Could President Hillary heal a divided nation?



If she wins the White House, Hillary Clinton will face the daunting task of healing the national divisions exposed by a vicious campaign season.

Whether Clinton could knit the nation back together is an open question. Her supporters say she will do what she can, but that the GOP will have to play its part. Opponents argue that she is uniquely ill equipped for the task.

The former secretary of State has been a polarizing figure for decades. She is the most unpopular nominee of modern times, with the sole exception of her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump. To many conservatives, she represents everything that is wrong with liberal politics.

Yet Clinton has sought to make overt appeals to Republican voters. Invited to deliver a closing statement at the third and final presidential debate last week, she said that she was “reaching out to all Americans — Democrats, Republicans, and independents — because we need everybody to help make our country what it should be.”

If Clinton wins, said former Republican Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), “for the first time in our history, we will have a president who more than half the people don’t trust and don’t like. That means that, rather than having the historic honeymoon period — being given the benefit of the doubt for a time — she won’t have that, unless she creates it.”

Gregg, who is also a columnist for The Hill, served in the Senate at the same time as Clinton. He acknowledged that during her time representing New York “she aggressively crossed the aisle,” going out of her way to seek areas where bipartisan progress was possible.

But, he added, “since she left the Senate her positions have hardened, and she has moved very far left” — in part to rebut the challenge from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during this year’s Democratic primary.

Many liberals, however, either don’t believe Clinton has moved to the left or doubt her sincerity in doing so. While all politicians are subject to pressures from both left and right, Clinton may have an unusually small amount of leeway.

Tad Devine, who served as a senior advisor to Sanders during the primary, said that he believed some progressives “will wait to see what her agenda is. If she pursues the agenda that was outlined in the Democratic platform, she will convert them into supporters. And, if she doesn’t, she will have to deal with a less-than-unified party, like President Carter in 1980.”

The parallel with Carter is ominous for Clinton. Democratic discontent with Carter fueled a primary challenge at the end of his first term from then-Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. Although Kennedy’s bid had its share of missteps and ultimately fizzled, his candidacy weakened Carter before his eventual defeat by Ronald Reagan in the general election that fall.

Gregg suggested one possible way of threading the needle between competing political pressures.

A President-elect Clinton could convene a meeting with the leaders of the Senate and House before even taking office, he said, and outline issues on which bipartisan agreement ought to be possible: infrastructure and reform of the Veterans Administration being two examples. This would not require Clinton to forsake her campaign pledges, he said. Instead, she could simply run them along “a parallel track.”

But others are dubious that such an approach would work, especially with a Republican Party that may still be shell-shocked from the turbulent Trump candidacy.

While some Republican leaders in Washington, including Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.), have made no secret of their differences with Trump, they have to be mindful of the power his supporters wield within the party.

A new poll from Bloomberg last week asked Republican voters whether Trump or Ryan better represented their own views. Fifty-one percent chose Trump, while only 33 percent favored Ryan.

It seems inconceivable that the Trumpian forces would accept GOP leaders cutting deals with Clinton on any issue of significance.

“I don’t think his people are going anywhere,” said Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist who was the campaign manager of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid.

“Whether he gets 38 percent, 40 percent, or whatever, that is a pretty rock-solid group of people. If he loses, they are not going to decide it’s time to stay home and not be involved with politics. How does their party deal with all that? How it comes back together is more important than anything Hillary tries.”

There are some things Clinton can do right now to ameliorate these problems. Even in the closing days of the campaign, a more positive tone in her advertising could give voters a better sense of what she stands for, experts say. Clinton’s most memorable ads so far have been attacks on Trump.

Clinton could also focus on running up the score on Nov. 8. A thumping win could give her greater leverage in any negotiations with Capitol Hill Republicans — especially if she brought a significant number of Democrats into Congress on her coattails.

Even so, however, she will almost inevitably face critics who say her victory was a national repudiation of Trump, rather than a positive endorsement of her.

“There’s where the non-Trump Republicans will be: ‘We made a mistake, the media was too light on him,’ ” Princeton University history professor Julian Zelizer predicted.

