Warren Blames Sanders for Dangerous Harassment

It doesn't look like the Progressive wing is uniting any time soon.

WaPo (“Warren calls out Sanders for ‘organized nastiness’ and ‘bullying’ by his supporters“):

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called out Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for not taking steps to control the “organized nastiness” of some of his supporters during the presidential campaign.

“It’s not just about me,” Warren said in an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday following her decision to suspend her campaign for the Democratic nomination. “I think that’s a real problem with this online bullying and sort of organized nastiness. … I’m talking about some really ugly stuff that went on.”

While politics has become riddled with such behavior, she said it was a particular problem with Sanders’s supporters. “It is. It just is,” she told Maddow.

She made specific reference to what she described as online harassment of union leaders in Nevada ahead of last month’s caucuses because they took issue with Sanders’s Medicare-for-all proposal.

“They didn’t just disagree,” she said. “They actually published the phone numbers and home addresses of the two women, immigrant women, and really put them in fear for their families. … These are tough women who run labor organizing campaigns … and yet said for the first time because of this onslaught of online threats that they felt really under attack, and that wasn’t the first time it happened.”

She described how his supporters referred to her using a snake emoji and called her a “traitor.”

Sanders has denounced the attacks on Warren and her campaign by those claiming to support him, saying he was “aghast” and “disgusted” by them.

That apparently did not satisfy Warren, who said that Sanders and all candidates “are responsible for the people who claim to be” supporters “and do really threatening and dangerous things,”

She said she had a conversation with Sanders about it. “It was short,” she said, “but yeah, we talked about it. I think it’s a real problem.”

“We need to reckon with this in our political discourse,” said Warren, adding that what’s needed is “an understanding that nobody puts somebody’s family at risk or puts you at risk.”

This sentiment is real and legitimate and it’s going to make it very hard, indeed, for Warren and her supporters, particularly women, to rally around Bernie Sanders.

Now—before the next round of voting on Tuesday—would be the most powerful time for her to endorse him. The fact that she not only isn’t doing that but is continuing to attack is telling.

FILED UNDER: Bernie Sanders, Campaign 2020, Elizabeth Warren, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    Warren will endorse Biden.

    Bernie is done. I suspect Warren’s just waiting for that fact to sink in for his fans, which may happen as early as Tuesday and if not then certainly by the 17th.

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  2. charon says:

    Warren dropping out does not help Bernie as roughly half her voters will go to Biden.

    BernieBros massive sense of entitlement causes them to fantasize that which is not there.

    I would not be surprised if Warren holds off endorsing anyone. Joe does not need her help, and endorsing Joe would antagonize the bros.

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  3. MarkedMan says:

    I remember when Kamela Harris was rising in the polls a particularly sleazy attack blanketed the blogosphere all at once. Basically that she got her start in politics by giving blow jobs to a more powerful politician. It had the smell and feel of a concentrated effort and I noticed that two Bernie supporters in the commentariat here posted roughly the same thing at the same time. Not proof but certainly reason for suspicion that this originated with fairly influential Bernie people, like his staff. I would be surprised if it wasnt Bernie directly as even he must have mastered the art of “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest” by now

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  4. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @charon: I think that the best thing for her is to figure out who will promise to let her do what needs to be done to give the CFPB teeth, and fulfill her consumer protection legacy.

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  5. al Ameda says:

    Anecdotal Information:
    My 2 Millenial daughters and my wife supported Warren, and I have close friends who supported Warren too, and in post Super Tuesday conversations all of them now have a mild animus and some bad feelings toward Sanders. It’s still early so maybe those feelings will dissipate, but …..

    I thought that Warren made a serious strategic mistake in not going after Bernie, and not defining herself an alternative to Bernie.

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  6. Kylopod says:

    @charon:

    Warren dropping out does not help Bernie as roughly half her voters will go to Biden.

    I talked to my parents the other day. They were both supporting Warren before she dropped out. Now my dad says he’ll vote for Biden, my mom says she’s backing Bernie. Make of that what you will.

