Can’t Shake Bernie: Liberal Voters Are Punishing Hillary For Selling Out

Liberal voters have every right to be angry that Clinton will not commit to liberal causes as wholeheartedly as Sanders.

Clinton campaign chief strategist Joel Benenson told CNN on Monday there would be no further debates between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders indefinitely until the Sanders campaign changed its tone.

It resulted in the viral hashtag #ToneDownForWhat, which probably changed the Clinton campaign’s mind because Clinton has now apparently agreed to participate in a debate in New York.

I suppose this unnecessary controversy comes from the Clinton campaign’s frustration over having to fight so hard for what was supposed to be a ceremonial primary joust, but this is the public government we are talking about—the Presidency of the United States—and the job she is interviewing for is first and foremost one of public service. A public debate between two competitive candidates should not be stalled because one campaign is angry at the other’s surprising primary success. Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign comes across as suspiciously self-conscious when it evades committing to the extra debates that both campaigns had already tentatively agreed to back in February.

Democratic tendencies aside, what could Benenson have meant in suggesting Sanders was campaigning with a negative tone undeserving of further political debate? I was at Sanders’ rally two weeks ago in St. Charles, MO, and I saw first hand Sanders’ tone of professional public advocacy. Sanders advocates honest, democratic politics, and he happens to elucidate particular campaign differences between the way he is running for president and the way Clinton is running for president.

The contrasts are negative in substance rather than tone, in that they make Clinton appear less progressive than she claims to be, and it explains her campaign’s self-consciousness. There are very real differences between Sanders and Clinton that voters should be aware of to better make an informed decision for Election 2016, and Sanders is not running on negativity by campaigning with a rhetorical magnifying glass held up to Clinton’s unprogressive policy proposals. Sanders has every right to point out that his campaign is less calculated of a political movement.

In the last Democratic debate on CNN, the question of whether or not the candidates supported fracking was a particularly conspicuous contrast between the two candidates’ ideas of progressive politics. Clinton meandered a long answer of opaque support for continued fracking, but promised certain regulatory “conditions.

“You know, I don’t support it when any locality or any state is against it, number one,” she said. “I don’t support it when the release of methane or contamination of water is present. I don’t support it, number three, unless we can require that anyone who fracks has to tell us exactly what chemicals they are using.”

Then she claimed that these conditions would not leave very many fracking sites still operating, but her noncommittal answer is exactly the kind of calculated political maneuver that Sanders’ supporters criticize.

In the past, Clinton has explained her fracking position saying “With the right safeguards in place, gas is cleaner than coal,” and “expanding production is creating tens of thousands of new jobs.” While technically accurate, it sounds a lot like selling out liberal energy and environmental causes to me, and it serves as a subtle hint that she might be willing to look the other way on fracking companies’ environmental abuses in exchange for some campaign money.

Even more suspect, Clinton has begun using the politically motivated phrase “energy-intensive energies” to refer to oil, coal and natural gas because of their negative association with pollution and environmental destruction. Though Clinton claims she will regulate most fracking sites out of existence, Sanders supporters have every right to punish her electorally for her lack of commitment in stopping energy companies from harming our planet for economic gain.

Following Clinton’s answer Sanders won the debate, and possibly Michigan’s primary, when he articulated his opinion on fracking:

SANDERS: “My answer is a lot shorter: no, I do not support fracking. And by the way Anderson, I’m glad you raised the issue of climate change, because media doesn’t talk enough about what the scientists are telling us, and that is, that if we don’t get our act together the planet that we’re gonna leave our children may not be healthy and habitable. I have introduced the most comprehensive lead-climate change legislation in the history of the Senate, which among other things calls for a tax on carbon, massive investments in energy efficiency, wind, solar, and other sustainable energy. This is a crisis we have got to deal with now.

COOPER: There are a number of Democratic governors in many states who say that fracking can be done safely and that it’s helping their economies. Are they wrong?


Sanders is right when he says that climate change is the most pressing issue of our time. Any energy plan for the future that does not wholly focus on investing in renewable energy sources to phase out “energy-intensive” energies is wrong for America and planet Earth. Solar is obviously the future of energy by every economic and environmental metric compared to NONRENEWABLE energy sources like oil, coal and natural gas, and Bernie, unlike Clinton, makes it perfectly clear where he stands on environmental issues.

This is why the Clinton campaign is so angry with the Sanders campaign’s “tone.” The Clinton campaign thought they had defeated Sanders after the South Carolina primary, but Sanders is continuing to win primaries and dominate caucuses. The momentum behind Sanders has pushed him into the lead in Wisconsin’s upcoming primary, and has made New York a suddenly much more competitive primary.

The “tone” controversy was rightfully shut down with #ToneDownForWhat, and it’s condescending for the Clinton campaign to try and stymie America’s democratic process by refusing to debate because Clinton is annoyed with Sanders’s democratic success.

Liberal voters have every right to be angry that Clinton will not commit to liberal causes as wholeheartedly as Sanders. Throughout the Democratic primary, Sanders has been said to be pulling Clinton to the left, but, with Sanders ceaselessly gaining on Clinton’s lead, he may just pass her on the left.