“It won’t be because she is a great candidate or there is some mandate for what she stands for. And many people — not just Republicans — will believe that argument, given how explosive Trump has been. It’s a plausible argument to many people.”

The political polarization of the United States had been underway for years before battle was joined between Clinton and Trump, fueled by forces like talk radio and the growth of social media.

The widening fissures have begun to affect the basic geography of American life.

In a 2014 Pew Research Center report, a full 50 percent of people with “consistently conservative” beliefs said it was important for them “to live in a place where most people share my political views.” Thirty-five percent of people with “consistently liberal” views said the same thing.

Another Pew report this summer found that the number of partisans who hold a “very unfavorable” opinion of the opposing party continues to rise. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats now feel that way — figures roughly three times as high as they were in 1994.

Findings like that underline the sheer scale of the challenges Clinton will face, even if she storms to victory on Election Day.

“The country is really at war many ways, rhetorically at least,” Devine said.

Niall Stanage

Sanders tweet causes drug company to lose $400M in a day

Greg Nash

Good for Bernie!  Someone needs to call out those greedy pharmaceutical companies. (ks)


A tweet posted to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (D-Vt.) Twitter account on Friday afternoon caused the stock of a pharmaceutical company to crash, costing the company millions of dollars.

Sanders told his 2.6 million followers that Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. had raised the price of its leukemia drug “to almost $199,000 a year.”

“Drug corporations’ greed is unbelievable,” the Vermont senator tweeted.

Shortly after the tweet, Ariad’s stock lost 15 percent of its value — or $387 million dollars — its biggest intraday decline in over a year, according to Bloomberg.

The drug mentioned in Sanders tweet, Iclusig, helps to treat a rare form of leukemia, and has indeed seen its price raised four times this year alone, to $16,000 for a 30-day pack.

Hillary Clinton had a similar effect on the drug company Mylan, which saw its shares plummet after she accused it of “price gouging” consumers who buy its EpiPen allergy shot.

Neetzan Zimmerman

Bernie Sanders Goes After Trump’s Tax Scam, Trump PISSED (TWEETS)

Bernie Sanders Goes After Trump’s Tax Scam, Trump PISSED (TWEETS)

 Drew Angerer and David McNew / Getty Images


Just because Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is no longer in the presidential race does not mean he’s stopped going after Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Since his campaign ended, Sanders has been a major supporter of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and has been urging his massive following to get behind the former Secretary of State. But that’s not all he’s doing to save America from Trump – Sanders recently announced his plan to introduce legislation that will make it impossible for Trump continue to take advantage of tax loopholes.

Trump’s taxes have been a major topic throughout this entire campaign, as the business mogul continues to hold them hostage from the American people. However, the truth has been coming out little by little. Recent reports have stated that in 1995, Trump claimed a loss of almost one billion dollars on his tax returns, which may have enabled him to use legal tax loopholes to avoid paying federal income tax for 18 years! On Tuesday, Sanders said he would put an end to this:

“Special tax breaks and loopholes in a corrupt tax code enable billionaires and powerful corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes while sticking the burden on the middle class. It’s time to create a tax system which is fair and which asks the wealthy and powerful to start paying their fair share of taxes.

I will be introducing comprehensive legislation at the beginning of the next session of Congress to do just that.”



Sanders believes his legislation will take care of the following loopholes that have been taken advantage of by people like Trump:

  • Exemption for real estate from passive loss rules. (Section 469)
  • Exemption for real estate from at-risk rules. (Section 465)
  • Like-kind exchanges. (Section 1031)
  • Debt and Depreciation.

For Trump, who bragged about how “smart” he was for not paying any taxes during the first presidential debate last week, this will be devastating.

By Vera

Warren to go on attack for Clinton

Getty Images


Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is relishing her role as one of Hillary Clinton’s most effective attack dogs against Donald Trump.

Warren’s criticism of Trump in tweets and speeches has gotten under the Republican presidential nominee’s skin, provoking angry outbursts from the billionaire businessman.

She’s has shown a talent for irking Trump — mainly on Twitter — and moving him off message, which is something Trump’s GOP primary foes struggled to do.