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  7. charon says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    Bernie promises have no value because he is done, stick a fork in him.

    Maybe if Joe offers her something.

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  8. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    In a very mild defense of Sanders, we know that Russia has been deliberately trying to cause chaos and resentment. We also know that some of the sleazy Bernie Bros are actual (disgusting) Americans, but at least some of them might not be. Especially when you start seeing stories like the Kamala Harris one appear all over the place very quickly, I have to wonder if it’s actually trouble-making from foreign parties.

    Sanders big mistake as far as I’m concerned is that while he has denounced some of the attacks, it’s not a main focus of his. He just doesn’t seem to take it that seriously. It’s past the point where he should have a section in every speech reminding his supporters that the nastiness directed at the female D candidates is not acceptable and he doesn’t want the support of people who do that. Instead when challenged he says (paraphrasing) “Of course I condemn it but I can’t control what all my supporters do on the Internet.” Which is one of those true but pointless statements when you aren’t regularly fighting to get them to stop.

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  9. JR says:

    @Michael Reynolds: She will wait till the last minute like she did with Clinton IMO.

  10. Jen says:

    Some of his supporters are just vile. I mean just read some of this/listen to it. Blech.

    @MarkedMan: Yes, I remember that. What struck me was that I was seeing the same “Heels-up Harris” jokes from Sanders supporters and Trump supporters. Misogyny is alive and well.

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  11. Scott F. says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    I agree. Warren is first and foremost a pragmatist. She’ll extract something for her endorsement or she won’t give one at all.

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  12. Dave Schuler says:

    That apparently did not satisfy Warren, who said that Sanders and all candidates “are responsible for the people who claim to be” supporters “and do really threatening and dangerous things,”

    I’m trying to figure out how that could be enforced.

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  13. MarkedMan says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: You are correct about the possibility of Russian or Trumpian trolling. But one of the reasons I don’t immediately go there is that when I’ve heard Sander’s aides and campaign officials being interviewed, especially the young ones, their anger and contempt really comes through as well as their constant state of victimhood. “Every Democratic Congress person is a lying corrupt hack, no better than the Republicans, and the fact that they won’t unconditionally support Bernie and admit their errors and voluntarily go into the re-education camp is all the proof anyone should need”

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  14. James Joyner says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    I’m trying to figure out how that could be enforced.

    That was my view for a while. But I’ve come around to Pete Buttigieg’s point of view: candidates attract supporters reflective of themselves. There’s a reason Sanders and Trump have so many obnoxious fans on Twitter in ways that Warren and, say, McCain didn’t. Bullies attract bullies. Jerks attract jerks.

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  15. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @MarkedMan: Oh sure. I’ve commented here before that one thing Bernie’s and Trump’s supporters share is a sense of grievance and victim-hood. That’s partially why I said I was offering only a “mild” defense 🙂

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  16. CSK says:

    @James Joyner:
    And Trump, being a bully as well as a jerk, attracts bullies and jerks.

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  17. EddieInCA says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    I’m trying to figure out how that could be enforced.

    Voting them out?

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  18. Kathy says:

    @Scott F.:

    But paying back Bernie by endorsing Biden extracts something from Bernie, and puts others on notice not to cross her.

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  19. rachel says:

    @CSK: Bullies, jerks and ignoramuses.

  20. charon says:

    @MarkedMan:

    “Every Democratic Congress person is a lying corrupt hack, no better than the Republicans, and the fact that they won’t unconditionally support Bernie and admit their errors and voluntarily go into the re-education camp is all the proof anyone should need”

    This is why Bernie will continue his campaign after it becomes more obvious he can not win. He is out to attack the “Democratic Establishment” for his revolution, that, and also to please his supporters.

    It’s why he kept up his campaign and attacking HRC in 2016, I hold this putz as accountable as James Comey for Trump being President.

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  21. Lounsbury says:

    @James Joyner: Yes I think that is right.