Bernie Sanders' Wrath Towards "The Establishment" Might Have Just Gone Way Too Far
Taking big money out of politics must be the one big issue that defines Bernie Sanders' presidential platform the most. During an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show Tuesday night, when commenting on organizations that have endorsed Hillary Clinton, Sanders called Planned Parenthood "the establishment," also lumping NARAL and the Human Rights Campaign under the term. The Vermont senator then doubled down on his comments the following day. Sanders might be trying to prove how uncompromising he is with his views, but he could be alienating some supporters in the process.
During the interview, host Rachel Maddow brought up campaign endorsements, noting that Planned Parenthood had endorsed Clinton even though his positions also align with those of the health organization. Maddow then asked:
Are you competing for those groups' endorsements and not getting them, or are you not trying to get them?
Sanders, seemingly in an effort to fortify his commitment to his grassroots efforts, gave this somewhat risky answer:
I would love to have the endorsement of every organization. I'm very proud to have received the endorsement of moveon.org. We've received the endorsement Democracy for America. These are grassroots organizations representing millions of workers.
I have friends and supporters in the Human Rights Fund [he likely misspoke since Maddow had actually asked about the Human Rights Campaign] and Planned Parenthood, but Hillary Clinton has been around there for a very, very long time. Some of these groups are, in fact, part of the establishment.
Though he went on to reiterate his solid track record supporting women's rights and LGBT rights, labeling these organizations (which are widely revered by progressives) as part of "the establishment" opened the door for some harsh rebuttal.
Shortly after the interview aired, Clinton took to Twitter to respond to Sander's statements:
The organizations he referenced also responded:
When MSNBC reached out to the Sanders campaign Wednesday and asked if they'd like to clarify the senator's comments, spokesperson Michael Briggs said, "He said it better than I could." It's clear that Sanders and his team are not backing down, but it's too early to tell what the backlash and fallout could look like. If it's anything like the initial reactions, however, then things could get ugly for Sanders.
Clinton's Digital Organizing Director expressed outrage on Twitter:
Others were equally troubled:
Hopefully, Sanders will be able to remind these concerned Democrats that he's on their side. After all, they make up the grassroots support that he's come to rely on.