Although months away, the Democratic primary is already starting to resemble the combative and highly controversial 2016 nomination race.
In 2016, as former Chair of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile wrote in Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House, excerpts of which have been published by Politico, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — along with key DNC figures — “took over” the party, essentially “rigging” the race against independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
“We’ve got to hold this party accountable,” Senator Elizabeth Warren said in 2017, according to BBC, after being asked whether Clinton had rigged the primary or not — a simple “Yes” was Warren’s response.
Apparently, not much has changed since.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, shortly after announcing his presidential bid, Bernie Sanders emerged as the Democratic frontrunner. The senator managed to raise $10 million in less than a week, demonstrating that his popularity — polls have consistently shown that Sanders is one of the most popular serving politicians in the United States — is only growing.
Although deemed the frontrunner, Sanders is seemingly facing the same obstacles he was unable to overcome in 2016 — namely, the powerful Clinton machine. Although likely not running for president in 2020, Hillary Clinton will make her presence felt in 2020, according to The Hill.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 5, 2019
Citing individuals briefed on the matter, the publication reported that Clinton will “seek to be an active presence” in the upcoming election.
But it is not only Hillary Clinton that will inject herself in the Democratic primary, her former staffers will as well. In fact, they are already doing so, according to a new report from Vox.
According to the report, former Clinton staffers have quietly launched a smear campaign against Bernie Sanders. Unable to attack the senator on the basis of his policies — given that the vast majority of Democratic contenders has embraced them — former Clinton aides are reaching out to the press, both anonymously and publicly, and airing their frustrations about the Vermont senator.
Few have been as vocal, or as snippy, about Bernie Sanders as Hillary Clinton’s former supporters https://t.co/2a9TJKsmEV
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) March 3, 2019
Dozens of reports citing bitter Clinton staffers have already emerged, Vox notes, with some targeting Sanders’ decision to use a private jet to campaign for Clinton (which contradicts another talking point — that Sanders refused to campaign for Clinton in 2016), and others taking aim at the senator’s supporter base which they smear as “Bernie Bros.”
“I think we are all just scarred by 2016 at large and would like to prevent that again,” one former staffer said.
Another former Clinton staffer described Sanders as “self-righteous,” comparing him to President Donald Trump.
“He has this self-righteous attitude to himself. If you are not with him you are against him, and I think we are seeing that kind of behavior in the White House, to be honest.”
“The one difference between Clinton people and Bernie people is we would vote for Bernie if he got the nomination,” the person added, although — as Vox notes — there is no evidence to suggest that “Bernie Bros” abstained or voted for Trump in the 2016 general election. In fact, more Sanders primary supporters voted for Clinton in the general election than Clinton supporters voted for Obama in 2008.
"It’s important to note that Sanders, like these Clinton aides, has already said he will support whoever wins the Democratic nomination.
But for now, it seems, the Clinton world’s bitterness will continue to fuel the news cycle."https://t.co/MRBNs2hErp
— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) March 8, 2019
Another former Clinton aide slammed Sanders’ alleged refusal to embrace “identity politics.”
“Democratic socialism is more popular than ever, but the broader message around institutional racism, he’s still in this ‘identity politics doesn’t matter’… saying things that don’t resonate with a lot of people who don’t share his privilege as a cis white man in politics,” the aide concluded, announcing what appears to be a déjà vu of the 2016 Democratic primary.