For a long time I resisted saying anything negative about Senator Sanders. I truly like the guy and found his run for president inspiring even if at the end of it all i didn’t agree with him or think he was the strongest candidate. But over the last couple weeks, I can finally say it: I am getting sick of Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
The last couple weeks have seen the complete transformation of Sanders from political iconoclast to conventional politician. From an endearing political figure, to an annoying one. From an idealist with a rose-tinted view of the election, to an crass politician.
Sanders started out his campaign as someone unwilling to attack Clinton and instead wanted to look at the issues only. But recently, Sanders has attacked Clinton, and even questioned her qualifications, which seems to be at best an silly mistake and at worst a subtly sexist jab. Though this campaign is by no means the most negative campaign ever, the dramatic change in tenor has, in my mind, been led by a darker shift in the Sanders campaign. By questioning qualifications and even implying Clinton made a deal with the devil, the negative tone is quite the turn off from a campaign that was previously riveting simply because it was a stark contrast to the circus on the Republican side.
Alongside his apparent slide from issue oriented to personal attacks has been the overall impression that he has become a more conventional politician. Sanders no longer seems to be the “tell it like it is” candidate on the Democratic side. Instead his answers seem more and more scripted and his sheen has become more like a standard politician, which was a definite allure that Bernie had for me and for many.
Perhaps most upsetting and perplexing is his flip-flop on super delegates. Sanders has ceded the moral high about the undemocratic nature of super delegates (a stance that I think a large swath of the democratic party could get behind) to a crass political calculus that he could use his campaign to deny Clinton the majority of delegates and cause them to slip over to Sanders side. This seems to rely on him winning the popular vote, a tally he is still behind on in this contest. Even should this tactic work, the abandonment of a principle and embracing of an establishment tactic seems to undercut the authenticity that Sanders brought to his campaign.
I understand that Clinton has her issues, i truly do. But Clinton has a track record of success and has detailed plans for her policies.I also think her chances of surviving a brutal general election are higher because quite frankly I don’t believe that the country is ready for an avoid socialist in the White House. I don’t think Sanders’ bid for the Presidency would survive a series of negative ads about a socialist which would certainly pour out from the right. But the issue here seems to be that Sanders has changed. Sanders, who once inspired us as not being like the other politicians is for some reason, embracing what it means to be a politician. I think that its only a matter of time before more people are turned off by his transformation.