The Hillary Clinton puzzle

I have been wondering about Hillary Clinton’s recent attack on Bernie Sanders and what purpose she thinks it will serve. At first she suggested that she may not even support him in the general election should he be the Democratic nominee but later, after being roundly criticized for the implication that she preferred Donald Trump over Sanders, she walked back her remarks and said that she would support the party nominee.

But it made me wonder about why she felt impelled to inject herself into the current race in such a disruptive way. Was it because she has so convinced herself that Sanders caused her to lose the 2016 election, despite the evidence that she ran a establishment-centered campaign that failed to energize people in certain key Midwest states, that she cannot bear the thought that he might succeed where she had failed and that she is now driven by anger to prevent him being successful?

Perhaps it is more calculating than that because if there is one thing that the Clintons are famous for is being calculating. Perhaps she thinks that the Democratic primary process will result in a deadlocked or brokered convention, the kind of thing that journalists salivate over, and that the party will turn to her as the compromise candidate. It is of course utterly delusional, but raging and unfulfilled ambition can do strange things to the minds of people, with ever more reckless throws of the dice. This has been floated by some Republicans who relish the possibility of her playing a disruptive role, and you can expect more of the same kind of urging as time goes by.

Or maybe it is more crass. She has a new book to sell and making news is one way of generating sales.

Whatever it is, I think that this may be the moment that more people realize what some of us identified a long time ago, that when it comes to the Clinton’s, it is all about them.

It is undoubtedly a good thing that no one has so far suggested that the rising number of attacks on Sanders is at least partly due to anti-Semitism, a concerted effort to derail a historic opportunity to elect the first-ever Jewish president or at least the first Jewish nominee of a major party. But that will not last if he becomes the nominee. You can be sure that Trump’s racist supporters will try and use Sanders’ ethnicity against him in the general election.

Policies should always take priority over a candidate’s identity. To vote for or against Sanders because he is Jewish or for or against Warren because she is a woman would be misguided. I would gladly vote for them because of the things they stand for. But there is no question that if either of them were to become president, I would also take great pleasure in them having broken a major barrier.

Trevor Noah tries to make sense of Clinton’s attack on Sanders, beginning at the 3:00 minute mark.


  1. says

    Clinton doesn’t need money; she’s driven by self-importance and love of power. All of her actions make sense in the context of her being a narcissist who is still angry that things did not go the way she wanted.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    Gah, you people and your conspiracy theories. Do I really need to spell it out for you?
    If you move mainly in upper-class coastal circles (as the Clintons assuredly do), then your entire social contacts will consist of two types of people. There are Democrats who are liberal on social issues but conservative on financial issues — these are the people who have traditionally funded the party. And there are Republicans who can’t stand Trump and might be tempted to vote for a moderate like Biden, but recoil from any whiff of socialism like a vampire from sunlight.
    So for Hillary, she knows that if Sanders gets the nomination, her Democratic acquaintances will close their checkbooks and her Republican acquaintances will stick with Trump. That translates into a guaranteed Sanders loss in her mind, because those people are the only ones she understands and the only ones who matter. She has no clue what goes on in the minds of a young lower class voter in Michigan who might prefer Sanders to Biden — which, of course, is why she lost last time.
    There’s no need to assign malice or greed or ego here — just the short-sightedness that has always been her weakness.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    Perhaps she thinks that the Democratic primary process will not result in a deadlocked or brokered convention…

  4. Holms says

    As far as I can tell, she is also a willing promoter of misinformation regarding Bernie, such as the ‘Bernie Bros’ silliness.

  5. lorn says

    Or simpler interpretation: she means exactly what she said. Bernie has been seen as a minor annoyance for a long time. He is abrasive in tone, uncooperative in manner. He loves to play the outsider. Despite caucusing with the Democrats he seldom added anything to proposed Democratic legislation and typically failed to vote for or support it. Even when it would have cost him very little. His legislative accomplishments are few and far between. Very few people sharing similar political office like him.

    Assuming that is what she meant, I agree.

    He campaigns well and has assembled a cult of personality. His proposals are vague and usually lack important details. None of the proposals are spelled out sufficiently IMO for anyone to advance without Bernie’s constant personality driven pressure and rhetorical blocking. Such is the way of politics by savior. His vision seems entirely dependent upon his presence. Reminds me of the story of Moses.

    This why I would much prefer Warren. That said, if Bernie is the nominee I will vote for him.

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