Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is blaming Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for doing “lasting damage” to her campaign and of “paving the way” for President Trump’s attack against her as “Crooked Hillary.”
According to excerpts of Clinton’s new campaign tell-all book, “What Happened,” Clinton claims that she wanted to fight back against Sanders’s characterization of her as beholden to corporate influence but that former President Obama and others advised her to stay quiet.
“Throughout the primaries, every time I wanted to hit back against Bernie’s attacks, I was told to restrain myself,” Clinton writes. “Noting that his plans didn’t add up, that they would inevitably mean raising taxes on middle-class families, or that they were little more than a pipe-dream — all of this could be used to reinforce his argument that I wasn’t a true progressive. My team kept reminding me that we didn’t want to alienate Bernie’s supporters. President Obama urged me to grit my teeth and lay off Bernie as much as I could. I felt like I was in a straitjacket.”
Clinton ripped Sanders’s supporters — the so-called “Bernie Bros” — claiming that some of the attacks against her were “sexist” and arguing that Sanders’s attacks against her for raking in tens of millions of dollars for paid corporate speeches made it impossible for her to appeal to progressives during the general election campaign.
“Some of his supporters, the so-called Bernie Bros, took to harassing my supporters online,” Clinton writes. “It got ugly and more than a little sexist.
“When I finally challenged Bernie during a debate to name a single time I changed a position or a vote because of a financial contribution, he couldn’t come up with anything,” Clinton wrote. “Nonetheless, his attacks caused lasting damage, making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ campaign.”
In post-election interviews, Clinton has blamed her shocking election loss on Russian interference, former FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the criminal investigation into her private email server and latent sexism.
She has been criticized for refusing to take responsibility for her campaign’s shortcomings.
Clinton’s latest explanation for why she lost — blaming Sanders and his supporters — will reopen old wounds from the bitter primary between the two.
Sanders’s enthusiastic base of supporters has long felt that establishment Democrats, led by the Democratic National Committee, conspired against them to give Clinton the nomination. They say they’ve been treated as interlopers by Democrats, who didn’t take them into the fold and so failed to capitalize on their grassroots energy.
According to the latest Harvard-Harris Poll survey, Sanders is the most popular active politician in the nation, at 54 percent favorable and 36 percent unfavorable. Clinton’s favorability has not improved in her time out of the spotlight. She remains underwater at 42 percent positive and 53 percent negative.