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Impressions from a Sanders Rally

by Brad Benson

The “Bern” is due to fall, fail and fade unless he makes serious changes to his campaign right now.  I say this with no joy, since I have already voted for him in the Florida Primary and continue to foolishly send him money.  However, after attending a Bernie Rally in Tampa the other night, my previous impression that he cannot win the Democratic Nomination on his present course was sadly reconfirmed.

The pieces are all in place.  He has the money and contributions continue to pour in.  Tulsi Gabbard, the dynamic Congresswoman and Veteran of two warzone deployments, has joined his campaign and brought Hillary’s Wars into the discussion.  He’s drawing large, enthusiastic audiences and the people on all sides of the American Equation are clamoring for some real change.

Further, when one considers that his key opponents are an establishment Neo-Liberal Interventionist War Criminal and a wild-card real estate oligarch, the path to the nomination, if not to the Presidency, should be clear.  However, Bernie has refused to seize a number of “carpe diem” moments, whether offered up during the debates in the form of a rare foreign policy question, or within the confines of one of his own rallies in which he can define his own narrative.  My experience the other night was typical.

The crowd arrived early and there were long lines, which moved well once the doors opened.  As people trickled in to an auditorium with terrible acoustics, a one violin-one guitar duo was playing their hearts out on a side stage with great old sixties songs like The Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen a Face” and the old protest song “Signs” by The Five Man Electrical Band.

An authentic cover of Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil went Down to Georgia” by the young lady on the fiddle also seemed to go largely unnoticed.  However, in fairness, the crowd was clearly psyched for the “Rock Star” on the card.  Perhaps some, like me, had also come to see the new “Rising Star”, Tulsi Gabbard, introduce the candidate with a much needed anti-war message that has been missing from the campaign thus far.

One other thing became abundantly clear prior to the candidate even taking the stage.  This was the fact that Bernie’s support, at least here in Florida, seems to be predominantly white.

Not only were there very few black people, my girlfriend observed that she might be the only Latino—in a crowd that was initially announced at more than 8,000 and later amended to roughly 10,000.  This was definitely not a good sign here in Florida and cannot portend well for the Sanders Campaign going forward.

Not surprisingly, this problem was addressed for the TV Cameras present, since the bleachers immediately behind Bernie’s Rostrum, previously held empty, were individually assigned to hand-picked people from the crowd!  These were brought on stage in a long line and placed, one by one, in specific seats by the Sanders Campaign Staff.

Presto!  Change-o!  A salt and pepper audience, duly outfitted with signs, appears like magic directly behind the candidate to demonstrate the diversity that every professional political campaign has to fake.

Meanwhile, as the musical chairs scenario in the background proceeds, there are a few opening remarks from the Sanders State Campaign Director and a local Islamic Civil Rights Lawyer, whose five-year-old is afraid to go to school because he is being called a terrorist.

Now comes the moment for which I have been waiting, Tulsi Gabbard is introduced to deliver the anti-war message that is so much needed in this campaign—especially against a primary opponent like Hillary Clinton.  Gabbard is much taller than expected and she forms a very striking appearance in a bright orange “Ike” Jacket over a black turtleneck sweater with matching, military creased slacks.

Unfortunately, perhaps because it is the third such event in a very large state and they are all tired, Gabbard lacks the fire that she has previously shown in her interviews with the media, especially those following her defection from the Democratic Committee.  In fact, my own impression was that her message seems to have been somewhat muted by comparison to some of the things she said in the previous week.

Whatever the reason, her introduction is shorter than anticipated and she is then forced to “introduce the man that will introduce the candidate”.  Once again, feigned diversity and politically correct strategies “trump” the Sanders Campaign’s opportunity to show Gabbard, the anti-war Veteran, awaiting the candidate and embracing him before the wall of TV Cameras in the back of the room.

