Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has grown more confident with a recent string of wins, leading him to campaign more aggressively heading into Tuesday’s New York primary, and the Hillary Clinton campaign is now worried it will be delayed in pivoting toward the general election.
Sanders has won eight primaries in a row, and has significantly shortened the pledged delegate lead Clinton maintains. Currently, she is ahead by 244 delegates and Sanders has sharpened his tone as he has cut into this lead. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders’ Three Paths To The Democratic Nomination)
Monday, his campaign sent a letter to the Democratic National Committee accusing the Clinton campaign of campaign finance violations. The week prior he repeatedly questioned whether the former secretary of state is qualified to president. The Clinton campaign has taken offense.
Hillary’s campaign manager Robby Mook sent out an email Monday titled “Bernie’s latest attack is irresponsible and poisonous.”
“Over the weekend, they had protesters outside one of our fundraising events — one whose proceeds went not just to Hillary for America, but to the Democratic National Committee and 32 state Democratic Parties — throwing dollar bills at Hillary’s motorcade, as if they were at, shall we say, an adult entertainment venue,” Mook wrote. He added, “this was just days after someone introducing Bernie at a rally called Hillary a ‘Democratic whore.'”
Mook wrote, “but it’s hard to see how anyone — other than Donald Trump and [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] — benefits from this downward spiral of irresponsible and baseless attacks.”
Clinton’s chief strategist Joel Benenson echoed these attacks Tuesday morning. He said, “is [Bernie] going to try to support the party that is in favor of protecting voting rights, women’s rights, or turn himself into someone who will do what he said he wasn’t going do, and be a Ralph Nader and try to destroy the party when it comes to defeating Republicans in November?”
There is a valid reason for the Clinton campaign to worry. A recent poll showed that a quarter of Sanders supporters wouldn’t be willing to support Hillary in the general election. The Vermont senator is not even a member of the Democratic Party, though he does caucus with them as an independent in the Senate. Sanders said that he is running as a Democrat solely for “media attention.”
The longer he stays in the race, the more Clinton is forced to attack a socialist and not her stated enemy — Republicans.
Sanders’ wife Jane has previously predicted a contested convention and Bernie remains firm in his commitment that he will stay in the race all the way until the end. He said Tuesday on WABC Radio, “We’re going to the convention in Philadelphia.”
“What we have shown is that many many millions of people do want a political revolution,” Sanders said. He added, “we’re going to continue to fight until the very last vote is cast.”