Sunday, January 31, 2016

Are Sanders Campaign "Mistakes" A Sign Of Desperation ?

(This caricature of Bernie Sanders is by DonkeyHotey.)

Let me preface my remarks by saying that while I support Hillary Clinton currently, I have long been a fan of Senator Bernie Sanders. I think he's one of the two best senators in the U.S. Senate (and I even donated money to his last senate campaign).

But I am very disappointed in some of the actions his presidential campaign has done lately. Out in Nevada, some of his campaign staffers have been posing as Culinary Union members to get access to union members at their work. This is a large and important union in Nevada, and the posers give the impression that the union is endorsing Sanders in the Democratic primary. That is not true, and those actions have angered union officials. Here is the statement put out by the union:

We can confirm multiple reports of Bernie Sanders’ campaign staffers attempting and gaining access to Employee Dining Rooms at Las Vegas Strip properties where over 57,000 members that we represent work.
We are disappointed and offended. It’s completely inappropriate for any campaign to attempt to mislead Culinary Union members, especially at their place of work.  The Culinary Union button that hundreds of thousands of union members have proudly worn to work every day represents 80 years of struggle and fighting for justice. We strongly condemn anyone falsifying their affiliation with the Culinary Union in order to gain access to properties and we will cooperate with casinos and hotels so that this matter is fully resolved.

A case could be made that Sanders was unaware of what his staffers were doing in Nevada. After all, he has been spending most of his time recently in Iowa and New Hampshire. The Nevada staffers could have crossed the line without Sanders being aware of what they were doing.

But some other examples of "dirty tricks" are not so easy to explain away. Like the mailers being sent out to voters with the logos of the League of Conservation Voters and AARP on them -- giving the impression that these two organizations have endorsed his campaign.

Lawyers for the League of Conservation Voters have contacted the Sanders campaign, asking them to cease that action. The League requires permission to be given before anyone uses their logo (and they did not give that permission). And worse, the League has actually endorsed Sanders' opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The AARP was not happy either, and they put out this statement:

In response to the Sanders campaign mailing featuring AARP and the Association’s Take A Stand campaign, AARP does not endorse candidates, have a political action committee (PAC), or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates.
While we have encouraged the presidential candidates to lay out their plans to update Social Security, AARP did not authorize the Sanders campaign to mention AARP or use the AARP logo, and we did not participate in its production.

Then we come to the most egregious lie. The Sanders campaign is running a TV ad in Iowa that claims the Des Moines Register (Iowa's largest newspaper) endorsed Sanders. They did NOT endorse him. In fact, they have endorsed Hillary Clinton.

This is all very disappointing, especially for a candidate that promised to run a clean and above-board campaign. If Sanders did not know about these actions by his campaign, then he should have known. All mailers and TV ads should have been approved by the candidate before being used.

I don't think Sanders is a bad person -- far from it. But these actions have tarnished him a bit in my eyes. And they smack of desperation. It shows the campaign is not nearly as confident as they would have voters think.

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