In the case of Nevada, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) flashed her union credentials in a tweet: “I stand with @Culinary226 and let’s be clear: attacks on the union are unacceptable. I come from a family of proud union members and I know when unions are strong, America is strong.”
At issue here is not simply Sanders’s insistence on forcing his fantastical Medicare-for-all on those who prefer to keep their own plan, but also the ethos of his campaign, which attracts the left-wing version of MAGA bullies. No other campaign’s supporters boo other contenders or swarm reporters and pundits who they feel have been less than reverential to their candidate.
Sanders generically rebukes antagonistic behavior but claims he is powerless to stop it (though he could have come out at the final Democratic gathering in New Hampshire and personally scolded his supporters for booing other contenders). Instead, Sanders gives off the vibe that there will be hell to pay if he gets only a plurality of nominees but ultimately loses at the convention:
The problem: He was asking superdelegates in 2016 to throw their votes to him even after Hillary Clinton had an insurmountable delegate lead.
Between Sanders’s own conduct — including breaking his promise to release all medical records despite his heart attack last fall — and that of his supporters, there is understandable resentment building in the rest of the party that he and his overly aggressive supporters are putting a gun to the party’s head: Choose him or suffer our wrath. (And it’s not simply hangers-on, but also paid staff, who lash out at critics.)
Many Democrats who are deathly afraid that Sanders will win the nomination and drive the party into a ditch will be cheering Culinary Union 226 today, but it is time for more candidates to adopt Klobuchar’s approach and hit him for his supporters’ conduct.
The debate provides the perfect time to tell Sanders to his face: His supporters are out of line. He needs to fire staff members who encourage abusive conduct and/or engage in online harassment. He needs to fulfill his promise to release all medical records. And most important, the rule in the Democratic Party has always been that a majority is required for nomination. Should no one get a majority going into the convention, all candidates must pledge to support whoever finally wins a majority of the delegates. Sanders must say now that he would enthusiastically support another winner even if he had a plurality before the convention. If not, voters should know he is ready to blow up the party.
Standing up to Sanders will be good practice for the eventual nominee (if not Sanders), who in the general election will have to go up against a bully who scorns transparency and thinks he is above reproach.