Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who rose to national prominence during his 2016 presidential campaign, might be a popular figure in his state, but at least one Vermont liberal is blaming him for the rise of President Donald Trump and the discord in the Democratic Party.
This week, Jon Svitavsky of Bridport announced his plans to oust Sanders from the Senate in 2018. 59-year-old Svitavsky, a Democrat who has never run for public office, announced that he is challenging the Vermont politician on social media on Wednesday and has since published a string of Facebook posts and tweets attacking Bernie Sanders, whom he calls a “self-serving celebrity” and a “celebrity no-show career politician.”
In an interview with Vermont Public Radio, Svitavsky criticized Sanders for his “divisive” politics, which he believes has damaged the Democratic Party and was instrumental in Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton.
“So not only did Bernie divide the Democratic Party and what not, but he continues to bash them, even on the unity tour, saying that Democrats and Republicans are the same, and they’re not.”
According to the Sanders challenger, he had no plans to attempt to replace Sanders in the U.S. Senate, but he is driven by the belief that Sanders has done the country harm.
Happy 4th of July! pic.twitter.com/n4vu6U3hd6
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 4, 2017
“I don’t have any money,” he said. “I’ve never aspired for office or power.”
“But darn it, I think Sanders has hurt our country very badly with what he’s done.”
In his Facebook posts, Svitavsky has called out Bernie Sanders’s vote against the Amber Alert system, a talking point that has long been used by those opposing Sanders.
“As a social worker, while working and helping the homeless in #Vermont, our ‘celebrity No-Show’ career politician Bernie Sanders was voting against the Nation’s Amber Law to protect children from sexual predators,” he wrote on Friday.
Senator Sanders has defended his vote by pointing out that the Amber Alert bill had unconstitutional riders that he did not agree with, particularly the sentencing provisions that he felt would take power that should rest with the judiciary.
If this legislation was to pass, there is no question that many thousands of our fellow Americans could die unnecessarily. pic.twitter.com/8DpjrJRmFO
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 25, 2017
Svitavsky is not alone in challenging Bernie Sanders in 2018. Folasade Adeluola of Greenfield, Indiana has also indicated that she is seeking the Vermont Senate post. In June, she filed a “statement of organization” with the Federal Elections Commission and has since launched a campaign website.
Svitavsky and Adeluola, both underdogs, have a tough road ahead of them. In April, a Harvard-Harris survey found that Bernie Sanders was the country’s most popular active politician.
— Vox (@voxdotcom) June 22, 2017
When asked for comment on Svitavsky’s criticism of Sanders, an aide told Vermont Public Radio that the senator’s staff “does not deal with campaign-related inquiries.” Bernie Sanders has yet to formally announce that he will be seeking reelection, but reports indicate that his Senate committee has been raising funds for his campaign.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]