Scott Ferson, a Boston-based Democratic strategist who voted for Clinton in the primary, said Warren’s attacks were effective because she knows where to aim and has the credibility to back it up.

“She knows how to hit Trump where he lives,” said Ferson. “I would have hated to be Elizabeth Warren’s younger brother.”

The liberal stalwart homed in on Trump’s business background and derogatory comments about women, labeling him a con artist who’s bilked his way into striking distance of the White House.

Soon after Trump announced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, Warren tweeted that the duo was a perfect match: “Two small, insecure, weak men who use hate & fear to divide our country & our people.”

Trump changed the subject and countered that Warren was a “fraud” who lied about having Native American ancestry. Warren shot back with comments about the lawsuits he faces over Trump University while defending her own credentials.

“It might blow your mind that a woman worked hard & earned a good job on her own,” she tweeted, “but it’s not the 1800s. It happens.”

Warren also joined a chorus of Democrats calling for Trump to publicly release his tax returns, implying that the real estate mogul is hiding a bombshell.

“Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out he’s worth a whole lot less than he claims. We really can’t know for sure,” Warren said in a video for progressive nonprofit

And when Warren campaigned with Clinton for the first time, on June 27, she used the stage to knock Trump’s ethics.

“What kind of a man roots for people to lose their jobs, lose their homes, lose their life savings? I’ll tell you what kind of a man: a small, insecure money-grubber who fights for no one other than himself,” she said. “What kind of a man? A nasty man who will never become president of the United States.”

Democratic strategist Craig Varoga said Warren “expresses well thought-out plans in pithy sound bites.”

Trump has trouble with people attacking him, “especially a well-educated, forceful woman,” Varoga added.

Warren, a former law professor, has spent her career advocating for and proposing economic policies aimed at reining in Wall Street and big corporations and helping the middle class and the poor.

Her authenticity and credibility on economic issues could help energize people who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the Democratic primary and persuade undecided voters to vote for Clinton.

“She’s uniquely suited to talk about economic solutions to the problems that both Trump and Sanders have identified and talked about so far,” such as bad trade deals and the struggles of the middle class, Varoga said.

Warren targeted Trump even before endorsing Clinton, and she continued as the presumptive nominee deliberated about choosing a running mate.

But Warren is unlikely to stop attacking Trump and pushing her economic message just because she won’t be the vice presidential nominee, say allies on the left.

“She’s motivated by a policy agenda she believes in,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “She’s not motivated by a desire to audition for a title.”

Ferson agreed, noting Warren’s past tension with Clinton gives her no reason to stick her neck out.

“She is really, really afraid of what Donald Trump will do if he becomes president,” said Ferson. “Elizabeth Warren has no reason from a personal standpoint to help Hillary Clinton.”

Warren energizes progressives and Democrats as a whole because “she is fearlessly willing to speak truth to power,” said Neil Sroka, communications director at Democracy for America. His group and MoveOn had partnered on the “Run Warren Run” campaign from December 2014 to June 2015 to encourage the senator to run for president.

Warren’s comments resonate with progressives and people across the political spectrum because she has a plain, easy-to-understand way of speaking and “her integrity is self-evident,” said MoveOn Communications Director Nick Berning.

She can also appeal to undecided voters who may be attracted to Trump’s economic message because she provides more substance, experts said.

Warren’s progressive credentials give Clinton a much-needed bridge to the left wing of her party.

Though Warren criticized Clinton’s economic stances long before she joined the Senate in 2013 and held out on an endorsement in 2016 until the former first lady had clinched the nomination, she’s insisted Clinton is the best person to fight for middle- and working-class families.

“For 25 years … the right wing has been throwing everything they possibly can at her. What she’s done is she gets back up, and she gets back in the fight,” Warren told MSNBC upon endorsing Clinton on June 9.

“You also have to be willing to throw a punch, and there are a lot of things people say about Hillary Clinton, but nobody says she doesn’t know how to throw a punch,” she said.

