Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"What leadership means is not simply following the majority," Sanders said. (Photo: AP)

Seizing on Establishment Panic, Sanders Sharpens Contrast with Clinton

'It is great to be against the war after you vote for the war. It is great to be for gay rights after you insult the entire gay community by supporting DOMA.'

Nadia Prupis, staff writer

With just a few days to go until the Iowa caucus, Bernie Sanders spoke to an evening rally in Burlington, Iowa on Thursday and made some of his boldest statements yet criticizing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton's political track record and Wall Street ties.

Sanders, who has faced an escalation of establishment ire in recent weeks, made a sharp contrast between his principles and his rival's—such as his early and consistent opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Keystone XL pipeline, the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton.

"Check the record, find out where my opponent was on all of these issues," Sanders said. "It is great to be against the war after you vote for the war. It is great to be for gay rights after you insult the entire gay community by supporting DOMA."

In recent months, Clinton has come out against the TPP and the Keystone XL pipeline, despite her previous support for both projects. Sanders depicted her evolution as calculated—responding to public opinion rather than taking a principled stance.

"It's great to finally, kicking and screaming, come out against the TPP, but where were you on all of the other trade agreements?" he said. "It is great to come out against the Keystone pipeline after supporting the Keystone pipeline."

"So what all of this is about—what it's about—is that what leadership means is not simply following the majority. It means having the guts in certain moments to say, you know what? I don't care what the Washington Post editorial board has to say," Sanders continued, referring to the Post's controversial critique of his campaign on Wednesday. "And I don't care what Fox television may be saying. What's right is right and what's wrong is wrong."

As the days count down, recent polling indicates that Sanders has a four-point advantage among likely caucus-goers and continues to gain public favor nationally. In fact, as Brent Budowsky writes for The Hill, it is Sanders' growing popularity that seems to have ignited the corporate backlash against him—exposing the establishment's back-door "bedlam."

"Virtually the entire Washington and Wall Street establishments are now in a state of panic about the possibility of a [Sanders] victory in the Iowa Democratic caucus next Monday," Budowsky writes. "What the insider Washington Democratic establishment fails to understand is that the issues Sanders raises have great appeal to the broad nation."

In a speech earlier in the week, Sanders criticized Clinton for attending a private fundraiser with an investment firm in Philadelphia, while he stayed put with the voters. "Frankly," he told a crowd in Mason City, "I would rather be here with you."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

Summit Participants Embrace 'Vaccine Internationalism' to End Pandemic

"Our goal is simple: to end the pandemic as quickly as possible by securing Covid-19 vaccines for all," says the coordinator of Progressive International's four-day virtual summit.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


As Iran Elects New President, Experts Urge Biden to Rejoin Nuclear Deal, Lift Sanctions

"The Biden administration must remain resolute and seek a break from the disastrous conditions that helped contribute to this result."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


UN General Assembly Condemns Myanmar Junta Violence, Urges Arms Embargo

Member nations voted 119-1 in favor of the resolution, which also calls for a return to the country's fragile democracy.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


Dems Introduce Abolition Amendment to Scrap Constitution's 'Slavery Clause'

"The loophole in our Constitution's ban on slavery not only allowed slavery to continue, but launched an era of discrimination and mass incarceration that continues to this day," said Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Julia Conley, staff writer ·


'Surreal' and 'Distressing': Climate Experts' Predictions Come True With US Heatwave

"The current heatwave and drought leave no doubt, we are living the dangerous effects of the climate crisis."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·