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When Bernie Sanders Mirrors Donald Trump

| May 23, 2016

bernie sanders

Not so Larry David lately. (DonkeyHotey)

By Nancy Smith

When the shoe’s on the other foot, notice how badly Bernie Sanders wears it.

The same Democratic candidate who decried Donald Trump for condoning violence in North Carolina in March turned right around and did the same thing in Nevada when his rally devolved into chaos. He condoned it.


He demanded Trump apologize for one of his supporters’ actions. Demanded it. But after Saturday in Nevada, he won’t apologize for his own supporters’ threatening actions — an incident that scared the pants off Democratic party leaders.

You know how I despise hypocrisy, and here we are again.

Remember when Sanders pointed at Trump and declared, “No one in America should ever fear for their safety” at a political rally? I agreed at the time. No one ever should.

Well, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. and Nevada Democratic Party Chairwoman Roberta Lange who participated in Sanders’ rally Saturday told CNN Wednesday they feared for theirs. Each in those exact words: “I feared for my safety.”

Here’s how convention organizers in part described the scene at the Paris casino in Las Vegas: “Scuffles, screams from bullhorns, and profane insults marked nearly the entirety of the event. Numerous medical emergencies among delegates pressed up against the dais had to be attended to throughout the day.”

Lange said she later received a number of voice mails and text messages from across the country that included threats of violence; some included Lange’s home address. Her phone number and the address of the party headquarters were distributed on social media.

The Nevada Democratic Party filed a formal complaint Monday against Bernie Sanders’ campaign. In the letter to the national party, it went so far as to accuse the Sanders campaign of fomenting violence.

The three-page letter from the Nevada state party’s counsel reads, in part:

“We write to alert you to what we perceive as the Sander [sic] Campaign’s penchant for extra-parliamentary behavior — indeed, actual violence — in place of democratic conduct in a convention setting, and furthermore what we can only describe as their encouragement of, and complicity in, a very dangerous atmosphere that ended in chaos and physical threats to fellow Democrats. …”

Top Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid, called for Sanders to address the matter, saying it’s a “test of leadership” for him.

Reid didn’t get the answer he was looking for. The Sanders campaign said flatly Tuesday afternoon that the accusation it incited violence is “nonsense.” It went on to detail complaints about how Nevada and other states have handled their delegate processes.

All Sanders would say is, “If the Democratic Party is to be successful in November, it is imperative that all state parties treat our campaign supporters with fairness and the respect that they have earned. I am happy to say that has been the case at state conventions in Maine, Alaska, Colorado and Hawaii where good discussions were held and democratic decisions were reached. Unfortunately, that was not the case at the Nevada convention.”

Maybe there is some truth in what he says. Certainly, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz hasn’t been his friend. But it doesn’t explain why he failed to take charge of a most inappropriate situation Saturday in his capacity as a leader — addressing his supporters’ bad behavior on the spot.

All of this reminds me of a town meeting four years ago when an audience participant stepped forward and called Barack Obama “an Arab, not an American.” Republican presidential nominee John McCain quickly and curtly corrected him, then moved on. It was a public put-down of one of his supporters, voiced in the spirit of doing what is right. I admired him for that, and so, I think, did other TV viewers of both parties.

It seems to me neither Trump nor Sanders is able to do that. Apologies aren’t them. Neither are attempts to set their supporters straight.

“Sanders doesn’t seem very interested just now in preserving goodwill he’s built up within the Democratic Party after losing the nomination,” writes the New York Times’ John Harwood, the dean of the Nevada press corps. “And the reaction to the vanquishing was akin to the petulant mewling of a baby who had been pampered until the moment he first was told no, wailing with no purpose other than to be loud. And just like an infant, the Sanders folks wanted it to be all about them … I seriously doubt he can put out the fire he has set.”

That sums it up pretty well.

You know what’s really frightening to me? Sanders really does believe he’s leading an old-fashioned Red Square-style revolution, does believe he’s been wronged, does believe his voters all will be stolen away from him at the convention in Philadelphia. Never mind that he’s lost. He’s like a pilot who’s flown an epic journey against all odds but just never could land his plane first.  He’s discovered a greatness within himself, and now will never be able to accept going back. Bernie may honor his promise to join Hillary, but I have a feeling he won’t sound real. He will betray a sense of bitterness. He’ll try to do the right thing, but he will never believe in the unity he’ll preach.

His followers will know it. And we’ll have to see how badly it will hurt Hillary Clinton.

nancy smith sunshine state news columnistNancy Smith is the editor of Sunshine State News. She started her career at the Daily Mirror and The Observer in London before spending 28 years at The Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News as managing editor and associate editor. She was president of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors in the mid-1990s. Reach her by email here, or follow her on twitter at @NancyLBSmith.

