Bernie Sanders' Unfriendly DNC Gaze Is His Normal
One week ago Monday, Bernie Sanders delegates booed the onetime presidential contender during his call for unity, at least if that meant a vote for Hillary Clinton. "The choice is not even close," Sanders told the raucous crowd, endorsing Clinton over Donald Trump. But ironically by the end of the week, it was not the discontent of Sanders' delegates that drew attention, but the forlorn face of the Senator himself. What was the deal with his look throughout Clinton's acceptance speech? Well, Sanders explained his expression from Thursday night, and well, that's just his face.
In an interview with John Dickerson on CBS' Face The Nation on Sunday, Sanders dispelled all rumors that he's unhappy with the way things turned out at the convention. He actually called it "very good." As for the dour expression, that's just his resting grim face: "I always have that look on my face," he told Dickerson, laughing. "It's nothing new, I'm not always a smiley kind of guy."
The crux of the question that Dickerson asked, though, is what was going on his mind in that moment when Clinton mentioned him in her speech. That we may never know, Sanders dodged that one. But what is clear is that Sanders is committed to helping Clinton win the White House in November. He told Dickerson that his plan of attack is two-fold:
Number one, I intend to campaign vigorously to make the case that, on issue after issue, Clinton is far and away the superior candidate, number two, to stay focused on the real issues impacting the American people. I want to see health care expanded, so that every American gets health care as a right, which exists in every other industrialized country.
In other words he will support her while doing what he has done all along, push her further to the left on income equality issues dear to his heart. Sanders also gave Clinton's new college plan, which was cooked up with ideas from Sanders, as an example for something he'd push. The way Dickerson summarized it, Sanders job may be "blowing the whistle as Hillary Clinton moves off of some of those promises," to "say, hey, wait a minute."
Sanders agreed, noting that convention delegates passed "far and away the most progressive Democratic platform in the history of any party in this country." Sanders said he will be returning to the Senate and from there he will be able to make sure that a Clinton administration — in conjunction with the House and Senate — "stands up for working families, is prepared to take on the billionaire class, is prepared to try to create a vibrant democracy not allowing billionaires to buy elections."
Whether Hillary looks forward to Sanders looking over her shoulder for the next four to eight years is another story, but Sanders seems to have moved on from any bitterness from losing the nomination. If anything he has a positive outlook for November:
I think as the campaign progresses, and people take a hard look at the issues, who is better for the middle class, who is better for women, who is better for the environment, who is better for the LGBT community, I think more and more of those people will come on board Secretary Clinton's campaign.
Let's just hope he's right.