Senior political columnist here at Contemptor, and a political scientist proving that American conservatism is a sham. Follow me on Tumblr at or on Facebook & Twitter @theleviolson.

12 Comments on this post.
  • Katie
    1 April 2016 at 1:25 pm

    I can only hope that people see how she isn’t as progressive as she pretends to be. I think we (bernie supporters) have wised up to the mainstream media not giving us the whole truth, intentionally leading people to believe there is no chance he can win. What we really want is the corruption to stop. I just don’t think it’s possible to stop a bought politician from making decisions that aren’t in the best interest of the people when they take HUGE amounts of money from these companies/wall street. They own the media so i guess i should expect no less. But it makes me more motivated to talk to people and donate to bernie because of the corruption. I guess mainstream media never thought we could get news from places like the Young Turks and learn the truth. I can’t and won’t vote for her if she wins the nomination for this reason alone…..The DNC will NEVER stop the corruption unless they learn from this. If she wins, it means continuing the corruption and no real worthy candidate will ever have a chance. I am voting/fighting for real democracy….sorry Hillary that’s not you and you know it!

  • marshmomma397
    1 April 2016 at 1:55 pm

    May pass? Time to realize the resolve of the Sanders Supporters is unwavering. WE know she’s pathological. WE know she Votes against US while lining her pockets.. WE know, WE can’t wait to prosecute her. WE are Not Alone. WE Will Write Him IN. If they choose not to join US, the ensuing Anarchy is on their heads.

  • Adele
    1 April 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Bernie was given facts on the morning show about campaign money supporters which he slickly will just not listen to all facts. Shows how he is luring votes by lies he tells about Hillary. If you can lie about that what else are you hiding from us. Writing in an independent candidate does the country no good. Bernie is not god he is a man with an agenda that is not any better than Trump. He will destroy the country much like he has tried to destroy the Democratic Party. What corruption you think a Bernie win is going to topple Wall Street our country’s biggest money maker. Check out who has money on Wall Street. Senior citizens, government retirement funds. It is not just the 1%. Bernie has sold dumb young people and stupid women who have difficulty when a woman has a little power. It’s been a smear campaign by Bernie and I don’t need to see that finger pointing liar anymore. Question when Bernie pulls out will he be willing to support democratics. He even lies about being a democrat. Hillary Madam President the only choice.

    • Elijah
      1 April 2016 at 7:06 pm

      If you believe any of what you wrote you are sadly misinformed. Your morning show interview is garbage, and did exactly what it was meant to. See the difference between generations is that we DO NOT listen, watch, or read what is fed us. We understand that 90 percent of any of it coming through the media (both left and right) is lies. We take finding the truth as a serious matter, and go to great lengths to find out what is really happening. We like Bernie not because he told us anything, it is because he is saying what we already know.

    • NoToHillary
      3 April 2016 at 3:37 pm
  • Lisa
    1 April 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Great article, Levi! Thanks so much! Indeed, Bernie is speeding past in the left lane as Clinton is slowing down and seems headed for the breakdown lane.

  • Evangelina AGUILAR
    1 April 2016 at 4:25 pm

    I was a democrat, no longer I am.. i am so disgusted with the DNC and the establishment, and then they accuse the GOP or RNC or Trump or the Republicans without checking themselves, so a total group of hypocrites.. and $hilLIARy is awaful she is a corporate whore, sorry but that is the word, and I dont mean to insult whores. she and sick slik willie are all for power money and corruption.. worst that any president ever. if you ask any of their supporters, to list her accomplishments, they cant cite one… she has however, put our country’s national security at risk, taken us to war, and committed so many crimes the paper is not long enough to list them all.. not to mention the money laundering operation they carry with their foundation. is sickening. My vote just like that of millions sick of the klintondyansty, our votes will go to Sanders or Trump end of the story.

  • Jackie Westwood
    3 April 2016 at 5:45 am

    Hillary can’t make up her mind about anything. That fact alone makes her a poor candidate for president of this country. I cringe when she speaks what will come out of her mouth that will be changed later.

  • catstandish
    3 April 2016 at 12:21 pm

    I once thought of the DNC as the Good Guys and the GOP as the Bad Guys. The Good Guys always stand up for the little guy, do what is right….no matter the personal consequence. The Bad Guys care more for money and power than for truth and justice. That narrative fit rather nicely for a while.

    Sure, the GOP definitely is the Bad Guys. But the DNC does not wear the White Hat either. They are just as corrupt, just as power hungry, just as unconcerned about helping out America as the GOP is — but rather than cloak their arrogance in a mantle of religion, they put on a mask and pretend to be a part of the liberal cause.

    The thing is? They are no different. They are Republican Light. Republicans who are not trying to prevent gay marriage and legislate every uterus in America. That’s it.

    They are not interested in progress, or anything that will cause them discomfort or make them sacrifice.

    The DNC is not liberal. The DNC is not progressive. The DNC is no longer the party of Franklin Roosevelt.

    They fail to understand, however, that we are. They left us to pursue power and forgot that the Democratic supporters were more interested in justice.

  • trippn
    3 April 2016 at 12:56 pm

    selling out?

    she has been shit the whole time

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