It may be nice that this State Democratic Hack speaks a little Spanish and thus connects with my girlfriend, who is the only other Latino in the room, but this is absolutely a stupid move in Florida.  The State is full of retired Veterans dating back to World War II and active military people representing all of the services.  Tulsi Gabbard reaches them!

Why couldn’t the campaign have let this guy introduce Tulsi Gabbard instead of the other way around?  When I see this, I begin to suspect a campaign that really isn’t serious about beating a very beatable opponent.

But I digress!  After a lackluster introduction, a tired Bernie trundles up the few steps to the stage to be greeted by someone that everyone has already forgotten.  He stands on the stage in his rumpled, brown Socialist-Suit and blue “no-power, please like me” tie and waves to the adoring crowd.

Although it’s a small stage, the candidate looks alone and I’m again irritated that the dynamic Gabbard isn’t up there to whip up the crowd and welcome him.  For that matter, why not bring up his wife Jane and be embraced by both of these dynamic women?  What better contrast could be presented to Hillary’s phony feminism and war-loving bloodlust than two women who are the antithesis of everything for which she stands?

Bernie’s Speech is no different than anything that we see on TV, but despite his obvious fatigue, he gets the crowd going a few times.  Sometimes I notice that they do not appear to be listening either, since some of the things that Bernie is saying are clearly not applause lines.  Nevertheless, each pause brings Pavlovian Applause even when Bernie says things like, “The top one percent of the people owns more than the bottom 90%!”  (Crowd roars!)

In the end, the crowd files out with nearly the same silence as was present in the line as we were waiting to get into the event.  This is not the way people should react when leaving such an event, but I suspect that many were hoping that he would go after Hillary’s real weaknesses and it just didn’t happen.

Instead, throughout his speech, as in the debates, Bernie would go right up to the obvious Hillary-slaying punch-line and then pull the punch!  Each time he did this, I could hear the energy building in the crowd and then deflating like a balloon as Sanders moved on to some tired non sequitur or an attack on Donald Trump, who is not his opponent in this election.

I will continue to support Bernie until such time as I become convinced that he isn’t really trying to win.  As long as he is attacking Trump and not going after Hillary’s Record, he is not trying to win.  Today again, he and Hillary are sounding like the Bobbsey Twins in their attacks on Trump for his violent rhetoric.

While Bernie has to respond to this rhetoric, especially when Hillary responds, he must now return his focus to Hillary in this key part of the campaign.  If we start to see less of Tulsi Gabbard, we will know that Sanders is either not serious or that his campaign is being sabotaged from within.

Without immediate changes, Sanders cannot win.


36 Comments

  1. Dear humanity,
    When the explosive information – the massively, impossible-to-understate consequential truth – presented in the following interview concerning the 2011 destruction of Libya and death of Gaddafi becomes widely disseminated and known, the world as previously perceived will be no more, Clinton’s bid to become president ends, Sanders becomes the Democratic nominee, and, most importantly, life on Earth will become more peaceful.

    http://prn.fm/progressive-commentary-hour-03-15-16/

  2. Lisa Simeone says

    I watched the Tampa rally on-line. A close friend was there in person; I’ve urged her to leave a comment because her experience was quite different from what Benson writes. For one thing, she says she saw lots of blacks and Hispanics. Perhaps she’ll have time to leave her impressions later today.

    • Brad Benson says

      I saw lots of Black People, but not in proportion to their numbers in the Democratic Party here in Florida and not in proportion to their percentages in the populace. I really didn’t see many Hispanics and, as noted, my Hispanic Girlfriend was sort of looking around to see if many were present. We were on one side and there were Black People on the floor, but a lot of my observations were also made in the line outside, which was majorly white.

      That being said, this wasn’t about how many people were there or their racial breakdown. My point was that Bernie was most certainly going to lose Florida, which he did, and probably lose the primary which, after last night, also looks to be a valid assessment.

      This is not to say that I wouldn’t like to read your friend’s comment if she saw it in a different light.