Warren is the “best person to raise money, excite the base and maximize turnout for the base,” said Ferson. “There’s no one who provides that excitement in the way that Elizabeth Warren does.”

By Naomi Jagoda and Sylvan Lane

Sanders: ‘We Have Got To Do Everything We Can’ To Elect Clinton


(AP Photo / Bill Clark)


“We have got to do everything that we can to defeat Donald Trump and elect Hillary Clinton,”Sanders said Thursday to a Bloomberg reporter for a PBS program. “I don’t honestly know how we would survive four years of a Donald Trump [presidency].”

Sanders has before said he would fight for the nomination up to the Democratic National Convention later this month. But when asked Wednesday night on MSNBC if he was “not denying” the report that there were talks of a potential endorsement, Sanders replied, “that’s correct.”

Clinton was declared the party’s presumptive nominee at the beginning of June.

Political scientist: Bernie isn’t the future of the Democratic Party. Barack Obama is.


Bernie Sanders may have lost the current battle for the Democratic nomination. But he’s winning the war for the party’s future.

That, at least, is the conventional wisdom about Sanders’s campaign — that while the Vermont senator may go down to defeat in this presidential cycle, his young supporters can expect sweeping victory within a generation or two.

“Whatever Sanders’s fate as a presidential candidate … his campaign is the harbinger of a deep change in the Democratic Party,” wrote the New Republic’s Jeet Heer after Sanders won New Hampshire. “In coming years, Democratic politicians will have to echo Sanders’s slashing critique of Wall Street and his call for a far more robust welfare state if they want to hold on to the rising generation in their party.”

But Dave Hopkins, a political scientist at Boston College, thinks these kinds of interpretations may be overstating the long-term significance of Sanders’s insurgency.

“There’s a temptation to assume that everything new in politics is a harbinger of the future. But lots of things are dead ends: They rise, and they go away,” Hopkins says. “There’s no reason to believe just definitionally that Sanders represents the future of the Democratic Party more than anybody else.”

For one, Hopkins sees little reason to believe that the young voters who have overwhelmingly backed Sanders will remain wedded to his political vision. And the title of most popular Democrat still belongs to the man in the White House: Barack Obama continues to command massive popularity among the Democratic rank and file — about 80 percent of Democrats approve of his job performance.

“It seems like [Obama] will go down in history as the key figure in current Democratic Party politics — he showed how the party’s new demographic coalition could come together. If you want to talk about the future of the Democratic Party, that’s where it is,” Hopkins said.

In a phone call earlier this week, Hopkins told me why he thinks Sanders has failed to transform the Democratic Party this time around, and why — media speculation aside — he probably doesn’t represent its future either.

A transcript of our conversation, lightly edited for length and clarity, follows below.

Has Bernie Sanders pulled the party to the left?

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (Getty)

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. (Getty)

Jeff Stein: I want to get a sense of the extent to which you think Sanders has pulled the Democratic primary to the left. On some of these issues — the Trans-Pacific Partnership, wealth inequality, the minimum wage — hasn’t his message changed Clinton’s?

Dave Hopkins: I think Sanders has had a visible effect on the rhetoric of the Clinton campaign, where they clearly took seriously the critique that she was not really liberal enough and responded to Sanders’s presence in the race.


TPP is the one example where there may have actually been a substantive position change in response to him. The rest haven’t been substantive position changes but rhetorical and message differences — and, maybe, emphasizing Wall Street regulation, the public option on health care, and more debt free college.

But she didn’t adopt all of his positions, or even many of them. At most, she may have “me, too’d” some issues more than she would have otherwise.

JS: Okay, maybe Sanders didn’t force many substantive concessions. But didn’t he at least move the party to talk more about inequality? Clearly the primary at least showed future Democratic politicians the potency of his attacks on the 1 percent and the “millionaires and billionaires,” right?

DH: I think it was already there to a large extent. It’s an issue that Democrats more generally have come to talk about over the last few years even before Sanders started running. I think she was going to need to talk about it either way.

But in other ways she made other distinctions with him — at times trying to suggest he was too focused on just inequality and Wall Street and not on the other issues important to Democrats, like racial discrimination and gun control. Some of it was adapting to his candidacy by echoing him, and some of it was pushing back against him.

