Clinton’s New Strategy For Sanders: Disqualify Him, Defeat Him, Unify Party Later

Hillary Clinton has devised a new way of defeating Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, which involves disqualifying him in the minds of voters, even at the risk of alienating his supporters. Sanders’ campaign referred to the tactic as a “new low.”

On April 5, Bernie Sanders took Wisconsin by about 14 points, an election victory that was not considered possible just a few months ago. Likewise, Sanders has won Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, and Utah by large margins. The Vermont Senator is now ahead of his own estimations for his path to the White House, which was previously reported on by the Inquisitr.

The candidate claims all this gives him momentum, but it might also earn him something else — the wrath of the Clinton campaign.

According to News Busters, correspondent Jeff Zeleny was the first to sound the attack, speaking during CNN‘s Tuesday night Wisconsin primary coverage.

“They’re [Clinton’s campaign] running out of patience. So they’re going to begin deploying a new strategy. It’s going to be called: ‘Disqualify Him, Defeat Him’ … I’m told, beginning here in the New York primary in two weeks on his gun record, on other things.”

The quote quickly made its way to Reddit and to the Sanders campaign, which sent out an email warning of the coming storm. Of course, the fight is already underway at the New York Daily News.

The news outlet ran the headline “Bernie’s Sandy Hook Shame” with a front page cover and a full transcript from an interview on April 1. The article accuses the Vermont senator of “callously” defending gunmakers in a lawsuit against the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting.

In the transcript, Sanders clarified the question, “Do I think the victims of a crime with a gun should be able to sue the manufacturer, is that your question?”

After the interviewer said that’s correct, Sanders replied, “No, I don’t,” and started the media whirlwind.

The Vermont senator clarified his views a moment later.

“In the same sense that if you’re a gun dealer and you sell me a gun and I go out and I kill him… Do I think that that gun dealer should be sued for selling me a legal product that he misused? [Shakes head no.] But I do believe that gun manufacturers and gun dealers should be able to be sued when they should know that guns are going into the hands of wrong people.”

He then stipulated some examples of when a gun dealer’s judgement needs to be taken into account for a lawsuit. The full transcript is available here.

MSNBC’s Morning Joe threw this question at Clinton after briefly mentioning the Daily News story, “do you think Bernie Sanders is qualified to be President?”

Clinton never gave a clear “yes” or “no,” but did explain how he didn’t seem to be well studied in the issues he was talking about.

Hillary Clinton added, “that he would place gun manufacturers’ rights and immunity from liability against the parents of the children killed at Sandy Hook is just unimaginable to me.”

According to PolitiFact, Bernie Sanders currently has a D- rating from the NRA, but Clinton has an F. That difference might be one of Sanders’ biggest weaknesses with far-left Democrats, and threatens to take the focus away from his central message of reclaiming the political process from big money interests.

The big question now is, how will Bernie Sanders respond?

So far, the race for the Democratic nomination has been markedly positive. On Sanders’ side, the Washington Post reported that he had never even mentioned Hillary Clinton directly in a campaign ad. Likewise, he famously shut down a debate question about Clinton’s email scandal, saying, “no one wants to hear about your damn emails.”

A top adviser for Clinton told CNN the fight is on, and they’ll extend an olive branch later. For Sanders, it might not be so easy.

Hillary Clinton has two large super PACs run by close allies. The candidate can always distance herself from attack ads run by the organizations, since they cannot legally coordinate their activities. Sanders, on the other hand, doesn’t have that kind of infrastructure to run attack ads for him. Any attack he makes, he makes personally.

His offensives so far, aside from not stopping his supporters from booing Clinton at rallies, is pointing out the former secretary of state’s ties to Wall Street and her refusal to support the reinstatement of certain parts of the Glass-Steagall law that her husband threw out in 1999 — a direct contributor to the banks’ “too big to fail” issue.

In the meantime, the party will have to work to keep both sides civil. If Clinton does “disqualify” Sanders for president in the minds of voters, it would be a boost for Republicans if the Vermont senator is the nominee.

[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]