      • Thanks for the article. I followed the link you posted in RS comments. I attended one official rally where Bernie spoke and marches where he wasn’t present. I’m in California. I saw young people of all colors but most of the older people were white. For some reason Bernie isn’t appealing to older people of color. I believe what you say about the Florida rally and I’m worried about Bernie picking up the momentum he needs to do well in the remaining states.

  3. Mark IT Geek says

    Hey Brad

    It’s a decent opinion about a campaign event and I agree that Sanders needs to somehow highlight Clinton’s negatives without turning too many potential converts off. The most effective way to do that I have no idea. She has been a part of so many bad decisions over the years, it seems the people managing his campaign could figure out a strategy to do that. Also, the lack of minority support, the Latino and Black community. He needs a good share of them to win, but there doesn’t seem to be a concerted effort to court them. That’s another area where his people don’t seem to be excelling at.

    • John says

      One way Sanders could take on Clinton indirectly is through her husband’s record in office, especially with regard to the way in which he sold the Palestinians completely down the river.
      Bill Clinton may have left the books balanced when he left office – something Sanders could also aspire to – but he left America wide open to attack, as became manifest after 9/11.

  4. John says

    The phrase “Nice guys finish last” is attributed to Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher in 1946.
    It may be that many observers fear this will happen to Bernie Sanders.
    Alternatively, he may be deploying a different approach for a politician.
    In the UK, Jeremy Corbyn is also adopting a different approach to that usually found in knockabout daily politics.
    The fact that Corbyn’s Labour Party is now reportedly level with their main rivals the Tories should make us think.
    See http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/ for in-depth details of the UK polling report.

    • Brad Benson says

      Trust me, Bernie’s no Jeremy Corbyn. I wish we had a guy like him.

  5. Seamus Padraig says

    This has consistently been one of the (far) left’s criticisms of Bernie from the start: that he isn’t really in the race to win, but just to ‘sheep dog’ reluctant Democrats for Hellary. Personally, I don’t know. Until/unless he loses or drops out of the race, I remain a Bernie Bro. But there are indeed times when I smell a rat. We’ll see …

  6. Davide says

    I’ve already read several articles about Bernie’s unwillingness to take Hilary to task over her wars. When the controversy over the BLM activists interrupting his speech erupted, I think he took it in stride as well as he could have, in stark contrast to Clinton. I think that it’s likely a strategic move; people on the left already support Sanders, but I don’t think that criticizing American foreign intervention is a great way to win over centrist voters, at least not while people still buy the media/Pentagon line that the wars in Syria and Libya are spreading freedom and democracy.

    • Brad Benson says

      No one believes that the wars in Syria and Libya are spreading freedom and democracy any more, if they ever did. People are sick of these wars and the MSM doesn’t even talk about them for that reason. If they did, the people would truly get up in arms.

    • Seamus Padraig says

      “When the controversy over the BLM activists interrupting his speech erupted, I think he took it in stride as well as he could have, in stark contrast to Clinton.”

      When did BLM ever protest at a Clinton rally?

  7. Agreeing with the original poster, and all the comments. I propose a specific policy change that will meet all the requirements above. Let’s stop calling for regime change in other people’s countries, as a matter of policy. Second proposal is to stop the use of drones in attacks on alleged terrorists and anybody else in the vicinity. Blowing up people’s relatives creates more terrorists than it kills. No Republican candidate is saying anything like this. If Bernie becomes the candidate for peace, he may win in a landslide.

    • Davide says

      Historically campaigning for peace in the US has been a fantastic way to get shot, but yes, I agree with you in principle.

