Culinary Union 226 just gained a lot of friends and admirers in Democratic circles, though it has nothing to do with its work on behalf of hospitality workers in Nevada. The Nevada Independent reports:

Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Arguello-Kline said in a statement Wednesday that Sanders supporters have “viciously attacked” the union since it began distributing a one-pager to union members that takes specific aim at the Vermont senator over his Medicare-for-all policy. The Culinary Union, which provides insurance to 130,000 of its members and their families through a special kind of union health trust, strongly opposes the creation of a single-payer, government-run health insurance system on the grounds that it would eliminate their health plan.
In distributing the flyer, the union was trying to provide “facts on what certain healthcare proposals might do to take away the system of care we have built over 8 decades,” Arguello-Kline said. “We have always stood up for what we believe in and will continue to do so.” . . . .
Since news of the flyer broke on Tuesday night, the Culinary Union has faced attacks in the form of tweets, phone calls and emails, a union spokeswoman said.

In booing other candidates, swarming on critics online and threatening to stay home if Sanders does not win, so-called Bernie Bros have been making enemies throughout the primary process. Their attitude only reinforces critics’ fear that Sanders will burn down the party if he does not get the nomination. It is little wonder that he did much worse than former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg in the second alignment in the Iowa caucuses, when candidates above 15 percent have a chance to pick up new support from other camps. Who wants to join a team that has been trashing everyone else?

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.

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