And Donald Trump is nervous.
He admitted as much at a 2018 private dinner meeting, we discovered this week.
In a nearly 90-minute audio recording of a dinner Lev Parnas, a close associate of the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, attended with Parnas’s attorney, Joe Bondy, Trump confessed he was relieved Hillary Clinton did not select Sanders as her running mate 2016.
Trump is heard saying:
“Because [Sanders’] a big trade guy. You know he basically says we’re getting screwed on trade. And he’s right…If Bernie would have been VP it would have been tougher…I got 20% of Bernie vote because of trade. He’s a big trade guy…Had she picked Bernie Sanders it would have been tougher. He is the only one I didn’t want her to pick.”
If Donald Trump was fearful Sen. Sanders would pull in progressive Democrats and left-leaning Independents in 2016, imagine what he might be feeling at the moment now that Sanders has a better shot at the White House today than he did four years ago.
But Trump is not the only one nervous about a Sanders candidacy and presidency.
The corporate commercial media is as well, even the so-called “liberal” networks.
Sanders is also facing opposition from the establishment Democratic party–again.
Last weekend, Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Tom Perez released the 2020 convention committee, which looks, according to Sunrise Movement political director Evan Weber, like “a who’s-who of people explicitly opposed to the progressive agenda.”
Two individuals on that “who’s-who” list have Sanders allies upset.
Slated to co-chair the Rules Committee is former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), whom the Sanders campaign unsuccessfully tried to remove, describing him as an “aggressive attack surrogate for the Clinton campaign.”
Joining him on the committee will be former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
“[Centrist Democrats] fear a repeat of 2016 is in the making—when mainstream Republicans scoffed at the idea that Donald Trump could ever win the nomination, until he became unstoppable—only this time from the left.”
Virginia DNC member Yasmine Taeb, who served as a Sanders delegate in 2016, commented:
“There’s a very small number of appointments of allies to Sen. Sanders. The appointments also include individuals that are outright hostile to Bernie Sanders and his supporters. It’s not the message the DNC should be sending to the grassroots right now when we’re all working aggressively to defeat the racist in the White House.”
In an interview with progressive online news channel Status Coup, Sanders campaign national co-chair Nina Turner called the DNC’s appointments “an embarrassment,” a “slap in the face.”
“If the DNC believes it’s going to get away in 2020 with what it did in 2016, it has another thing coming.”
But no matter how hard the establishment works to commit political suicide, the polls don’t lie.
30% of Iowa Democrats and Independents responding to a Boston’s Emerson College poll said they planning to vote for him.
Love “the establishment” or hate it, we must unify as a party instead of engaging in the circular firing squad.
By unsheathing the daggers for Bernie Sanders, Democrats demonstrate to the Republican party and Donald Trump it is not unified.
This is one of the ways Trump assumed the presidency.
The Democratic party had its 2016 candidate chosen before Hillary Clinton even got into the race, and it refused to acknowledge the enthusiasm Bernie Sanders brought to it.
What was responsible for the enthusiasm, what makes Bernie the most popular politician in America, are his positions on the issues most Americans care about–college debt, single-payer healthcare, climate change, infrastructure, trade, raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations, criminal justice reform, etc.
Most Americans want public colleges and universities to be free or at least debt-free.
Only the fossil fuel industry and the shills lying for them deny the exigency of climate change. The entire world has recognized we are on the precipice of a climate apocalypse and wants governments to begin taking aggressive measures to address it. The United States is the only developed nation dragging its feet.
Bernie’s positions connected with so many people, Donald Trump decided to abscond with a few of them in 2016.
Democratic voters do not want another Republican-light centrist who can “reach across the aisle” to Republicans who have proven they are more unified in refusing bi-partisan overtures.
It remains to be seen, though, whether the center will hold its support after the primary season kicks off next month and reality begins.
Earlier this year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) instituted a new policy prohibiting more than 100 political firms from contracting or recommending to House of Representatives candidates consultants, vendors, polling firms, strategists, and operatives seeking to unseat incumbents.
The Democratic party of today is not the Democratic party of the early 1990s when it shifted its focus away from Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society toward more a corporate-friendly agenda following the 1980s’ Reagan revolution.
Even before Donald Trump descended that Trump Tower escalator in June of 2015 to declare in a racist anti-immigrant screed he was running for president, the political sands were shifting.
People had figured out nothing was going to structurally change with the economy, environment, education, healthcare, or campaign finance as long as we kept coddling transnational corporations with tax breaks, subsidies, deregulation, and anti-worker trade deals even Democrats at times supported.
This is what fomented the Occupy Movement, which segued right into the rise of the progressive movement that allowed a septuagenarian Democratic Socialist from Vermont the voice he always had to project Americans’ discontent with being shut out of the democratic process.
We are the party of ideas, the party of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, healthcare, civil rights, marriage equality, public education, unions, and criminal justice reform.
The Republican party, by contrast, is the party of tax breaks for the ultra wealthy, deregulation, environmental degradation, voter suppression, xenophobia, Islamophobia, unregulated gun possession, and “Christian” evangelism.
Just look at how many bills the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives has passed since taking back the majority in January.
But the Democratic party has a lot of soul searching to do if it has any sincere intentions of defeating not just Trump but Trump-ism.
Let’s put those ideas together so we can get that god-awful current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue skulking back to Mar-a-Lago ASAP.
Let’s allow the people to choose their next leader.
Image credit: egbertowillies.com