  8. It´s too sad! If Sanders would accomplish a miracle and beat Killary, and if he would accomplish another miracle and win the elections it would need a third miracle to let him live to see the Inauguration (“lone shooters” waiting)! But most probably even the first miracle will fail to come true. Then the Neocons will triumph with their spearhead in the Dem Party, Clinton! And the world should be alarmed again, since the Neocons are now the dominant force in the US Power Elite! “US Power Elite Declared War on the Southern Hemisphere, East Asia and all Non-Western Countries in September 2000”: https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/us-power-elite-declared-war-on-the-southern-hemisphere-east-asia-and-all-non-western-countries-in-september-2000/
    Andreas Schlüter
    Sociologist
    Berlin, Germany

    • Brad Benson says

      Herr Schlueter,

      Ich bedanke mich, dass sie meinen kleinen Bericht gelesen haben. Von mir aus, sieht’s so aus, dass Trump gewinnen wird. Ich habe viele Jahren in Mainz gelebt und hatte damals eine Freundin in Berlin, wo ich viel Zeit verbracht habe! Es ist schon seit einige Jahren, aber mein Sohn, seine deutsche Frau und ihren Tochter wohnen in der Naehe von Mainz, und so komme ich fast jedes Jahre zurueck. Hoffentlich warden wir dieses Jahr noch Berlin besuchen.

      Hope all that is clear. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to practice. I don’t get that chance too often here in Florida.

      • Lieber Herr Benson,
        dann erlaube ich mir, auf Deutsch zu antworten. Ich vermute, dass die Neocon-dominierte US-Machtelite so versessen darauf ist, mit Killary einen neuen Hype zu inszenieren, sodass sie alles daransetzen wird, die Dame zur Präsidentin zu machen. Wehe uns allen! Sie ist auch sehr beteiligt daran, den Feuerring um Europa weiter zu nähren. Dieser Artikel mag Sie interessieren: “Von Nine Eleven zur Sprengung Europas?” https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/von-nine-eleven-zur-sprengung-europas/
        Herzliche Grüße
        Andreas Schlüter

        • Brad Benson says

          Tja! Ich hatte auch die Geschichte von dem Bayernhof Hotel gelesen, der aus Bild und Spiegel ershien, waehrend Merkel nach Minsk hin fliegen sollte, um den Frieden noch zu sichern. Da waren viele Ami-Kriegsverbrechern dabei (z.B. Victoria Nuland, NATOs General Craig Breedlove und John McCain noch dazu).

          Hier ist es gar nicht gewusst. Dr. Goebbels wuerde unsere Schweine neiden!

  9. This is pretty much opinion posing as fact, forwarding as it does a frustration with Sander’s refusal to go for the jugular as though this was a fatal flaw, rather than just a supposed weakness perceived by the author. I see the same frustration peeping out from other pro-Sanders commentators such as The Young Turks, who were notably dismayed at Sander’s performance in the Michigan debate, whereas I, and many viewers according to subsequent polls, thought it was fine. It could have been better here and there, and yes the message to those of us following his progress was hardly sparkling with originality, but this certainly does not compare unfavourably with other candidates engaging in the stadium game, dutifully trotting out the rhetorical equivalents of Stairway to Heaven on an almost daily basis. These speeches are not just there to tickle the converted under the chin, they are a platform to spread his views further and as such they can not be treated as just tub thumping rabble rousers designed to whip up his already committed supporters into a Trumpoid frenzy, they are instead a means to communicate to those who are unfamiliar with the ideas proposed, of which there are still many.
    As for the white audience thing, what is he supposed to do about this? His campaign has involved activists from the BLM movement and other prominent black spokespeople, and it is a weakness in his demographic that is frustrating but it is far from being ignored. Clinton came into this a firm favourite amongst black voters long ago, and she has been sucking up to Obama like a ravenous tic in an attempt to be coloured by association throughout her campaign, and I don’t think you sincerely believe that this has not been noted and addressed as much as possible.
    Your comments seem to smack of someone who is rather tired of the whole nomination process, as am I and as I am sure are candidates from both camps, hence presumably the fatigue which you noticed. Your frustration at him not jumping on Clinton’s record is understandable, but this was his ethos from day one, and was part of his appeal. You may be right in that it is perhaps too subtle an approach for an unsubtle electorate, but it is still preferable to the alternative and it is worth noting Adlei Stevenson’s observation that ‘He who slings mud, loses ground’, which Clinton seems to be increasingly discovering as the bandwagon rolls on.

