Bernie Sanders may not be on his way to the Democrat nomination, but he’s bound and determined to make things uncomfortable for Hillary and continue amusing conservatives for as long as he can keep this broken field run going. Bernie was one of the guests on CNN’s State of the Union yesterday and Jake Tapper asked him about recent charges (from people like… Claire McCaskill?) that he was just too darned liberal to lead the Democrats’ ticket. Jake also noted that the Democrats in Congress weren’t exactly lining up to endorse him. Bernie wasn’t gong to let that ruffle his feathers, though. (From the Washington Times)
“I think we will get some endorsements, but I think it’s very clear to say that Secretary Clinton is the candidate of most of the members of Congress, is the candidate of the Democratic establishment,” Mr. Sanders said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Mr. Sanders, who is challenging Mrs. Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, added that many voters want a candidate willing to challenge the establishment.
“Secretary Clinton has long ties with many of the Democrats in Congress so it should not be surprising,” he said. “But I think what is equally interesting is the fact that all over this country, ordinary people, working people, elderly people are moving in our direction because they do want a candidate to take on the establishment.”
Are you noticing a word showing up over and over again in this discussion? It’s “the E word,” but I thought the GOP owned the copyright on that one. Apparently not, since Bernie has his own army of supporters in the liberal, Elizabeth Warren segment of the base and they’re not being shy about saying it either. Liberal site Crooks and Liars has the video, along with a rather curious explanation of “the Sanders effect” on the Democrat primary. It may sound familiar to many of you who typically watch GOP politics.
As Sanders rightfully noted, of course the Democratic establishment is going to support a member of their own party, but his message is resonating with their voters. Hillary Clinton would be wise to just take a page out of Sanders’ playbook and get out there and campaign and make her case to the voters, rather than sending surrogates out to attack him and alienate the progressive base of the party.
Excuse me… did you just say alienate the progressive base of the party? Hold the phone here, boys. That’s our schtick. If there’s going to be any alienating going on, it will be done by people like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee against the Republican House and Senate leadership and whichever “establishment” candidate they choose to endorse. You can’t just go around co-opting our message like that.
And yet, the fact is that I’m seeing more and more of this sort of thing popping up in liberal twitter streams. Could it be true? Do the Democrats have their own liberal version of the Tea Party brewing up a witch’s cauldron of discontent in their own basement? I mean, there’s always been rumblings about it, but the Coffee Party never went anywhere. There may be a few troublemakers who don’t think that the Democrat rank and file candidates veer far enough toward true socialism, but when it comes down to election time and getting out the vote they show up for people like Obama, Clinton or Andrew Cuomo like loyal little foot soldiers.
Traditionally it’s the disaffected conservatives who stay home or start uprisings against the perceived mainstream candidates. How refreshing would it be to see a real debate among the liberals? If Sanders could actually succeed in pushing Hillary farther to the left, this could be an extremely useful development. But frankly, I’ll believe it when I actually see some proof. Team Hillary is still claiming to take Sanders seriously (and one of her spokespeople repeated the required lines on Morning Joe today) but there’s no movement in the few policy positions she’s actually staked out. If she really comes out with something new and tries to swing to the Left of Bernie, then we can talk about whether this is real or not.