UPDATE: Clinton has won the Nevada Democratic Caucuses.
Well, it’s happened. As Nevada Democrats head to caucus today, the Clinton campaign has launched what some saw was going to be an inevitable attack in this now-highly contested primary between the former first lady and the disheveled democratic socialist: Bernie hasn’t really been a Democrat for much of his career. Earlier this week, the former Secretary of State lobbed that attack during MSNBC’s town hall event hosted by Jose Diaz-Balart and Chuck Todd (via the Hill):
Responding to Sanders's criticism of her husband's administration, she defended his economic record while pivoting to a common charge from her campaign about how Sanders has also been critical of Obama.
"I know that Sen. Sanders has also attacked President Obama. He called him weak, called him disappointing, tried to get someone to run against him [in a primary in 2012]," she said during MSNBC's Democratic presidential forum in Nevada two days before the state's caucus.
"Maybe it’s that Sen. Sanders wasn't really a Democrat until he decided to run for president, so he doesn't really know what the past two Democratic presidents did." Sanders, an Independent senator from Vermont, calls himself a democratic socialist.
The crowd, a mix of Clinton and Sanders supporters as well as undecided voters, responded with a mix of cheers and boos.
Now, this is true; Sanders was an Independent senator for the vast majority of his pubic service career, in which he got little done regarding pushing initiatives relating to his own far left agenda. He just recently became a Democrat, which some could find problematic in the loyalty department. Nevertheless, given that Clinton barley eked out a win in Iowa, got slaughtered in New Hampshire, and could lose again tonight in Nevada–isn’t it a bit late to be pulling off this line of attack? Shouldn’t this attack have been launched when it was discovered that Clinton’s support had dropped by a third in Iowa last August? Yes, it may seem a bit unbelievable that some loony democratic socialist is driving up turnout for Democrats in the primary, but when you add Trump’s rise in the polls–things become much clearer. There are factions on both sides who feel that the system is rigged, and that both parties are failing to do their part in Washington. They’re angry, and they’re going for anyone who would take a baseball bat to the Capitol Dome.
Perhaps Clinton questioning Sanders’ party loyalty might have worked before Iowa, though it’s obvious that her team didn’t feel he was a threat. Now, he’s surging within striking distance of her in national polls. In some ways, it’s a good thing that Democrats have a couple extra debates, where Clinton’s best chance of showing the true difference between herself and Sanders is foreign policy, while the latter certainly has trouble treading water on that subject. It the 3 a.m. call line of attack over again, and it could be one of the life preservers Clinton needs, especially if she loses tonight.
So, yeah, maybe the Sanders isn’t a Democrat attack is probably not going to be effective, given how entrenched Sanders’ supporters are and the general fact that Hillary isn’t a good campaigner.