Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign rally at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., Sunday, March 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Top aides working with former presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg aren’t too happy with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) after his recent comments about the two contenders. In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” last Sunday, the socialist implied that Klobuchar and Buttigieg chose to drop out of the race because of pressure from the Democratic establishment.
“One of the things that I was kind of not surprised by was the power of the establishment to fore Amy Klobuchar, who had worked so hard, Pete Buttigieg, who, you know, really worked extremely hard as well, out of the race,” he told George Stephanopoulos. “What was very clear from the media narrative and what the establishment wanted was to make sure that people coalesced around Biden and try to defeat me.”
In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sanders also insisted that if both candidates had remained in the race, he would have won more states on Super Tuesday. “The establishment put a great deal of pressure on Pete Buttigieg, on Amy Klobuchar,” he explained to host Chuck Todd. Suddenly, right before Super Tuesday, they announced their withdrawal. If they had not withdrawn from the race before Super Tuesday, which was kind of a surprise to a lot of people, I suspect we would have won in Minnesota, we would’ve won in Maine, we would’ve won in Massachusetts.”
Staffers for the campaigns of Klobuchar and Buttigieg slammed Sanders for his remarks. Justin Buoen, Klobuchar’s campaign manager, denied Sanders’ musings. “Amy decided to get out of the race because she believed it was time to unite the party and bring our country together so we can beat Donald Trump. It’s that simple,” he tweeted.
Lis Smith, a top aide for Buttigieg, said that his “decision to get out of the race was his and his alone.” David Plouffe, who served as former President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager also chimed in. “To change the delegate picture Bernie Sanders needs to grow his vote share. His enviable base has to grow, and by a lot. That math is incontrovertible. Suggesting Pete, Amy and others were forced to endorse Joe Biden by a mythical establishment is a curious growth strategy,” he explained.
Sanders isn’t the only one who has floated this theory. Others – including far-left filmmaker Michael Moore – have surmised that the establishment was covertly responsible for Biden’s resurgence. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn lambasted the idea, pointing to Biden’s success with black voters; he said it is “very interesting that someone is referring to African American voters in South Carolina as the establishment.”
So, is it true? Did the establishment pull off some secret scheme to deny Sanders the nomination? It’s certainly possible, but in the months leading up to Super Tuesday, it was clear that many Democratic voters were apprehensive about nominating a socialist to take on President Donald Trump.
Moreover, the progressive faction has shown that it is not quite as influential as they might have people believe. Three socialist congressional candidates backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Super PAC took a shellacking on Super Tuesday.
It looks like that the progressive faction of the Democratic Party isn’t gaining inroads quite yet. However, the race is not yet over, and there is still a possibility that Sanders could pull ahead again.
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