    • Brad Benson says

      Thanks for taking the time to read my article. I fully understand your critique and just want to address a few issues.

      Bernie’s message was not new to anyone in the house. As you noted yourself, these things are roughly the same for every campaign. And yes, I am pretty much a one issue guy, because Bernie cannot do anything about any of the economic problems until our wars are ended. A whopping 54% of our GDP is being wasted this year and next year looks to be worse–especially if Hillary gets in.

      My issue with Bernie is that, over and over, he has been given the chance to attack her murderous regime changes and the guy is just too nice (and of course, you are correct that it is just my opinion). However, although I wasn’t aware that TYT was unhappy about it, I’m not surprised since I am seeing this same lament on many sites.

      There seem to be a whole lot of people that are threatening to vote for Trump if Hillary gets the nomination (again an opinion). Bernie can’t pledge his voters to support a War Criminal and many have heard Trump say that he would talk to Putin, be neutral on Israel and stop our interventionist regime change wars of aggression. That sounds pretty good to some and we already know what Hillary brings.

      Finally, it is clearly relevant here in the South when there are few Black or Hispanic People present. This is especially true in winner-take-all Florida. There were Black People in the audience, but it just didn’t seem to be a representative percentage.

      Again, thanks for taking the time.

      • tarqu1no says

        I absolutely agree with you on the war issue Brad, and share your frustration that he can’t just stand up and tell it like it is. Political niceties seem like a particularly toxic form of censorship where such issues are concerned, but I think that Sanders knows that this would be a ruthless assault on some highly cherished notions of America’s role in the world, firmly planted and carefully nurtured by the usual suspects. Nobody likes to be told their leaders are committing atrocities in their name and I suspect that remedying that blissful ignorance would be for many too bitter a pill to swallow, and you can just imagine the O’Reilly types frothing at the mouth and having a flag pumping frenzy if he were to do this.

        I think part of the impotent frustration felt at his reluctance to let loose on what he really thinks is that to an extent we don’t realise how spoilt we are in having a candidate like this and have become somewhat carried away by it, pushing forward the hopes and agendas that have been trodden on for so many years and now acting like one who, having been starved for so long, wants to order the whole menu in one sitting.

        Speaking from the UK I can scarce believe it tbh. Sanders is not a particularly radical politician in terms of the political spectrum as a whole, but compared to what we have had over the last God knows how many decades, his manifesto and the progress he has made with it is absolutely astounding. I find it almost unthinkable that the US might actually have a more left wing political administration than our own if Sanders gets elected (and tonight will be the biggest indicator so far of this and will also I believe either sink or float my £25 bet on him becoming President!). It has not surprised me that Trump has been as popular as he has been but my ignorant derision of the American people which fuelled this prejudice has been rightly challenged and trounced by Sander’s supporters and I think if more in the US were aware of how their country, and by association it’s citizens, were perceived abroad (the current overseas support of 70% v Hillary’s 30% being more than enough proof of this), then those cherished notions I mentioned above might be challenged to such a significant extent that Sander’s job would be a lot easier and his criticisms less guarded. But, he does have to work within the existing framework of the political paradigm he is seeking to change and it is absolutely understandable that he has to be careful here. He is walking a very wobbly high wire and many in the watching crowd are desperate for any projectile they can lay their hands on to precipitate his fall. We shouldn’t be too scornful about his reticence to perform a couple of somersaults at the same time. He does possess after all, a lifetime of experience of the political jungle and his career has been to a large extent one of a lone voice crying in the wilderness. Now he has a real chance of being heard, of having his lifetime’s work vindicated and of achieving the changes that he has been pushing for so hard for so long and this is his one and only opportunity to achieve this. Perhaps his strategy is not perfect, perhaps he could be more bullish, but it is after all very easy to criticise from the sidelines. We are not in his position and are highly unlikely ever to even get remotely close to the potential impact this man could have on history, against such seemingly impossible odds. I think we should heap a hell of a lot of credit on him for managing that and to also acknowledge that clearly, he is doing something right!

