’s numbers continued to surge.
It seems like voters decided who they believed in this manufactured scandal. And it wasn’t Elizabeth Warren.
The Hilary Clinton Non-Endorsement
Two weeks before the Iowa Caucuses Hillary Clinton decided it was a good time to rehash the 2016 Presidential campaign and to tell the world how she really felt about the Senator from Vermont. In The Hollywood Reporter interview she defended this quote from her forthcoming documentary:
“Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney, and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it,”
Why Clinton thought it was a good idea to slam, Sanders so close to the first contest in the 2020 Democratic Primary is beyond me. Unless, of course, it was part of a continued trend by the Democratic Party and their surrogates to discredit Sanders as he continues to climb in the polls.
The backlash to Clinton’s interview was swift as not just Bernie surrogates, but other party loyalists pointed out that, even if what she had to say were true, it wasn’t helpful in such a contested primary and she is ultimately doing what she accused the Sanders campaign of doing to her in 2016.
After hours of taking a beating online and in the news, Clinton did an abrupt about-face that same Tuesday and in the evening said she would back Sanders if he were the eventual nominee.
Barack Obama Is Not A Fan
It’s been floating around for months that former President Barack Obama would actively speak out against Sanders if it looked like he’d become the nominee. In November Barack Obama privately warned Democrats about going too far left:
Former President Barack Obama on Friday warned Democratic primary candidates to avoid moving too far left in their policy proposals.
“Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision we also have to be rooted in reality,” Obama said. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”
Obama’s comments, made to the Democracy Alliance in Washington D.C., come as a large spread of candidates compete in the Democratic primary.
That same month Politico reported that Obama said he would speak out against Sanders if he looked like he had a legit shot at being the nominee.
When they asked for further clarification on the Obama’s stance regarding his willingness to speak out against Bernie Sanders if it looked like he would win the nomination they received this very telling quote from an Obama adviser:
“I can’t really confirm that,” the adviser said. “He hasn’t said that directly to me. The only reason I’m hesitating at all is because, yeah, if Bernie were running away with it, I think maybe we would all have to say something. But I don’t think that’s likely. It’s not happening.”
As Sanders continues to challenge for frontrunner status, it will be interesting to see if Obama and other Obama advisers make good on their plan to “speak out” against the Senator.
The David Frum Hit Job
David “I’ve never met a war I didn’t Like” Frum decided it was his job to let us all know that Bernie Sanders didn’t have a shot at winning the election, and we were all fools for thinking otherwise.
In an article no one asked for with offering an opinion no one wanted Frum details what he see’s as Sanders fatal flaw and the primary reason he won’t be able to win the election against Donald Trump:
Bernie Sanders is a fragile candidate. He has never fought a race in which he had to face serious personal scrutiny. None of his Democratic rivals is subjecting him to such scrutiny in 2020. Hillary Clinton refrained from scrutinizing Sanders in 2016. It did not happen, either, in his many races in Vermont. A Politico profile in 2015 by Michael Kruse argued that Sanders had benefited from “an unwritten compact between Sanders, his supporters, and local reporters who have steered clear” of writing about Sanders’s personal history “rather than risk lectures about the twisted priorities of the press.”
He later goes on to say that Trump and his surrogates won’t be so nice to Sanders, and the Senator won’t be able to withstand such a beating. However, the barrage of insults Frum offers up involve Sanders being portrayed as a socialist and a communist.
He seems to miss the world were Senator Sanders has routinely been called these from other democrats for the last two election cycles, and it has done nothing to blunt his popularity among his growing base of supporters.
Why Frum thinks these insults coming from the right will have more success than when they came from the left is beyond me, especially when you consider Donald Trump is perfectly okay with socialism and big government spending when it benefits the rich.
A Coalition Looks to Form to Take Bernie Down
Since there isn’t a Never Bernie faction in place similar to the one that tried and failed to take down President Trump during the 2016 Republican Primary campaign, it’s being a reported that a group of Democratic operatives are looking to form a coalition to bring down Bernie Sanders:
A group of loosely affiliated Democratic operatives have been in discussions about putting together an effort to attack Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) should he end up winning next week’s Iowa caucus and, potentially, the New Hampshire primary a week later.
The talks, which two sources described to The Daily Beast, are in their nascent stages, and have already hit a snag. Big money Democrats have shown reluctance at funding such an effort, which could consist of ads attacking Sanders, and institutions associated with Democratic politics have largely shied away from being part of any campaign that goes after the senator, either out of fear over the backlash or growing acceptance at the prospect of him becoming the party’s nominee.
As the article notes there’s no guarantee the coalition will be able to get off the ground. The interesting part about the discussion of such a coalition is how it’s not coming from primary rivals of the Senator, but Democratic Party loyalists, surrogates and operatives; establishment Dems who seem to fear, not just Sanders chance in the general, but what he may mean for the Democratic Party as a whole.
There is no true Left in American politics.
By any measure, Sanders would be more a moderate in most other democratic nations. Wanting things like tax-supported higher education, universal healthcare, and a stronger social safety net for the poor and working-class is hardly radical for any place outside of the United States.
The fact that some of Senator Sanders stiffest opposition comes from the “left” shows just how far right the political parties have moved in this country and just how scary a Sanders presidency would be for establishment Dems who’ve staked their careers on being business-friendly, catering to the rich and tossing scraps to the rest of us while telling us “radical” change just isn’t possible.
There’s a genuine fear that Sanders could win the nomination. And while many Democratic, operatives, surrogates, and current politicians may say they are afraid of a Sanders nomination because they don’t beleive he’ll beat Trump, it seems just as likely they are afraid of him winning because he will.