Bernie's Focus Is On Bernie, Period
Wednesday night Bernie Sanders was interviewed by Rachel Maddow, and she asked him a couple of tough questions he didn't like. One was about his campaign's new strategy to go on a super delegate grab even though Hillary Clinton is way ahead of him, and the other concerned his lack of fundraising for down ticket Democrats.
Back in November of last year, Sanders signed an agreement to fundraise with the Democratic National Committee:
Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign has signed a joint fundraising agreement with the Democratic National Committee, the DNC confirmed to POLITICO.
The move, which comes more than two months after Hillary Clinton's campaign signed such an agreement in August, will allow Sanders' team to raise up to $33,400 for the committee as well as $2,700 for the campaign from individual donors at events.
The candidate rarely headlines fundraising events, and is not close with many big-money Democratic donors, but he has been working to prove his proximity to the party in recent months as he competes with Clinton.
The Vermont senator, who is an Independent but caucuses with Senate Democrats, also recently lent his name to a fundraising letter for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to a campaign adviser, in another indication of his slowly growing ties to the party's infrastructure.
While Bernie has certainly benefitted from his "proximity to the party" and his "ties to the party's infrastructure," so far he hasn't reciprocated on the fundraising part of that agreement. While he's bragged of the millions he's raised, he hasn't lifted a finger to help other Democrats, nor has he given them a dime.
On Wednesday night, when Rachel Maddow asked him about it, this was his response:
"Right now, our job is to, what I'm trying to do is win the Democratic nomination," Sanders said.
He said he is "blown away" by his campaign's small-dollar fundraising.
"Without that type of support, we would not be where we are right now," he said.
Host Rachel Maddow said rival Hillary Clinton has been fundraising for her campaign as well as the Democratic Party. Will the Sanders campaign begin this type of fundraising as well, Maddow asked.
"We'll see," Sanders said. "Right now, our focus is on winning the nomination."
When might that be? After all, there are still seven months before the general election, and so far, despite the fact that he's losing, Bernie has vowed to stay in the race. But even if he weren't losing, Sanders would need the help of every Democrat in Congress we can get if he had any hopes of making any of his grandiose campaign promises a reality. Yet he's done little towards that goal. Instead, he's benefitting from the "Democratic" label to run behind while suing the party after his own campaign stole data from Hillary Clinton's campaign, complaining about the party's debate schedule, made claims that the party has "rigged the system" against him via those same super delegates he now demands support him instead, and yes, raking Clinton and the party over the coals for their big "establishment" fundraisers. All while using these narratives to raise money for his own campaign.
He has especially focused on the "evil establishment fundraiser" bit to raise money for himself. Here he was doing it just days ago at a campaign rally in Wisconsin:
So from his point of view, fundraising for the Democratic Party would put a real dent in his messaging against the party in general, and against Clinton in particular, not to mention it might put a dent in his own fundraising. After all, that's part of his shtick at reeling in those "small donors" to his campaign. He asks for more and more money to "fight the establishment," while chastising the same establishment for their fundraising with millionaires and billionaires. Here he was doing just that again this past Sunday:
Bernie Sanders slammed Hillary Clinton on Sunday for holding a pricey fundraiser hosted by George Clooney and the actor's wife, Amal.
“It is obscene that Secretary Clinton keeps going to big money people to fund her campaign,” Sanders said on CNN's "State of the Union."
This is a Clinton fundraiser that will also raise money for down ticket Democrats whose help he needs. But Bernie tells his supporters this is obscene, and please send ME more money right now!
Few will argue, absent the Republicans, that there is too much money in politics. Both Clinton and Sanders say so, and both have vowed to work to change that. But the reality is, until that happens, Citizens United isn't going away. As much as I or anyone else hates the issue, no one can get elected today without lots of money. To fight the Republicans, we need every Democrat we can get, and we can't put them into office without it, and you can't get it without fundraisers, the ones Sanders is telling his supporters are "obscene." All while telling "hard working families struggling to put food on the table" to send more of their hard earned cash his way. Because that isn't "obscene?"
These are things Sanders doesn't mention to his supporters, and many are somewhat new to politics who may not be aware of them. Better to keep it that way, otherwise they might not keep donating to his campaign, which the math proves has virtually no path to the nomination. Still, Sanders keeps fueling the belief that he can win, which brings in more donations for him, to finance another rally in a big, expensive venue, another chartered flight, and more fundraising emails to keep the cycle going. All while ignoring that his "one man revolution" can't go anywhere alone.
But Sanders says "we'll see" about honoring that Democratic fundraising agreement. "We'll see," maybe some day.
Right now Bernie Sanders' only focus is on Bernie Sanders.