        • Brad Benson says

          My dad was a military officer and we were stationed in England (61-63) and Germany (67-69) before I grew up. As an adult, I moved back to Germany for a girl in 1999 and, although the girl didn’t last forever, I stayed for nearly 10 years until March 2009. I have watched our reputation deteriorate steadily over the years. It used to just be about some drunk GI getting loud. Now it’s about ginning up the New Cold War with Russia, that Europe so desperately needs! Don’t worry, when the Russians reach Calais, Cameron will blow up the channel tunnel and same the UK from invasion.

          • tarqu1no says

            Ha! He’s probably taking inspiration from you know who and is currently planning to build a wall and get the French to pay for it.

      • John says

        Both Trump and Clinton have daughters married to extreme conservative zionists and both of the fathers of their son-in-laws have served jail time for fraud.
        If Trump or Clinton end up in the White House, Netanyahu will be laughing at the US electorate from Tel Aviv.
        It looks likely the next POTUS will be closely related to extremist ideologues, fraudsters and bigots.
        Some choice for the American people, eh?

  10. Thank you very much, Vaska. In basic terms, seeing this powerful progressive internet voice presenting an opinion reinforcing the corporate media narrative of Clinton’s inevitability was, to be completely honest, like getting punched in the gut. Some have observed that the progressive movement is known to at times self-attack; for example I feel the same way about this article when seeing Chris Hedges seemingly working to ensure Clinton’s winning the Democratic nomination by persistently criticizing Sanders. It is highly disappointing to observe non-solidarity in the majority progressive community when Sanders – a true progressive if there ever were one – has the REAL chance to become the President of the United States. We’re talking historic, paradigm-changing stuff of legend here. All I’m trying to convey is: “now is the time for progressives in America and the world over to come together in total solidarity – and fight!”

    • Brad Benson says

      Did you miss the part about me having voted for him and that I continue to send him money. I’m all for the guy, but he must go after Clinton. This is not about Clinton inevitability. It’s about Trump inevitability. I trust that we share that concern. Clinton can be beaten and I’m not asking for him to attack her, but when given the chance to address Libya after she had lied through her teeth in one of the debates, he mentioned a three part NY Times Article, that very few people in the world had read and moved on.

      Doncha think he mighta mentioned “We came. We saw. He died!”? Or, if that’s too stark, how about just mentioning the fact that the Times Article had said that she was, by far, one of the biggest war hawks in Obama’s Cabinet and that she was the prevailing voice in regard to the regime change in Libya?

      • Hello Brad,
        Thank you for your efforts on behalf of Bernie; let me offer my sincerest apology if my critique offended you in any manner, and here is the reason for the initial criticism. First, I agree with you on Sanders’ choosing to abstain from foreign policy commentary about Clinton’s role in clear and highly destructive military actions. The only explanation I can come up with for that is that Sanders, who sees and knows the “big picture” – if you know what I mean, if he divulged the whole ugly truth, would face the same fate as JFK, MLK and RFK. One can imagine oneself in Sanders’ position, knowing the whole ugly truth while also knowing the real possibility of being assassinated.

        This is only a personal opinion, but Sanders may have decided his odds of winning while being an unknown compared to Clinton would drop to zero if he were murdered. JFK, RFK, MLK and, I believe, Sanders have something in common – study of the deepest philosophical and/or spiritual material/writings yet extant. From that perspective, one can see Sanders has risked his life in the spirit of “greater love hath no man than he gives up his life for his friends”. He’s walking a literal knife’s edge.

        If he tells it all, he dies. If he doesn’t tell all, he might take office and might accomplish historic, positive change affecting future generations. In total honesty, Brad, I’m for you, not against you, and it’s my hope you understand the reasons for my response when the merest scintilla of criticism of Sanders occurs in the presence of such a profound, truly world-changing opportunity. May the Creator/God bless you with abundant peace and love. Thank you again.

