Bernie Sanders has taken aim at the Democratic National Committee for betting heavily on Hillary Clinton early on in 2016. Sanders, who is taking another shot at the presidency, hopes there will not be a repeat this time around.
During a CNN town hall on Monday evening, Sanders, who joined the ever-expanding pool of Democratic challengers to President Donald Trump last week, brought up past grievances against the DNC, effectively accusing it of bias in the run-up to the 2016 vote.
“In 2016, I think I will not shock anybody to suggest that the DNC was not quite even handed,” the Independent senator from Vermont said. He noted that since the scandal-ridden campaign, the Democratic Party has “come a long way” and he “fully” expects “to be treated quite as well as anybody else” in the upcoming primaries.
Despite setting fundraising records and attracting grassroots support, Sanders ultimately lost the Democratic nomination to the establishment-propelled Clinton. It was revealed later that Clinton’s camp effectively ran the DNC, which was supposed to be neutral, prompting Sanders’ donors to accuse it of cheating him out of the nomination and file a class-action lawsuit, alleging that the process was not fair.
Sanders, who ended up endorsing Clinton, noted that he would again back any other Democratic candidate if he’s not lucky enough to get nominated himself.
“Trump has got to be defeated,” he stressed.
The senator, who has been accused of being a fringe candidate with his progressive ideas of “democratic socialism,” parroted the mainstream narrative when it came to Russiagate.
Asked by a community leader how his campaign is prepared to withstand potential Russian meddling and what he thinks about the alleged Russian interference in 2016, Sanders quipped: “Unlike Donald Trump, I have no doubt that what you said, it’s true.”
Sanders went on to warn Moscow against “sabotaging” elections in the US and “around the world.”
He said that his campaign is “hiring” and “spending a lot of money to protect our computers” from the Russians.
“The word has got to go out to Putin and others around the world that cyber warfare, the attempt to destroy American democracy, is a very serious offense which will not be taken lightly.”
Sanders recently drew criticism from Politico for jumping on the bandwagon of the Russia-bashing train by claiming that his campaign shared information with the Clinton camp about suspected troll activity during the 2016 race. Politico argued that the claim was vastly exaggerated, and it was merely a volunteer, not a campaign staffer, who sent a warning to a pro-Clinton PAC.
‘What about the last election that took place in Saudi Arabia?’
When grilled about Venezuela, the burning foreign policy issue on Washington’s agenda, Sanders said that he has never been a fan of military intervention and invoked parallels with Vietnam.
“I am old enough to remember the war in Vietnam. And I was as active as I could be trying to keep the United States from going to war in Iraq,” he said, recalling the long US record of ousting democratically-elected leaders from power on a whim.
“The United States overthrew a democratically elected government in Chili and in Brazil, and in Guatemala and in other countries around the world.”
Interestingly, the Vietnam debacle was cited by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro when he warned the US against entangling itself in the crisis.
When pressed to call Maduro a dictator, Sanders refused, noting that “there are still democratic operations taking place in their country.” He also took a swipe at Washington’s hypocrisy in dealing with Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, calling the latter a “despotic regime.”
“I do find it interesting that Trump is very concerned about what goes on in Venezuela, but what about the last election that took place in Saudi Arabia? Oh, there was not any election in Saudi Arabia. Or, women are treated as third-class citizens,” Sanders said, denouncing the “selective approach” of Trump in ‘spreading democracy’.