The political narrative this election season has focused on the stark differences between Democrats and Republicans. While GOP presidential candidates slung mud at one another at their debates, the Democrats remained civil and kept their debates issue-oriented.
Not any more.
At a campaign rally yesterday in Pennsylvania, Bernie Sanders suggested Hillary Clinton is not “qualified” to be president. But he didn’t just leave it at that. He went on to say:
“Let me just say in response to Secretary Clinton, I don’t believe that she is qualified if she is, through her Super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special-interest money. I don’t think that you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street through your super PAC.”
“I don’t think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in Iraq. I don’t think you are qualified if you’ve supported virtually every disastrous trade agreement which has cost us millions of decent paying jobs.”
Bernie’s outburst came after Clinton questioned Sanders’ recent comments about banking reform, suggesting he didn’t know what he was talking about and needed to do his “homework.” A Washington Post article about Hillary’s comments (circulated by the Sanders camp) misleadingly said: “Clinton questions whether Sanders is qualified to be president.” In fairness to Clinton, she did not actually say Sanders is unqualified, though that was the gist of her criticism.
Yes, the Democratic presidential race has veered into new territory. But this was to be expected. The contest is headed into the fourth quarter and the Sanders camp can do the math. Clinton has a commanding lead in the delegate count, and with the all-important New York primary looming on the horizon, Bernie needs a game changer.
For Clinton, she is no doubt stung by Sanders’ recent string of primary wins, including his most recent comeback victory in Wisconsin. The Bernie momentum needs to be stopped.
Will this new nastiness hurt the eventual Democratic nominee in unifying the party? Probably not. There is just too much at stake to hold grudges. The possibility of a Republican back into the White House will surely motivate Dems to rally behind their nominee.
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