Democratic Party officials are very angry at Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as his “revolution” and his followers have little to lose by pursuing a scorched-earth campaign against Hillary Clinton. The unease is growing despite vows from the maverick politician’s camp that violence will not erupt at the Democratic National Convention in July.
Public enemy number one to the Sanders followers is Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman and Florida lawmaker.
Sanders supporters blame Wasserman Schultz for what they see as system rigged against their candidate and say he is being cheated by contests closed to independents and unfair weight to superdelegates.
But the Democrats are quick to point out that Sanders, independent during his 25 years in Washington, has no real loyalty to the party itself, he seems eager to rage against the Democratic establishment.
Sanders has done little to calm his troops after a testy convention Saturday in Nevada. The convention chairwoman said she has received death threats from his supporters. To his credit Sanders has condemned the violence, but said the convention goers had a point about the Democratic Committee that the system is not helping him.
Last week calls and warnings from top Democrats on Capitol Hill have failed to broker peace, and Sanders supporters say the heated discussion is healthy for a party trapped in the past. Sanders himself issued a challenge to party leaders on the heels of his victory in the Oregon primary Tuesday night, saying they must open their doors to his supporters and his ideas or risk becoming irrelevant and allowing the Republican Party to capture frustrated working-class voters.
He has given no indication that he is prepared to tell his supporters to give up the fight and has indicated that he is preparing for a tooth-and-nail battle ahead of California’s June 7 primary.
The feud between Wasserman Schultz and Sanders has been going for some time. Look for it to continue all the way to the convention in Philadelphia.