I’m just not sure Sanders really forced her to make any concessions that she wouldn’t have made otherwise. He never was quite enough of a threat to her actual nomination to really require her to change course in a fundamental way in this campaign. And I think a lot of where you see his influence is on the edges — in the rhetoric and the approach in the primary. And I’m not sure whether we’ll see a substantive lasting effect of the Sanders campaign.

It may be that after the conventions, the Clinton people feel they have a big problem appealing to Sanders voters and have to revisit his issues. But absent that, it’s not clear to me that there’s been a large-scale effect on the party in general.

JS: What if we look at something like campaign finance? Sanders was able to raise enough from his small-donor army to not suffer financially against Clinton and do so in a way that also redounded to his political benefit. Could there be a lasting lesson there?

DH: I think there’s probably something to that. He showed that you can raise a lot of money from small individual donations without making nice with business interests within the party, and the Clinton fundraising strategy going back to the ’90s was to sell themselves to wealthier interests as being somewhat business-friendly.

So Sanders does represent another path, and he was certainly much better-funded than most of his liberal insurgent predecessors. He showed that you can use the internet and publicity to raise an awful lot of money. That’s certainly one place where future presidential candidates could change.

Why Hopkins thinks Sanders is nowhere near remaking the party in his image


(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)


Trump shifts his tone, promises to make party proud

Getty Images


Donald Trump sought to reshape his candidacy on Tuesday night, using a teleprompter to deliver a carefully prepared address that cast the presumptive presidential nominee as a champion for ordinary Americans.

The speech was clearly designed to reassure Republicans worried about the billionaire’s candidacy after his remarks criticizing a federal judge provoked cries of racism within his own party.

“You’ve given me the honor to lead the Republican Party to victory this fall,” Trump said. “We’re going to do it, folks. I understand the responsibility of carrying the mantle and I will never ever let you down.”

“I will make you proud of your party and your movement,” he added.

The speech was clearly designed to reassure Republicans worried about the billionaire’s candidacy after his remarks criticizing a federal judge provoked cries of racism within his own party.

“You’ve given me the honor to lead the Republican Party to victory this fall,” Trump said. “We’re going to do it, folks. I understand the responsibility of carrying the mantle and I will never ever let you down.”

“I will make you proud of your party and your movement,” he added.

Trump passed on hot-button issues like his pledge to build a wall along the Southern border, his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the country, his criticism of Judge Gonzalo Curiel, and declined even to use his preferred nickname for Hillary Clinton – “Crooked Hillary.”

Instead, Trump vowed to work to earn the support of all those who cast ballots for other candidates over the course of the primary.

“To those who voted for someone else in either party, I’ll work hard to earn your support,” Trump said. “I will work very hard to earn that support. To all of those Bernie Sanders supporters who have been left out in the cold by a rigged system of superdelegates, we welcome you with open arms.”

The remarks come as Trump tries to move past one of the most explosive controversies of a presidential campaign in which he has repeatedly pushed the envelope, particularly on matters related to race and ethnicity.

Trump should have been enjoying a victory lap on the last night of GOP primaries after steamrolling a deep field of Republican contenders and clinching the nomination a full month before Hillary Clinton was able to wrap up the Democratic nomination.

Instead, Trump found found himself under siege from Republicans and Democrats alike for comments he made about an Indiana-born federal judge being biased against him because he’s of Mexican descent.

Top Republican leaders from House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on down have rebuked Trump.

Ryan said that Trump’s remarks are the “textbook definition” of racism, while McConnell demanded the likely GOP standard bearer “get on message.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a fierce Trump critic and former presidential candidate, is urging Republicans who have endorsed Trump to retract their support.

Republicans are also upset that Trump is missing opportunities to go after Democrats for a weak economic recovery and Clinton over an inspector general report that called into question her use of a private email account and server.

Trump tried to get back on message on Tuesday night, saying that he expects build a substantial lead over Clinton in the polls in the coming weeks as he takes aim at the likely Democratic nominee.

