2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is all bark and no bite.
The Vermont senator, 78, has been gaining significant ground lately – support that has landed him in the crosshairs of other candidates, as well as former First Lady Hillary Clinton.
But just like the 2016 election, the cantankerous, democratic socialist is proving he doesn’t have the chutzpah to win the party’s nomination – never mind the White House.
Four years ago Sanders was building a grassroots, anti-establishment, largely millennial movement of supporter’s who loathed then frontrunner Clinton. Closing the gap in the polls, an ideal opportunity presented itself when a question on Clinton’s e-mail controversy was put to him at a CNN debate.
At the time GOP candidate Donald Trump was castigating Clinton for using a private email server for official use during her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State – which critics argued violated federal law.
However, instead of turning the screw, Sanders gave Clinton a pass.
“The American people are sick and tired of hearing about, your damn emails,” he bemoaned. A beaming Clinton turned to Sanders, shook his hand and thanked him.
Over the next few weeks, Clinton re-established her lead over Sanders who, in fairness, rallied again, but as WikiLeaks revealed, forces within the Democratic National Committee (DNC) were tipping the scales in favor of Clinton and she ultimately clinched the nomination. Instead of calling out the shenanigans, anti-establishment Sanders went on to endorse the establishment candidate.
Fast forward to this campaign and Sanders is still rolling over.
Last week, Sanders cowered in the wake of a sleuth of attacks from Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden – refusing to take the gloves off against fellow Democrats.
In an interview published by the Hollywood Reporter, Clinton, 72, blasted Sanders as “a career politician,” saying she felt “so bad” that “people got sucked into” him.
“He was in Congress for years,” she said.
“He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done.”
A remarkable attack from a fellow Democratic, and someone without any skin in the game.
Yet, it was Sanders doing the apologizing.
“I am sorry for what Secretary Clinton had to say. I know she said that nobody likes me, right? I mean, this is not the kind of rhetoric that we need right now.”
Sanders was also apologizing for one of his surrogates penning a Guardian Op-Ed last Monday describing Biden as having “a big corruption problem.”
Sanders could have easily distanced himself from the piece and let Biden’s problem fester. After all, Biden is his main rival and the heat encircling Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine when he was vice-president is getting hotter by the day. What’s more, Rudy Giuliani has been adding more fuel to the charges.
Instead, Sanders apologized unconditionally to Biden.
“It is absolutely not my view that Joe is corrupt in any way,” Sanders said. “And I’m sorry that that op-ed appeared.”
Biden, 77, responded by accepting the apology – then later released a campaign ad attacking Sanders.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, 70, also got in on the action claiming Sanders said that a woman could not be elected president. Sanders denied the claim.
Moments after Iowa’s presidential debate concluded last, Warren confronted Sanders and, refusing to shake his hand, said he had called her a liar on national television – the uncomfortable exchange was caught on a “hot mic.”
But Sanders cowered and walked away.
One would think that Sanders would counter with Warren’s false claims of Native American ancestry. After all, they are both courting the party’s progressive wing.
If Sanders can’t defend himself from attacks within his own party, what chance would he ever have of defeating Donald Trump?
Maybe the bern is just too hot for Bernie.