Many don’t remember the deep resentment and consternation among Bernie Sanders’ supporters in 2016. I saw it with my own eyes in Philadelphia the night Mrs. Clinton formally accepted her party’s nomination. Bernie supporters were in the upper deck of the Wells Fargo Center holding “HILLARY” signs with letters blackened out to read “**LIAR*.” They knew their party rejected him from the beginning and rigged it for her. They would not forget. They won’t take it quietly the next time.
They’re back and this time they have a very destructive plan.
Right on cue, it appears the Democratic establishment does indeed have the same playbook in store for Bernie 2020. Come hell or high water, Democratic party elders don’t believe the man with actual enthusiasm behind him deserves their party’s nomination. They correctly calculate the enthusiasm for him isn’t widespread enough, nor is what he’s selling palatable to Americans outside of Manhattan, Boston, Detroit, and LA.
So they’re shoving Joe Biden down their socialist base’s throat with some assists along the way from familiar faces inside the party who want to take Bernie out at the knees before he wins critical early primaries like Iowa.
The AP confirmed last week there’s outright “fear” of Bernie winning.
Since then, the old guard has been launched in a media blitz to try to squash his momentum. Barack Obama’s former chief-of-staff Rham Emmanuel was one of the first to launch on Bernie. “You need a candidate with a message that can help us win swing voters in battleground states. The degree of difficulty dramatically increases under a Bernie Sanders candidacy. It just gets a lot harder.”
Failed presidential candidate John Kerry appeared with old-school Democrat and MSNBC host Chris Matthews who similarly engaged in some hand wringing over Sanders.
“You get the wrong candidate, you might lose the whole thing,” Matthews said. “What about Bernie Sanders, do you think he’s a danger as a president, as a candidate? You’re out there fighting like hell for Joe Biden. How much a danger is Bernie Sanders who is now leading in the polls in the latest poll out there in Iowa, how big a danger would he be to the country or to the party, the Democrats?”
Kerry responded by reminding viewers Bernie doesn’t have the qualifications his old swamp-dwelling pal Biden does. As if the Democratic base of #MeToo and ANTIFA still care about political resumes in 2020.
Meanwhile Elizabeth Warren broadsided team Sanders this week with claims Sanders once told Warren privately a woman couldn’t win the White House. Warren’s claim was dutifully reported as fact by CNN without any real evidence other than second-hand, whisper-down-the-lane sources. The story broke just before the last Democratic debate ahead of the Iowa caucuses.
The evening of the debate, CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip, one of the debate moderators, parroted the charge in a question to Sanders: “I want to be clear here. You’re saying that you never told Senator Warren that a woman could not win the election?”
The moment got uglier when Phillip turned to Warren as if she didn’t hear or didn’t believe Sanders’ answer and asked, “What did you think when Senator Sanders told you that a woman could not win an election?”
Sanders supporters went to war on social media. The hastag #CNNisTrash trended well into the day after the debate. Meanwhile, James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas released an undercover video of a Sanders’ campaign staffer named Kyle Jurek who candidly raged, “If Bernie doesn’t get the nomination, or it goes to the second round at the DNC convention, f–ing Milwaukee will burn,” he said, referring to the host city for the Democrats convention this year.
“It’ll start in Milwaukee, and then when the police push back on that, other cities will just f–ing (explosion sound).”
While that’s disturbing, it’s the least of the Democrats’ worries over Bernie. He’s obviously not going to run a third time. He’s not a young man anymore. But he does have some rabid, young support in his millennial pals in the House known as “The Squad.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has already demonstrated she won’t be cowed by Democratic establishment figures like her boss Speaker Pelosi. She’s long challenged the traditional rules of political norms in Washington. AOC’s behavior in the new year has been particularly interesting, and I believe a foreshadowing of what might be in store for disenfranchised Bernie boosters.
Fox News reported Cortez hasn’t donated a cent of the millions of dollars she’s raised to the Democrats’ House campaign organization. She’s raised more money than any of her party colleagues in the House, and she’s chosen to build her own progressive infrastructure instead.
In a tweet a few days earlier, AOC tweeted: “Are people actually upset over discussing multiparty systems? The conversation is helpful for understanding difference among Dems. People are acting like a Dem didn’t just join the GOP a few weeks ago.”
What does this mean? The new progressive wing of the Democratic party wants Bernie. Period. They’re not hiding their war with the old guard. This time, if the Democrats don’t give them Bernie, AOC will take her money and power and launch a third party. Perhaps a “Democratic Socialist” party with Bernie as the face - until Cortez herself matures to take the mantle.
Maybe you’ve concluded correctly that would be suicide for the party. That it would splinter Democratic votes and hand a second term back to Trump for certain. And you’d be right.
But short-term victory the old way is meaningless to those who wish to radically transform our nation in their image. Another four years of their ultimate bogeyman will suit them just fine as they burn their old party to the ground and prepare for war their way in 2024.
Democrats beware. You’re playing with fire. This time they’re going to make you feel the “Bern.”