Just when it appeared that Bernie Sanders realized it would be impossible for him to overtake Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, the democratic socialist shifted gears over the weekend and vowed to force an open convention in Philadelphia this summer.
How? By convincing “super” delegates that he would be the stronger candidate in the general election. But Clinton virtually slammed the door on Sanders’ fantasy by winning four out of five key primaries in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States last week.
Short of a miracle, Sanders has no chance of overtaking Clinton for the nomination. However, the champion of the party’s liberal wing can do serious damage to Clinton’s prospects against Trump in the general election by continuing to portray her as a weak, badly flawed candidate sorely lacking in judgement, as he has done throughout the campaign.
But as the race tightened and both sides intensified their attacks, Sanders contended that Clinton’s 2002 Senate vote to support the invasion of Iraq, her controversial stewardship of the State Department, her long-standing support of international trade agreements that cost Americans jobs and the millions of dollars she accepted in speaking fees and campaign contributions from Wall Street all “disqualified” her from running for president.
Just last week, Sanders’s wife, Jane, only half-jokingly suggested in a cable TV interview that it would be a good thing for her husband’s campaign if the FBI soon completed its investigation of Clinton’s alleged mishandling of sensitive email during her four years as secretary of state. “I mean, it would be nice if the FBI moved it along,” she told the Fox Business Network.
Not unexpectedly, Donald Trump invoked Sanders’ sharp criticisms of Clinton in justifying his attacks on her alleged incompetence.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday yesterday, Trump was asked whether he had been overly dismissive in saying that Clinton wouldn’t get more than 5 percent of the vote if she were a man. The GOP frontrunner replied, “Well, Bernie Sanders said a lot worse than that. He said that she almost shouldn’t be allowed to run, that she’s not qualified to run and she’s not capable. I mean, Bernie Sanders, what he said was a lot worse than what I said and I’m going to use that. We have that teed up.”
Trump suggested that Sanders had handed his campaign plenty of attack material and sound bites to use against Clinton. Here are six strong contenders for Trump’s fall campaign offensive:
1. On whether she is qualified to run as the party’s nominee:
"I don't believe that she is qualified if she is, through her super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special-interest funds,"
“I don't think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in Iraq. I don't think you are qualified if you've supported virtually every disastrous trade agreement, which has cost us millions of decent-paying jobs."
“When you voted for trade agreements that cost millions of Americans decent paying jobs, and the American people might have to wonder about your qualifications.”
“Are you qualified to be president of the United States when you’re raising millions of dollars from Wall Street whose greed and recklessness helped destroy our economy?”
2. On Clinton’s lack of judgement by supporting the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2002:
“Let’s talk about judgment. And let us talk about the worst foreign policy blunder in the modern history of this country. I led the opposition to that war. Secretary Clinton voted for it. Let’s talk about judgment.”
3. On the woeful consequences of Clinton’s geopolitical stances—including Libya--while she served as secretary of state:
“Regime change often has unintended consequences. In Iraq and in Libya right now where ISIS has a very dangerous foothold. And I think if you studied the whole history of American involvement in regime change, you see that quite often.”
4. On Clinton’s claim that she was tough and “called out” Wall Street executives after the financial crisis:
“Secretary Clinton called them out! My goodness, they must have been really crushed by this. And was that before or after you received huge sums of money by giving speaking engagements? They must have been very, very upset by what you did.”
5. On taking big bucks from the banks for two speeches:
Well, let me respond. Secretary Clinton, you just heard her, [said] everybody else does it, she’ll do it. I will do it. I am going to release all of the transcripts of the speeches that I gave on Wall Street behind closed doors. Not for $225,000, not for $2,000, not for two cents. There were no speeches.
6. On why he is the stronger Democratic candidate to take on Trump and super delegates must abandon Clinton for him:
“They’re going to have to go into their hearts, and they are going to have to ask, do they want the second strongest candidate to run against Trump or do they want the strongest candidate?”