Last night, the Hillary Clinton campaign was obliged to send out this email to supporters, under the subject line "Bernie's latest attack is irresponsible and poisonous."
Melissa—Meanwhile, Sanders' chief strategist Tad Devine was doing an appearance on Chris Hayes' MSNBC show, in which he accused Clinton of using President Obama as "human shield."
I want to let you know about a development that just occurred, because it matters. The tone of this primary matters, and the condition of our party at the end of it will matter as we prepare to face Donald Trump or Ted Cruz this fall.
Earlier today, the Sanders campaign wrote a letter to the Democratic National Committee, falsely accusing us of violating campaign finance law.
You won't be surprised by what happened next: 26 minutes after the letter was sent, his campaign sent a fundraising email attempting to capitalize on the phony charges.
(Before you read any further, let's get one thing straight: this accusation is false. They're questioning our joint fundraising agreement with the DNC, which allows us to support Democrats running up and down the ticket—the same fundraising structure used by President Obama in 2008 and 2012.)
This latest incident is part of a troubling pattern of behavior—occurring just as Bernie's mathematical odds of winning the nomination dwindle toward zero—in which Sanders and his team are not just debating us on issues (which we all agree is perfectly fair), but rather attacking Hillary Clinton's character, integrity, and motivations.
The fact that they include the Democratic Party in these charges—an organization we want future generations of progressives to trust and support—further confirms that the Sanders campaign has let things get out of hand in its waning days. To wit:
* Over the weekend, they had protesters outside one of our fundraising events—one whose proceeds went not just to Hillary for America, but to the Democratic National Committee and 32 state Democratic Parties—throwing dollar bills at Hillary's motorcade, as if they were at, shall we say, an adult entertainment venue. This was just days after someone introducing Bernie at a rally called Hillary a "Democratic whore."
* In last week's debate, Bernie questioned Hillary's commitment to fighting climate change because a whopping 0.2% of the money given to our campaign has come from employees of oil and gas companies. Not even 2%, mind you: 0.2%.
* And of course, Sanders spent several days calling Hillary unqualified for the presidency, based on an entirely false claim that Hillary had said the same about him. She hadn't (and still hasn't, even after what he said).
To be clear, we welcome a debate on the important issues facing Americans, like how to prevent gun violence, encourage tolerance, and do more to level the playing field for Americans who are counting on us.
But it's hard to see how anyone—other than Donald Trump and Ted Cruz—benefits from this downward spiral of irresponsible and baseless attacks. Right about now is when we ought to be talking about coming together as a progressive movement, not undermining a generation of voters' faith in the Democratic Party and in the woman who is almost certain to be its nominee.
Thank you for everything you do to support our campaign.
Hillary for America
I don't even know what to say that I haven't already said: Bernie Sanders has every right to keep running, but the way he is running is destructive. He is running as a Democrat against the Democratic Party. And he's employing decades-old rightwing smears against his opponent, sounding utterly indistinguishable from their Repubican opponents.
Building the Democratic Party has been a hallmark of Hillary Clinton's career. It's breathtaking to me that's now being used against her, by someone who is actively working to undermine the Democratic Party, even as he exploits its infrastructure to mount his presidential bid.
I am truly flabbergasted by the way Sanders is running his campaign. I am disappointed. And I am angry.
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In related news, I have a new essay at BNR: "Yes, It Matters That Hillary Is a Woman."