“America is getting taken apart piece by piece and auctioned off to the highest bidder,” Trump said. “We’re broke. We owe 19 trillion going quickly to 21 trillion. Our infrastructure is a disaster. Our schools are failing. Crime is rising. People are scared .The last thing we need is Hillary Clinton in the White House or the extension of the Obama disaster.”

Trump said he would give a major speech next week detailing why he believes Clinton is unfit for office.

“The Clintons have turned the politics of personal enrichment into an art form for themselves,” Trump said. “They’ve made hundreds of millions of dollars selling access, selling favors, selling government contracts…secretary Clinton even did all of the work on a totally illegal private server…and the corrupt system is totally protecting her.”

Trump’s speech concluded just moments before Clinton was scheduled to speak at a rally in Brooklyn, where she’s expected to claim victory in the Democratic presidential primary.

As eager as Trump was to go after Clinton, Democrats are equally as eager to have their shot at Trump.

Since Trump’s controversy with the federal judge, many Democrats have branded the likely GOP nominee a racist and a bigot and sought to tie him to down-ballot Republican running for reelection, particularly in the Senate, where the GOP is playing defense as it seeks to protect a fragile majority.

By Jonathan Easley

Reminder: The Right-Wing Owes Us 25 Billion Dollars

Mark Wilson via Getty Images


Rest assured, Bobby Jindal (R-LA). Republicans are not the stupid party. They are the evil party.

Democrats are the stupid party. With the havoc that could be wreaked by the Zika virus, the right-wing feel they must “find” money in the budget to offset the research and development necessary to be ready for it.

But, $25 billion to shut down the government? Not a problem.

The Democrats are genetically incapable of calling them on it. A statement here or there, and that is it. Or, as Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) once told me about another subject, “didn’t you see my press release?”

Like Katrina and 9/11, we know it is coming. And yet, like Katrina and 9/11, Republicans sit on their hands.

After all, how much more fun to blame Obama for Zika, as Donald Trump will certainly do. And, while they are at it, they will make it more and more difficult for mothers who are carrying the microcephalic babies to have abortions.

This, Secretary Clinton/Senator Sanders/Senator Reid/Congresswoman Pelosi, could not be an easier case to make to shape public sentiment.

Republicans owe the country $25 billion from a shutdown so absurd that their own Speaker, John Boehner (R-OH) lashed out at it, and the architects said they they knew in advance it would fail.

$25 billion.

U.S. taxpayers will, thank you very much, take the first $1.9 billion of that back to protect unborn children and mothers from the Zika virus. (Unborn children? Who, pray tell, pontificates their love for them?)

A little clue on how to make this happen. Speak about it from all quarters. Have Hillary and Bernie call into morning news programs, just like Trump does, to talk about it. Repeat-repeat-repeat-repeat-repeat. Keep making the distinction. Demand the first “credit” from the $25B the right-wing owes the country is protection against the Zika virus.

Every time you are on a Sunday morning yapping show, talk about it. Bring every question back to Zika, right-wing obstruction, hypocrisy over protecting the unborn, $25 billion they blew on the government shutdown.

Of course, the above scenario will never happen. After all, the Dems are indeed the stupid party.

Paul Abrams

Tensions explode in Dem primary

Greg Nash


Bernie Sanders is standing by his supporters in the face of mounting criticism from Democratic leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, over the increasingly nasty tone of the Democratic presidential primary.

Sanders on Tuesday issued a statement rejecting claims by Hillary Clinton’s allies that his campaign has shown a penchant for violence as “nonsense.”

It was released just minutes after Reid went before cameras in the Senate to call on Sanders to do “the right thing” and hold his supporters accountable for the chaotic scene that took place Saturday at Nevada’s state convention.

The starkly different messages showed off a Democratic split that is getting worse than the fight within the GOP over presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Reid said he had spoken to Sanders for 10 minutes on Tuesday but in an interview with CNN called the release from the Sanders campaign a “silly statement” that “someone else prepared for him.”

