After Bernie Sanders lost the New York primary by a significant margin, he took some time away from campaigning to rest up in Vermont, and there was hope, including among many of his reasonable supporters, that once the reality of the impossible math set in, he would return to the campaign trail with an eye toward facilitating unity.
Unfortunately, that has not happened.
Thursday, April 21: "Bernie Sanders Renews Attacks on Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania."
Is Bernie backing down after the drubbing he got in New York?This, despite the fact that Sanders himself once identified going after Clinton's speeches is a personal attack and "the sort of character assault he has long opposed."
Not so much.
Two days after he lost the New York primary to Hillary Clinton, a feisty Bernie Sanders showed up in Pennsylvania and renewed his now-familiar attacks on the Democratic front-runner.
Mr. Sanders told an audience in Reading, Pa., that Mrs. Clinton is benefiting from super PACs raising millions of dollars from Wall Street firms and "special interests." In a mocking tone, he took aim at her for delivering paid speeches to Wall Street at $225,000 a pop in some cases.
And he called on her to release the speech transcripts, sarcastically saying that she should be eager to let the public read texts so eloquent that they commanded such high fees.
"Now, I kind of think if you're going to get $225,000 for a speech, it must be a brilliant, insightful, world-shattering speech, don't you think?" Mr. Sanders said. "It must be a speech that would probably solve all of the crises facing our planet and then some. And it was probably written in Shakespearean prose. And I think a speech of that extraordinary magnitude should be shared with the American people."
Friday, April 22: Sanders says "the degree to which he'd campaign for Hillary if she's the nominee depends on her platform." Thus setting himself up to take credit for any of Clinton's existing ideas and policies that conform to his ideals.
Saturday, April 23: "Sanders says he has lost primaries to Clinton because 'poor people don't vote'." Now, there is truth in the assertion that poor people vote at lower rates, for a variety of reasons (including actual voter disenfranchisement), but the fact is that, where they are voting, Sanders is still losing.
Sunday, April 24: "Sanders: Democratic Party hasn't been fair to me."
"Do you think this process has been fair to you? The Democratic nomination process?" moderator Chuck Todd asked the Vermont senator in an interview filmed Saturday in Baltimore and aired Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."Except for, you know, how he's totally complaining.
"Yes and no," Sanders said, going on to criticize the role of the media for neglecting to focus on "real issues facing America." The media, he said, emphasizes "political gossip" rather than "issues that affect working people."
"So it sounds like the party, though, you feel like's been fair to you?" Todd asked Sanders.
"No," Sanders responded. "I think we have— look, we're taking on the establishment. That's pretty clear."
Pointing to the Democratic debate schedule, of which three of the first four took place on weekend nights, Sanders said they were "scheduled — pretty clearly, to my mind, at a time when there would be minimal viewing audience— et cetera, et cetera."
"But you know, that's the way it is. We knew we were taking on the establishment," he said. "And here we are. So [I'm] not complaining."
During the same interview, he reiterated his point that Clinton will have to "convince" his supporters that she "stands up for the needs of the middle class and working families," and also took a few more shots at the Democratic Party: "The function of the Democratic Party cannot just be to go to wealthy people and raise money. It's got to be meeting with ordinary people, hearing what's on their mind and prepare to take on the powerful special interest, who today control this country legislatively, economically and media-wise."
Sure. Except, I just want to point out that while Sanders was having a massive rally in New York City during which one of his surrogates called the party "corporate Democratic whores," Clinton was meeting with people at a small ice cream shop owned by a man who was once imprisoned and turned to entrepreneurship when he couldn't get hired after serving his time. And then she mentioned him and his circumstances in her victory speech.
Which, by the way, was indicative of their campaigning styles leading up to the primary: "She campaigned tirelessly in the streets of the Big Apple. She danced the merengue in a Latino neighbourhood in Washington Heights and devoured an ice-cream concoction called 'Victory Mac Daddy' at an ice-cream parlour in the East Village. Meanwhile Mr Sanders stuck to holding large rallies in Prospect Park and Washington Square Park, attracting tens of thousands of mostly young people."
Sanders groused—and not for the first time—that the Democratic Party isn't reaching out to ordinary people and listening to them, even as he holds massive rallies and generally eschews intimate events, while his opponent, who he is constantly attacking for being elitist, is spending enormous amounts of time in smaller venues, meeting people one-on-one and listening to them.
Just look at her Flickr photostream: Sure, you'll see pictures of her at rallies, but you'll also see tons of pictures of her meeting with people in small groups, sitting with them, listening to them. Pictures like this one:
(Photo: Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America)
I love that picture. And there are a million more just like it.
I'm not saying Bernie Sanders has to campaign that way. Campaign however you want, Bernie Sanders! You do you! I'm just saying that I'm tired as all hell of his just constantly saying shit that criticizes the Democratic Party and/or Hillary Clinton for not doing things that she is already doing.
It's just the most mendacious kind of politicking, and I just seriously question what he is trying to accomplish, if it's not what it looks like, which is destroying the entire Democratic Party, by trying to make Hillary Clinton out to be a monster who is failing utterly to do anything right, when she's literally doing the very things he's saying no one is doing.
Which is to say nothing of his repeated complaints that she lacks in her platform things that are definitely there.
I don't know what it's going to take for him to knock off this destructive nonsense, but tomorrow is another multi-state primary day, with another huge one in Pennsylvania, where she's leading by double digits. If losing even more doesn't make him stop, I honestly cannot imagine what will.