    • Like Chris Hedges, I was disappointed when Sanders decided to run as a Democrat, though I did not see it exactly in the terms Hedges does. The decision makes Sanders vulnerable to all the pressures any Democratic candidate faces from the party machine, pressures which, if he does get nominated and then wins the election, will make most of his announced policies impossible to carry through. And, this time it would be not because of Republican Party obstructionism but because the Democratic Party itself will refuse to back those policies.

      That said, I still hope Sanders will get the nomination and save us all from a Hillary Clinton presidency.

  11. Very interesting to hear from someone who attended a rally. We can only hope that the Sanders campaign start looking beyond the the corporate media to see how well they are faring.

  12. “Why Bernie Will Lose”… ? Is this Off Guardian or Hillary Clinton’s campaign website? If this internet platform and its supporters wish to see Bernie Sanders defeat Hillary Clinton, the choice to publish this defeatist article represents the absolute worst form of making that case. Please remove the article before it does any more damage to Sanders’ chances – keeping it up helps guarantee Hillary Clinton’s securing the Democratic nomination. Unreal.

    • I’ve removed the offending part of the headline, but please note that this is not a Bernie Sanders campaign website either.

      • Brad Benson says

        Hi Vaska,

        Thanks for printing my story. My goodness, people are touchy! I’m for Bernie and want to see him succeed. I added the last minute headline as an afterthought.

        What’s that old saying about pleasing some of the people some of the time…?

    • Well, that’s true, and I can’t say why the editors accepted this news-report-and-commentary, which they unfortunately did, but the reason why I don’t consider it worthy of publication here is that it’s not a good article, either as news, or as commentary.

      As news, it’s purely anecdotal and might not reflect much or even anything beyond the anecdote, the particular event. As commentary it’s atrocious, because (1) It’s vague regarding the strategic policy it wants to be imposed to replace an existing Sanders-campaign policy (whatever strategic policy that is, which isn’t made clear); and, (2) if the policy it’s proposing is to have the candidate (not his surrogates but Sanders himself) criticize the person of his opponent (Hillary), that’s stupid because it would needlessly alienate Hillary-supporters whom he is trying to switch to voting for himself.

      For a political candidate to criticize directly the person of an opponent, especially in a primary contest where all of the opponent(s) are within one’s own Party (Democratic), is taken by that opponent’s supporters to be a personal criticism of themselves (for their supporting such a person). That’s the reason why it’s standard practice in politics (especially in primaries) to leave personal attacks against an opponent to be made (as much as possible) only by one’s surrogates, or (if at all possible) by ‘news’ reporters who aren’t at all associated with either campaign. Sanders is doing the strategically correct thing in that regard. So too did Barack Obama in the 2008 primary, where he admitted he often had to “bite my lip” in order to carry it out. In this regard, Sanders is copying Obama’s 2008 strategy in the primaries.

      So, the present article is vague (except as an anecdote) and is also false (to the extent that what it was trying to do is to propose that Sanders be more explicit in providing the evidence that Hillary is corrupt etc.).

      • Brad Benson says

        It’s an opinion piece. I’m sorry you didn’t like it. I worked very hard on it, both to make it interesting and to make a point. That point was precisely what you discussed in your comment above–that the campaign has to use Gabbard more in these appearances. Bernie is running against a War Criminal and if he fails, many of his people will be voting for Trump. Think about that. This is no time for party loyalty or any other such nonsense. He is running against a machine.

        Let me say one more thing and remember you heard it here first. Hillary Clinton will never be President of the United States. So if you support Senator Sanders or just don’t want to see a President Donald J. Trump, you better hope he starts to take advantage of her blatant flaws, while the opportunity is still there.

Please note the opinions expressed in the comments do not necessarily reflect those of the editors or of OffG as a whole