Hillary Clinton is kicking off 2020 with a self-titled Hulu docuseries premiering at Sundance, a new Hollywood Reporter cover story, and the reignition of her seemingly one-sided feud with Bernie Sanders.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Tuesday, Clinton got a chance to briefly discuss the grueling and exhilarating process of opening up to a documentary film crew before THR broached the topic of the 2020 Democratic primary.
From The Hollywood Reporter:
In the doc, you’re brutally honest on Sanders: “He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.” That assessment still hold?
Yes, it does.
If he gets the nomination, will you endorse and campaign for him?
I’m not going to go there yet. We’re still in a very vigorous primary season. I will say, however, that it’s not only him, it’s the culture around him. It’s his leadership team. It’s his prominent supporters. It’s his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women. And I really hope people are paying attention to that because it should be worrisome that he has permitted this culture — not only permitted, [he] seems to really be very much supporting it. And I don’t think we want to go down that road again where you campaign by insult and attack and maybe you try to get some distance from it, but you either don’t know what your campaign and supporters are doing or you’re just giving them a wink and you want them to go after Kamala [Harris] or after Elizabeth [Warren]. I think that that’s a pattern that people should take into account when they make their decisions.
So much for the 2020 mantra “vote blue no matter who.” Though Clinton perhaps contradicts herself later in the interview—“I’ll do anything I can to defeat the current incumbent, and to reverse a lot of [President Trump’s] damaging policies”—her statement further legitimizes the conviction of the #NeverBernie crowd, and those who flirt with the sentiment.
After a tumultuous primary campaign against Sanders in 2016, it’s foolhardy to expect fuzzy feelings between the two. And considering the vitriol that Clinton received from the so-called “Bernie Bros” in 2016, it’s natural that she’d maintain disdain for them. But Sanders’s supporters are not entirely comprised of rose emoji Twitter personalities who waste time dunking on Kamala Harris supporters on social media all day. They also include prominent elected officials like Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and most recently Pramila Jayapal; all women of color, not angry white leftist men behind computer screens. Where do they fit in the culture Sanders has permitted? Are they included, or deliberately ignored?
Clinton also demonstrates some convenient amnesia here, because “insults and attacks” were very much the bread and butter of her 2008 primary campaign against Barack Obama, a campaign that appeared far nastier than the one between her and Sanders.
Additionally, the implication that Sanders was sneakily directing his campaign and supporters to “go after” Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren is a baseless one. But considering the fact that a Sanders volunteer telling an Elizabeth Warren supporter that Warren attracts a narrower demographic is considered “trashing” her, perhaps words just don’t mean anything anymore.
The Hollywood Reporter asked Clinton about the allegation that Sanders told Warren that a woman cannot be president, a statement Sanders denies making. Clinton suggests that this is Sanders’s pattern of sexism, and doubles down on a narrative that has gained renewed fervor in recent weeks: that Sanders and Trump are, essentially, the same. “I just think people need to pay attention because we want, hopefully, to elect a president who’s going to try to bring us together,” Clinton said, “and not either turn a blind eye, or actually reward the kind of insulting, attacking, demeaning, degrading behavior that we’ve seen from this current administration.”
This, of course, is an absurd implication. No amount of petulant snake emojis in Elizabeth Warren’s Twitter mentions from people clamoring for Medicare for All and the abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement can compare to the Trump administration’s agenda and the crypto-fascist policies his supporters are advocating. To pretend otherwise ignores what is at stake.