The Anti-Bernie Brigade

Hillary Clinton is leading the charge. Elizabeth Warren is close on her heels. Barack Obama may be the next Democrat in leadership to denounce Bernie. Can they stop him?

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaking with supporters in Iowa. August 9, 2019. (photo: Gage Skidmore)

During the last Democratic debate, viewers were left cringing through the tense exchange between two self-described friends and fellow progressives.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren had, apparently, been sitting on a little information about Sen. Bernie Sanders since 2018 and had leaked it in the previous week- through surrogates, of course- to CNN. According to Elizabeth Sanders, and two sources she told who were not present during the conversation in question, Bernie Sanders told Warren in a private conversation in 2018 that a woman couldn’t be president in 2020.

Now, since CNN had two sources, the network considered this story corroborated and reported it as fact, even going as far as to call Bernie Sanders a liar on national television.

Of course, since both CNN “sources” had the same source- Elizabeth Warren, as she was the only other person present at this meeting between two friends in 2018 besides Bernie- the story is hardly corroborated at all, nor can it be.

But that’s CNN for you, as progressive liberals recently learned after the blatantly discriminatory treatment faced by Bernie Sanders in the last debate by “impartial” CNN “moderators”.

The establishment Democrats and the Democratic Party have long been concerned about Bernie Sanders possibly cinching the Democratic nomination. He isn’t exactly a Democrat, after all.

And Sanders’ particular brand of socialism doesn’t poll well with certain demographic groups Democrats desperately need in order to have any chance at all of beating Donald Trump in 2020.

First, socialism is terribly unpopular in Latino immigrant communities. Even second generation immigrants grew up listening to horror stories about food shortages and rampant government corruption. Many first-generation Latino immigrants came to the U.S. because they were fleeing a collapse of the very socialist programs promoted by Bernie Sanders and his frequent visitor on the campaign trail, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The second group of Democrats severely put off by Bernie Sanders and his socialist approach to government is unions and union workers. Many of these organizations, and individuals, have worked long and hard to hammer out labor deals that have often included medical benefits.

Many union workers compromised on lower wages for more benefits. They aren’t sold on Medicare for All.

Another group of potential Democrats who aren’t sold on Medicare for All are seniors currently on Medicare themselves. Their concerns- that Medicare for All, and the process by which it would be implemented- would interfere with their current coverage.

Corporate donors- of which, in spite of whatever A.O.C. and Bernie Sanders may believe- the Democratic Party has many- aren’t exactly sold on the Green New Deal, either. Nor are they confident that Democrat plans to remake the U.S. energy sector won’t result in stock losses and company closings.

It is for all these reasons, and many others besides, that many moderate Democrats don’t feel that Bernie Sanders would be good for the Democratic Party. Nor do they think he has much of a chance in defeating Donald Trump, who will have no shortage of video clips of Sanders making statements and embracing positions no moderate Democrat would recognize.

No political insider was much surprised- especially after Elizabeth Warren slipped the knife into Bernie’s bank during the last debate- that Hillary Clinton chose this week to pile on.

In a no-holds-barred interview, Clinton let her true feelings about Bernie Sanders rip. Saying that no one liked him or wanted to work with him was bad.

Calling him a sexist, in charge of a deeply sexist presidential campaign- one that routinely and viciously attacked the campaigns of his female competitors- was worse.

With Sen. Sanders stuck in the Senate trial of President Trump’s impeachment for the foreseeable future, this is the perfect time to attack Sanders in the press. Unable to properly defend himself, and indeed unable to even show his face on the campaign trail, damage control will have to be left to Bernie surrogates.

So it is no surprise to hear rumors that former President Barack Obama, who has long said he would campaign against Bernie, intends to speak out against him in the coming days.

In opposing the nomination of Bernie Sanders, Obama likely hopes to push the Democratic field in a more moderate direction.

Though who Obama would like to see take Bernie Sanders’ place at the head of the Iowa pack is more difficult to say.

While former Vice President Joe Biden has featured Barack Obama prominently in his most recent campaign ads, Obama has not endorsed Joe Biden. On the contrary.

A former vice president not getting the seal of approval from his old boss is bad enough. Biden’s two-steps around the subject are worse.

Alternately, Biden has claimed to have turned down the endorsement from Obama and that he doesn’t need it. Either way, Biden is wrong; he was wrong to turn it down if Obama offered it and he is certainly wrong that he doesn’t need it.

At no point has Biden’s candidacy been strong enough to allow him to turn down advantages, which an Obama endorsement certainly would be.

But Obama also hasn’t endorsed his protege Deval Patrick in the race. Patrick, a late arrival onto the field of potential Democratic nominees, hasn’t made many waves in the race thus far. Unlike fellow late arrival Mike Bloomberg, Patrick doesn’t appear to have a billion dollars to bankroll his campaign.

The other moderates in the race are former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Buttigieg has had a great deal of trouble picking up support in the African-American community. If he doesn’t find a way to connect to Democrats who aren’t wealthy white liberals, his campaign may eventually go the way of Beto O’Rourke.

Sen. Klobuchar has had good news and bad news this week. The good news is that she picked up a coveted co-endorsement from the New York Times, which chose her as the Democratic moderate standard bearer.

The bad news is that, like Sanders, Klobuchar is stuck in a Senate hearing without even access to a phone.

The Democratic primary is coming down to the wire.

At this point, a kind word from Barack Obama- or an unkind word from him- could make or break a campaign.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)



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