While independent Senator and still Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders may have a loyal following among the #BernieOrBust and #NeverHillary crowd, he appears to be losing more and more friends on Capitol Hill.
The Democratic Socialist met with the House Democratic Caucus on Wednesday morning, and it didn’t go smoothly at all. According to Politico, the Vermont lawmaker gave his standard remarks to open the meeting — Wall Street bad, need to get money out of politics, free tuition for everyone, get rid of TPP — but the Congressional members weren’t in the mood for another Bernie stump speech.
During a question and answer session with those in attendance, Bernie was met with derision and outright anger by some, particularly over his Quixotic quest to keep his campaign going and his refusal to endorse presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton. His refusal to give a real answer on when he’ll finally concede — Clinton obtained a majority of delegates a month ago and the last primary was held June 14th — led to some attendees straight up booing Sanders.
What really pissed some off in the room was Bernie’s insistence that elections are not about winning, but about transformation of ideas and parties. It seems some took this as Sanders saying he’s willing to allow Democrats to lose the White House in order to change the party for the better. Also, considering Bernie never ran for public office as a Democrat until this year, one can see why a Democratic lawmaker might take offense to that.
One source who attended the meeting told Politico that Sanders’s ego is getting in the way, and the longer he continues his campaign, the more damage he causes to his so-called political revolution.
“It was frustrating because he’s squandering the movement he built with a self-obsession that was totally on display.
To say, as he did, that the goal is not to win elections but for people to embrace his ideas is disconnected from what we are trying to do here. He had a chance to talk about getting things done and instead talked about prolonging his process.”
Yep. Apparently, Sen. Sanders said that he needed to stick around until the convention so he can assure he gets more things fixed within the party platform. Now, mind you, the platform draft that has been unveiled is already far more progressive than 2012’s, showing that Dems have made quite a few concessions to Bernie and his supporters regarding the direction of the party. To boot, Hillary has also incorporated more and more progressive policy positions into her plank, including free tuition at public universities for lower- and middle-class students.
Frustration among Democrats in Washington with Sanders has been brewing for a while over his refusal to concede. It was reported a few days ago that his Senate colleagues are sick of him using the Secret Service detail afforded to active Presidential candidates. The security is costing taxpayers roughly $40,000 a day, and the agency is already stretched tight with the general election, President Obama and the upcoming conventions.
Keep in mind, the Senate already has a dedicated security force assigned to it. So, Bernie coming into the chamber with Secret Service agents in tow comes across as overkill, especially considering the primary is over and he fell quite a bit short, in both popular votes and pledged delegates, of winning. Add in the fact that his security has cost over a million bucks since Hillary clinched, and you can see why anger is bubbling to the surface.
After his meeting, Sanders told reporters he is simply trying to create a larger voter turnout for Democrats to take back both the Senate and House. As for Hillary Clinton and the FBI recommending no charges regarding her email server, he seemed to wink towards his supporters that anything is still possible, and who knows, maybe we can keep the dream alive.
“I think you’ve heard me say from Day One that there is a process in terms of the investigation regarding Secretary Clinton and the emails,” Sanders said. “Yesterday was an important part of that process. Now we wait to hear from the Justice Department.”
Yeah, that’s the kind of shit that is going to continue to make him extremely unpopular in Democratic circles on Capitol Hill.