Looks like Elizabeth Warren won’t join Team Bernie any time soon. In her first major one-on-one interview since withdrawing from the race, Warren told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that Bernie Sanders’ campaign has an “organized nastiness” that intends to intimidate opponents out of the public square. “I’m talking about some really ugly stuff that went on,” Warren tells Maddow, and “it’s not just about me.”
Warren manages to make it about Donald Trump too, of course, but her main target is clearly Sanders:
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) March 6, 2020
She made specific reference to what she described as online harassment of union leaders in Nevada ahead of last month’s caucuses because they took issue with Sanders’s Medicare-for-all proposal.
“They didn’t just disagree,” she said. “They actually published the phone numbers and home addresses of the two women, immigrant women, and really put them in fear for their families. … These are tough women who run labor organizing campaigns … and yet said for the first time because of this onslaught of online threats that they felt really under attack, and that wasn’t the first time it happened.” …
“We need to reckon with this in our political discourse,” said Warren, adding that what’s needed is “an understanding that nobody puts somebody’s family at risk or puts you at risk.”
She said that Democrats cannot “follow that same kind of politics of division that Donald Trump follows.”
“He draws strength from tearing people apart, from demonizing people,” Warren added. “… It’s not who I want to be as a Democrat. It’s not who I want to be as an American.”
That’s a bit rich for someone who insinuated just yesterday that her exit had to do with the misogyny inherent in the Democratic electorate and in the competing campaigns. Warren also famously accused Sanders of claiming a woman couldn’t win the presidency, a charge that came out conveniently just before the Iowa caucuses, which Sanders vehemently denied. When it comes to tearing people apart and demonizing them, Warren seems to have her own skills and talents.
However, the larger point about the Bernie Bros is almost certainly correct. James O’Keefe had a series of undercover videos that showed Sanders’ campaign workers talking about the use of political violence to achieve their ends, even to the point of guillotines and gulags. Sanders himself is fond of claiming that his movement is all about “Scandinavian” socialism, but his followers tend much more toward the “Sandinista” version of it.
The most significant part of this story might not be what was said — we have all known this for a while — but where it was said. Chris Matthews just got pushed out of his Hardball slot for not being sufficiently appreciative of the Bernie Bro Generation, haranguing the “Democratic Socialists” for being, well, very much into the traditional model. And yet Maddow plunges full speed ahead into the same territory, albeit in an interview mode, going after the head of the same movement in a similar fashion. Good for Maddow, whose progressive cred is probably strong enough to keep her from getting the Matthews treatment. Probably.