Dating back to last summer, Bernie Sanders has had a lot to say about Hillary Clinton, much of it rather puzzling to those of us who thought he was actually interested in becoming president. He’s referred to her as “highly accomplished” and a dedicated servant to her constituents in New York. He’s mentioned her “record of achievement” as Secretary of State, which as a real head scratcher. Sanders has essentially blown off her troubles with the FBI, claiming that Americans were sick and tired of hearing about her “damn emails.” None of these statements really sounded like the attitude of a guy who was looking for a fight.
Now, trailing in the pledged delegate derby by nearly 300, it sounds like Bernie Sanders is finally ready to come out swinging, warning primary voters that nominating Secretary Clinton would be a disaster. (Washington Times)
Fresh off a big win in the West Virginia primary, Sen. Bernard Sanders‘ campaign said Wednesday the Democratic Party would be courting “disaster” if it nominates Hillary Clinton as its presidential nominee.
In a fundraising email to supporters, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver cited recent polls showing the Vermont senator performing better against Republican Donald Trump in general election match-ups. Recent surveys have shown Mrs. Clinton virtually tied with Mr. Trump in the key battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.
“For months, Bernie Sanders has out-polled Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, and often by extraordinarily large margins. Because we must do everything we can to defeat Trump in November, our mission is to win as many pledged delegates as we can between now and June 14,” when the primary season ends, Mr. Weaver said. “Then we’re going to have a contested convention where the Democratic Party must decide if they want the candidate with the momentum who is best positioned to beat Trump, or if they are willing to roll the dice and court disaster simply to protect the status quo for the political and financial establishment of this country.”
It’s tempting to say better late than never, but in this case it may actually be far, far too late. There are barely a half dozen proportionally allocated states left to vote and there is no polling showing that Bernie has a chance of shutting out Clinton in any of these contests. Without such a complete grand slam, the math simply doesn’t work out to a scenario where he closes the gap. So this is when Sanders decides to actually go on the attack?
Up until now the closest he’s come to really tearing into Hillary Clinton was to remind people of dusty old votes she took on the Iraq War and legislation signed by her husband before the majority of his enthusiastic supporters were born. Yes, he’s beaten the drum about Clinton being too cozy with Wall Street and accepting large donations and speaking fees from the fat cats, but he’s really just accusing her of being a politician. That’s a rather curious line of attack from a guy who’s been on the public payroll either as Mayor of Burlington or in Washington for the better part of forty years.
One also has to wonder if any line of attack would shift his fortunes at this late date anyway. People often refer to Donald Trump as being a Teflon candidate because his poll numbers seem immune to pretty much any perceived misstep on the campaign trail or revelation about his past. But what seems to get less attention is the fact that Clinton can make essentially the same claim. She’s under investigation for multiple scandals, at least one of which could land her in jail were it to be fully prosecuted. She’s taken opposing positions on nearly every issue of the day over the past fifteen years. And in the year of the outsider, she is just about as large of a cog in the political machine as could be found anywhere in America. None of this significantly dents her support among the Democratic base and she still appears poised to be their nominee, if not the next president. (Pardon me while I get a stiff drink after typing that sentence.)
I’d normally wish Bernie the best of luck at this point, but from here on out I think I’ll hold off on that. His poll numbers against Trump are, I must confess, better than Hillary’s these days and even if they weren’t I have no sympathy for him. Sanders brought his current woes on himself by running a muddled, milquetoast apology of a campaign. If he’d been on the attack like this from the very beginning he might be preparing a victory speech to be given in Philadelphia right about now rather than figuring out how to gracefully back out of the mess he created.