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Bernie Sanders’s aides just threw him under the bus to Politico

Over at Politico, Edward-Isaac Dovere and Gabriel Debenedetti have a dishy look inside the last days of the Bernie Sanders campaign. You should read it in full (seriously, go do that right now). The main takeaway is that Sanders's aides know they've lost; the candidate doesn't.

The secondary takeaway: The aides are throwing the candidate under the bus. Here, for instance, is the first paragraph:

There’s no strategist pulling the strings, and no collection of burn-it-all-down aides egging him on. At the heart of the rage against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, the campaign aides closest to him say, is Bernie Sanders.

Oof. You know things aren't going well when campaign staffers are trying to minimize perceptions of their influence with the candidate. This leaked email exchange about Sanders's combative response after the Nevada Democratic Convention is particularly brutal:

"I don’t know who advised him that this was the right route to take, but we are now actively destroying what Bernie worked so hard to build over the last year just to pick up two fucking delegates in a state he lost," rapid response director Mike Casca complained to Weaver in an internal campaign email obtained by POLITICO.

"Thank you for your views. I’ll relay them to the senator, as he is driving this train," Weaver wrote back.

Someone handed those emails over to reporters, and the reason they handed them over to reporters was to show that the Nevada statement wasn't the fault of campaign manager Jeff Weaver or rapid response director Mike Casca.

The characterizations of Sanders's state of mind aren't particularly flattering either. Aides portray him as angry, hurt, and actively deluding himself about both the reasons he's losing and the possibility he may still win:

Sanders is himself filled with resentment, on edge, feeling like he gets no respect -- all while holding on in his head to the enticing but remote chance that Clinton may be indicted before the convention.

Dovere and Debenedetti get a fair amount of detail on the concessions Sanders wants from the Clinton campaign, and the focus seems to be on revenge rather than policy:

Campaign aides say that whatever else happens, Sanders wants former Congressman Barney Frank and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy out of their spots as co-chairs of the convention rules committee. It’s become a priority fight for him.

Sanders is said to be so furious with longtime Senate ally Sherrod Brown, who endorsed Clinton, "that he’d be ready to nix Brown as an acceptable VP choice, if Clinton ever asked his advice on who’d be a good progressive champion."

It's worth being sympathetic here. No campaign looks good in its dying days, and the end of a long, exhausting primary will leave any candidate angry, emotional, and focused on slights and thin reeds of hope. My guess is the Sanders who ultimately ends this campaign will prove much more circumspect than the Sanders who appears in this article.

Even so, the Sanders who appears in this article seems to be unnerving even his top aides, and any campaign that leaked this much to Politico is not in a functional place.

There's much more in the whole piece. Read it in full.


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