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11 Responses for “When Bernie Sanders Mirrors Donald Trump”

  1. Brian says:

    Well, everyone knows that Bernie is an IDIOT.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Bernie Sanders in no way compares to Donald Trump! The fact of the matter is, Hillary Clinton is what she is and she looks plum evil and non lady like defending herself. The true appearance of her character shines through. Bernie Sanders has held his own and has every reason to hold his head high! It will be a better election for Bernie to face Trump than it would be with Hillary. She has been around too long and we all know her all to well. We do not want more of the same old. Way to hang Bernie!!!

  3. Sherry says:

    When passionate supporters and protesters clash at ANY meeting. . . it is the responsibility of the leader of that meeting to immediately call for calm, peace and civility. . . regardless of the political party or issue at hand. I am disappointed in Bernie, if he did not.

  4. Fredrick says:

    I am glad the author said “You know how I despise hypocrisy, and here we are again.”. Which means she also despises Hillary. Ms Clinton takes large (huge) speaking fees from banks and others, along with huge donations to the “Clinton Foundation / slush fund” and yet tries to say she is not influenced. Does she really think people believe that? Hillary is the definition of Hypocrisy. Perhaps this fine, non biased author will do another article on Hillary and her Hypocrisy.

  5. Dave says:

    Trump, Clinton , Sanders.. What a trio of misfits for the highest office in the land. We got lairs, loudmouths, socialist, “dishonest , untrustworthy, fake and deceitful, What a joke America is to the world with these 3. Has the office of the president turned into a celebrity Broadway act, it sure seems like it.

  6. Rich Mikola says:

    I guess it’s safe to say that you’re in the tank for Hillary!

  7. Obama 2016 says:

    Articles like this makes me lean toward Trump and not Hillary. One Chair was picked up but it was not thrown, guy said he picked it up to get attention for the vote. Middle class and lower middle class people are tired of the way things are run. And if your voice is no heard over and over again, you should get mad and yell and scream. It’s about time people start really telling these “representatives” what we think of them.

    Obamacare is a perfect example of how broken our system is . We need to fix the health care industry in the United States so here was a program that was built on the principles of GOP ideas and Mitt Romney’s own program and instead of voting to fix issues with the program, the government has denied expanding benefits and wasting millions of our tax dollars on pointless court cases.

    No matter what side of the fence your on the way the our current political system works is broken and need to be ended.

    Bernie Sanders is a good man, with big ideas and he speaks for people that have no voice in government anymore. That is why he doesn’t have Super Pac and uses my 27 a month to fight his BS.

    If the Democratic party would just void the entire Super delegate system and really have the voice of the voters assign the delegates they might have a candidate that will beat Trump in NOV.

  8. Dave says:

    Rich it all depends on whom your making that comment on. For me Hillary the Great Lair, Trump the Loudmouth and Sanders the Socialist. I don’t like any of them and I can’t stand Hillary, Sanders has No chance at all, so that leaves me with the best of the worst. Trumpo.

  9. SAY NO TO TRUMP says:

    Those that are criticizing Bernie Sanders have obviously no idea what he stands for (US) and what he’s done for US. This man is trying to show US what is happening in this country and is trying to provide US with the power to stop it. But no, we follow the leader, like good little ignorant soldiers. Bend over and take it, that’s what you deserve if you do not open your minds and mouths and start fighting for your rights. Continue to let corporate America run you into the ground. Let’s start to fight for US, not the oil companies, pharmaceuticals, banks, etc. Follow the man that wants to get US what we work so hard for, not a multi-millionaire or billionaire who are only out to line their pockets, their families pockets, and their friends pockets. Open your eyes for just ONE MINUTE. LISTEN to what this man is saying. He’s passionate about US and what we deserve, what our FAMILIES deserve!!!

  10. A.S.F. says:

    @Obama 2016–Really–You want people to “chill”and commiserate with you because, after all, chairs were “only picked up”, not thrown (according to you) while a some profanity-laced red-faced screaming was going on, replete with people raising their fists in the air? For what legitimate reason would anyone in their right mind just happen to “pick up a chair” coincidentally in the midst of such heated goings-on? Sanders supporters are minimizing the destructive aspects of their own campaign behavior which is getting more pronounced by the day…all while screaming for Hillary Clinton’s head like a politically demented lynch mob. There were several reports of people needing medical assistance on the floor in the midst of all that turmoil and people acting the way they did in Nevada only made matters even more unstable and potentially dangerous. So much for your concern for your fellow man. I guess you don’t feel the need to be overly concerned if you aren’t getting your way at the time. Do you feel it somehow adds to your credibility to be throwing such public temper tantrums? How Donald Trump-like of you! How about those recorded telephone calls that threatened and harassed Democratic committee people who were only doing their jobs (unfortunately, not in a way that conformed to YOUR dictates or expectations?) Or perhaps you feel that verbal abuse and even death threats are understandable under the circumstances…because, I suppose, these are justifiable by-products of the ” REVOLUTION.”

  11. maggie says:

    The bit about “chairs being thrown” was an out and out lie. I expect that this website would remove this piece, it’s based on a lie.

    Want to prove it? Find the video linked by this person and then watch it. There is no thrown chair, there was no known cussing, this was a blatant LIE from start to tinish.

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