“Bernie should say something — not have some silly statement,” Reid said. “Bernie is better than that. … I’m surprised by his statement. I thought he was going to do something different.”

While Republicans are now rallying around Trump, a Democratic rift between party officials overwhelmingly loyal to Clinton and liberal activists and younger voters drawn to Sanders is growing wider and more contentious.

Senate Democrats on Tuesday said things have gotten out of hand and made clear they see Sanders as primarily responsible.

“When it breaks down to shouting matches, demonstrations and violence, it’s unacceptable,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.). “Shouting down speakers and throwing chairs in hotel gatherings — those things aren’t consistent with reasonable discourse.”

Tensions spiraled out of control at the Nevada Democratic convention over the weekend when frustrations among Sanders’s supporters erupted into shouting, angry demonstrations and thrown chairs.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) was booed off the stage in Las Vegas when she appealed for Sanders backers calm down. She said she feared for her safety.

Death threats and vulgar messages were left with Nevada Democratic Party Chairwoman Roberta Lange — and then were posted online by Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston.

“I just wanted to let you know that I think people like you should be hung [sic] in a public execution to show this world that we won’t stand for this sort of corruption,” says the caller on one voicemail, who left his phone number.

Lange told CNN on Tuesday that Sanders has done nothing to apologize or crack down on the behavior.

“They have high-level campaign people that were trying to incite their people going into the convention,” she said. “I have not received an apology. I have not received anything from the Sanders campaign.

“It’s going to continue unless, you know, people are made to feel this isn’t OK,” she said. “Some of the text messages and emails I’ve received have told me that it’s going to go into Philadelphia.”

In his statement, Sanders, an independent senator, accused his newly adopted party of not treating his campaign fairly and favoring Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.

He argued that the Democratic Party needs to change its ways, distance itself from “big-money” donors and “open its doors and welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change.”

While Sanders’s statement included the disclaimer that “it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals,” it was more of a call for the party establishment to change itself.

The statement came on the day of primaries in Kentucky and Oregon, two states where Sanders was seeking to drive his supporters to the polls.

“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,” said Sanders, who has long caucused with Democrats in the Senate but only registered with the party last year to run for president.

The statement also accused party officials at the Nevada convention of failing to take a head-count vote on the convention’s rules and of refusing to accept motions from the floor or petitions to amend the convention rules.

The defiant tone of the release was clearly not what Reid, who backs Clinton for president and is widely believed to have helped her campaign in the state, had expected.

“He and I had a very long conversation,” Reid told reporters Tuesday just minutes before the Sanders campaign statement was released. “I laid out to him what happened in Las Vegas. I wanted to make sure he understands and he’s heard what went on there, the violence and all the other bad things that have happened there.”

Reid said that how Sanders would respond to the violent outbursts over the weekend would be a “test of leadership.”

“I’m hopeful and very confident that Sen. Sanders will do the right thing,” he said.

But things didn’t quite play to that script.

The back-and-forth provided little reassurance to Democratic lawmakers who want the growing animosity between the two camps to stop, and there’s growing alarm that it could hurt the party’s chances of keeping the White House and winning back the Senate.

“We’ve got to cut that out. We’ve got to very soon get them on the same page. We’ve got to get them working toward a peaceful resolution,” said Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), who has endorsed Clinton.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), another Clinton backer, warned that the intraparty strife could hurt Senate Democratic candidates.

“I just think for us to have chaos and security guards at our state conventions is not a positive thing for candidates that are appearing on the Democratic ballot,” she said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Sanders should drop out of the race if he doesn’t have enough delegates to win the nomination after the last primary in June. Sanders has vowed to keep his bid going all the way until the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in late July.

“Although the numbers are very positive for Sen. Clinton, I think the fact that Bernie Sanders doesn’t recognize this is really a difficulty because it precipitates a lot of this confrontation. It’s not helpful,” said Feinstein.

Senate Democrats worry the anger could spread like a wildfire if it isn’t soon contained.

“It sets off an alarm bell that a small percentage of the delegates could disrupt the convention in a way where we can’t really think about why this election is important,” Boxer told The Washington Post Tuesday.

