Early in the campaign, when few took Bernie Senders' seriously, I heard this, over and over again from Hillary Clinton's people: "It's great he's running. He will push Hillary to the left."
But as the Sanders anti-Wall St. campaign began to resonate, especially with thousands of young activists (the very shock troops and organizers HRC so badly needs if she is to beat Donald Trump) the tone of her campaign changed. The attacks, not only on Bernie, but on his young activist base grew sharper.
Remember Madeleine Albright's "special place in hell" barb in February? Or Gloria Steinem telling Bill Maher that young women are attracted to Sanders’ campaign because "that’s a good way to meet boys"?
More recently came the charge that Sanders' unrelenting critique of Hillary's ties to Wall St. will only feed the Trump campaign.
From The Hill:
“You know who would really love it if Bernie Sanders kept attacking Hillary all the way to the convention?” Christina Reynolds, a Clinton campaign spokesperson, wrote in an email. “Donald Trump,” she wrote."
|Sanders in Chicago with Troy LaRaviere (left) and Chuy Garcia.|
How's that playing with Sanders base? Not well. Latest polls show a quarter of them declaring that they won't ever vote for Clinton. I'm dubious.
If the Sanders campaign was intended to push Hillary to the left, it's been a dismal failure. If it's about building a movement and offering an alternative to traditional pay-to-play politics, it's been an overwhelming success. This, even if and when Hillary gets the nomination.
I have no doubt that, in the end, Sanders will throw his support to Clinton and that great majority of his voters will vote for Hillary in November. The fear of a Trump victory is just too serious and the opportunity for Democratic victories, up and down the ticket is too great.
But the question is, on what basis can unity between the two camps be built. The Sanders movement didn't come all this way to hand itself over to Clinton with nothing in return.