Bernie Sanders may have cost Hillary Clinton the election in 2016. In 2020, she may be returning the favor.

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a “Get Out the Caucus” rally at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School in West Des Moines, Iowa. January 24, 2016. (photo: Gage Skidmore)

There is a little saying in politics: Liberals only eat their own.

Democrat on Democrat crime has been perhaps more rampant this election season than any other in living memory.

U.S. voters have enjoyed everything from freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a racist on Twitter and saying Joe Biden doesn’t belong in the same party as her to Rep. Tulsi Gabbard suing former presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton for defamation.

For her part, Gabbard has been publicly intent on getting back at “Warmonger” Clinton since the former First Lady called Gabbard a Russian agent in the press. No word on whether Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who has also been called a Russian agent by Hillary Clinton, has an intention of following suit.

If Clinton isn’t careful, she may be facing a class-action suit with the “Russian agent” smear nonsense.

Then, of course, there has been the recent and much discussed discord between Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Whether Bernie Sanders expressed the opinion to Elizabeth Warren in 2018, in private, that a woman wouldn’t be able to win the presidency in 2020 is immaterial. Neither Sen. Elizabeth Warren, nor her shameful abettors at CNN, actually believes Bernie Sanders to be a sexist or in any way dangerous to women’s rights.

So it is rather difficult to see why Warren felt it necessary to indulge in her big revelation about Sanders this close to Iowa. Either her timing was a complete coincidence, or she was saving particular coup de gras for a crucial moment to use against her “friend” Bernie Sanders- but only if she needed it.

All these Democratic candidates would like voters to think they are just really, really good people who hate Donald Trump and want to remove him for the good of the nation and humanity.

Not so.

These are career politicians who want to get elected even more than they hate Donald Trump. Oh, they hate him. But they also love this opportunity he has given them to truly whip Democratic voters into a frothing, Trump-hating and Democrat electing frenzy.

Of course, this is where their plan to get elected falls apart. At this point in the presidential race, contenders for the Democratic nomination don’t get to defeat Donald Trump; they have to defeat each other.

Now, let’s be charitable and allow that each Democratic candidate is in the race only because they believe themselves to have the best chance of defeating Donald Trump- and their Democratic opponents less so.

But that means if any of the remaining candidates in the race actually believed another Democrat had a better chance at beating Trump, they would immediate withdraw from the race and throw all their money and support behind that candidate. Wouldn’t they?

Underneath the noble armchair cover of defeating Donald Trump is a messy, dysfunctional, political coalition hanging on by a string. In-party progressive versus moderate kerfuffles are something Democratic leadership has tried hard to keep out of the public eye.

But no one can hide the primary challenges coming for moderate Democratic this election cycle from the left and no incumbent is safe. No one can ignore the Justice Democrats, or the fruits of their labor Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both of whom have a message for Democrats holding to the middle-ground:

“Be afraid.”

That doesn’t mean the Democratic establishment and leadership Democrats are taking any of this lying down, or that they don’t have an arsenal of their own to use against progressive party members who want to destroy the Democratic majority in the House to move the party left.

Bernie Sanders fans have surely been noticing the writing on the wall; more like fine print really: The establishment Democrats and party leadership unilaterally has it out for Bernie Sanders.

Former President Barack Obama firmly contesting a Sanders nomination by promising, in no uncertain terms, to actively campaign against him was one thing. Then there were CNN’s ham-handed and calculated attacks on Sanders during the last debate over the ridiculous idea that Sanders is a sexist.

The stunt seems to have backfired on CNN, which found Sanders leading in the polls for the first time in its most recent Iowa poll.

Next, we have the New York Times, that great bastion of urbane liberalism, endorsing Warren over Sanders.

Now finally, there is Hillary Clinton. Clinton has made it clear- and again in no uncertain terms (which isn’t something savvy politicians like Obama and Clinton normally do)- that the establishment Democrats do not want Sanders to be the nominee.

They don’t like Sanders. As in, they really don’t like him.

“He [Bernie Sanders] was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. 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.” — former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton

Clinton not only refused to say if she would support Sanders if he were the Democratic nominee, though she has since walked back that remark, she went on to lambast his entire organization and even the progressives who have enthusiastically taken up his cause.

Though she stopped short of branding them “deplorables”.

“I will say, however, that it’s not only him, it’s the culture around him. It’s his leadership team. It’s his prominent supporters. It’s his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women.”

“And I really hope people are paying attention to that because it should be worrisome that he has permitted this culture- not only permitted, seems to really be very much supporting it.”

“And I don’t think we want to go down that road again where you campaign by insult and attack and maybe you try to get some distance from it, but you either don’t know what your campaign and supporters are doing or you’re just giving them a wink and you want them to go after Kamala or after Elizabeth.”

“I think that’s a pattern that people should take into account when they make their decisions.” — Hillary Clinton

Clinton is likely referring to the classic political gambit of having a political surrogate sharply criticize your opponent while publicly distancing from the ugly episode yourself.

Kind of like what Elizabeth Warren did to Bernie Sanders; the accusation wasn’t revealed by Warren herself, of course, though Warren was the only other person present.

Still, bells can’t be unrung. Career politicians, like Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren, know that the criticism will stick, even if they later walk it back.

For instance, a Sanders supporter recently wrote a stunning op-ed in criticism of Biden, saying Biden “has a big corruption problem and it makes him a weak candidate.”

It is true that Hunter Biden’s connection with Trump’s impeachment trial has already proven quite a headache for the Biden campaign, and that campaign’s refusal to adequately counter the accusations haven’t helped Biden with donors or in the polls.

New corruption accusations have also been leveled at Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family in a new book published yesterday and already number one on the best-seller list.

It is not a stretch to say that Joe Biden has a corruption problem that he is failing to address and that it might cost him the election, if not properly dealt with in the primary.

Sanders, however, was quick to distance from the accusations.

“It is absolutely not my view that Joe is corrupt in any way. And I’m sorry that that op-ed appeared.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders

See what he did there?

It could be that this primary season is no uglier than those in the past. But even Trump’s primary season against entrenched Republican legacies and heir apparents like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio seems less dire by comparison.

Trump truly does seem to bring out the very worst in Democrats.

The anti-Bernie bandwagon is grinding into full gear: With a laughing Hillary Clinton at the wheel and a fading “I’m with her!” sticker still clinging to the bumper while Democrats climb onboard in droves.

And Trump supporters, not to mention Trump, are passing the popcorn.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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