“If all we’re addressing is how to keep a convention peaceful because a small minority of people are disrupting it, it’s very difficult, and it doesn’t bode well for the election,” she said.

By Alexander Bolton

Everything You Missed From the Democratic Debate in Miami

Everything You Missed From the Democratic Debate in MiamiImage Credit: AP


One night after Bernie Sanders pulled off a stunning upset over Hillary Clinton in the Michigan primary, the Democratic presidential candidates tussled in Miami, Florida, on Wednesday for their eighth debate of the cycle.

Hosted by CNN and Univision, the debate spotlighted a wide range of policy issues, including immigration reform, college debt and climate change. With Sanders looking to parlay his shock victory on Tuesday into support in later contests, the forum provided him an opportunity to appeal to the diverse constituency that’s helped Clinton build a healthy lead in the delegate count.

We kept track of the most noteworthy moments below.

1. Sanders said he would win over Democratic superdelegates.

When Sanders talked about his optimism about nominating contests going forward, he made what may have been his first mention of the role of superdelegates in determining the Democratic nominee.


Everything You Missed From the Democratic Debate in Miami

Source: Wilfredo Lee/AP

“We are going to continue to do extremely well, win a number of these primaries and convince superdelegates that Bernie Sanders is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump,” he said.

Currently Clinton holds a massive lead among superdelegates, who are party officials, elected members of the Democratic party like members of Congress, and other insiders who are free to line up behind whichever candidate they prefer. Typically they coalesce behind the candidate most closely linked with the party establishment, but in the case that an outsider prevails overwhelmingly, they will traditionally respect popular will (as was the case with Obama in 2008). Sanders needs to get a lot more votes before he can convince them to back him.  —Zeeshan Aleem

2. Jorge Ramos to Clinton: “Will you drop out if you get indicted?”

Pressing Clinton on the federal investigation into her use of a private email server as secretary of state, co-moderator Ramos asked whether she’d quit the race if leveled with Justice Department charges for mishandling classified information.

Clinton initially sidestepped the question.

“I”m going to give the same answer I’ve been giving for many months. It wasn’t the best choice, she said. “I made a mistake. I was not prohibited. It was not in any way disallowed. And as I have said and has now has come out, my predecessors did the same thing. And many other people in the government,” she continued, referring to former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Unsatisfied, Ramos asked Clinton again whether she’d drop out if indicted.

“Oh, for goodness’—that’s not going to happen,” she said. “I’m not even answering that question.”

While few expect the Obama administration’s Justice Department to hit Clinton with criminal charges, it’s hardly the line of questioning a presidential candidate wants to be facing. — Luke Brinker

3. Clinton on whether Trump is racist: “You don’t make America great by getting rid of everything that has made America great.”

Asked by co-moderator Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post whether she considered Republican frontrunner Donald Trump a racist, Clinton avoided a direct answer. But in a play on Trump’s campaign slogan, Clinton condemned Trump’s rhetoric as contrary to what has “made America great.”

“I called him out when he was calling Mexicans rapists, when he was engaging in rhetoric that I found deeply offensive. I said basta, and I am pleased that others are also joining in making clear that his rhetoric, his demagoguery, his trafficking in prejudice and paranoia has no place in our political system,” Clinton said. “Especially from somebody running for president who couldn’t decide whether or not to disavow the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke.”

“But I will just end by saying this. You don’t make America great by getting rid of everything that made America great,” Clinton continued.

Pressed on what she made of Trump’s “character,” Clinton stuck to her script, calling Trump’s platform “un-American.”

“I think what he has promoted is not at all in keeping with American values, Karen. And I am going to take every opportunity to criticize him, to raise those issues. I’m not going to engage in the kind of language that he uses,” she said.

Given the opportunity to weigh in on the question, Sanders blasted Trump as someone “who insults Mexicans, who insults Muslims, who insults women, who insults African-Americans,” and referred to his promotion of the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

“Nobody has ever asked me for my birth certificate,” Sanders said, noting that like Obama, he is the son of an immigrant. “Maybe it has something to do with the color of my skin.” — Luke Brinker