The Hill: Liberal Media Turns on Sanders

Bernie Sanders
The Associated Press

Niall Stanage writes in The Hill:

Bernie Sanders is suddenly facing a barrage of criticism from liberal commentators.

As the fallout from last weekend’s Nevada Democratic convention spreads, sharply critical pieces about the White House hopeful and his campaign have appeared in progressive outlets such as Mother Jones, Talking Points Memo and Daily Kos within the past 48 hours.

The Sanders campaign has also taken hits from progressive CNN contributor Sally Kohn, who endorsed the Vermont senator from the stage at a massive rally in New York City just before the Empire State’s April primary.

Kohn wrote an article published Wednesday for Time magazine that was headlined, “I felt the Bern but the Bros are extinguishing the flames.”

The fact that the criticism is coming from left-leaning sources makes it more difficult for Sanders supporters to rebut it.

Meanwhile, Democrats outside Sanders’s orbit argue the jabs show that even influential writers on the left — who tend to take more progressive positions than Democratic leaders in Washington — are concluding that the senator is hurting the party.

“Progressive thought-leaders were early validators for Bernie Sanders’s candidacy, helping him define himself as a credible candidate for president,” said Democratic strategist Evan Stavisky.

“However, as it becomes clear to anyone who can do basic math that Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee … people who live in the real world see that the time has come for Bernie Sanders to say he did the best he could. Ultimately the math simply isn’t there for it to be viable.”

Some of the flak Sanders has faced has been unusually personal in nature, which is particularly striking given the leftward lean of many of the outlets involved.

“The one thing I do keep wondering about is what happened to Bernie Sanders,” writer Kevin Drum opined in Mother Jones. “Before this campaign, he was a gadfly, he was a critic of the system, and he was a man of strong principles. He still is, but he’s also obviously very, very bitter. I wonder if all this was worth it for him?”

At Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall said he had been wrong to think that the “key driver of toxicity in the Democratic primary race” had been Sanders’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver. Instead, he wrote, “it all comes from the very top” — from Sanders himself.

Criticism of the tone of the 74-year-old Independent’s campaign has been building for some time. Clinton’s large lead in delegates, and the shrinking number of contests left, have led some to suggest that Sanders’s quest is a quixotic one that is only likely to hurt the all-but-certain nominee.

But those fears became newly urgent after Saturday’s chaotic convention in Nevada.

Read the rest here.