The reason Bernie Sanders pointedly refuses to condemn his supporters for throwing chairs and making death threats against Democrat officials at and after the party’s Nevada convention is because he doesn’t actually object to their violent behavior.
Sanders blew off pressure from Democrat leaders to disavow ugly tactics by his supporters at the event Saturday evening, calling the complaints “nonsense” and arguing that his supporters were not treated with "fairness and respect."
Remember that Sanders is seeking the presidential nomination from a party that officially endorsed the pro-cop-killing Black Lives Matter movement and whose leaders swooned over the even more violent Occupy Wall Street movement. As the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.. and Baltimore showed the nation, these people believe that rioting and looting are legitimate forms of political activism.
The pro-violence radicalism among Sanders supporters comes straight from the top. The Vermont senator vocally supports unrepentant Marxist terrorist Oscar López Rivera whom he describes as “one of the longest-serving political prisoners in history — 34 years, longer than Nelson Mandela.”
Sanders told a town hall meeting in Puerto Rico that if Obama doesn’t release López Rivera, “I will pardon him” if elected president.
Here is what the longtime prisoner did:
“López Rivera conspired to transport explosives with intent to destroy federal government property and committed other related crimes — or that the [Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional Puertorriqueña terrorist group] was deemed responsible for a reign of terror that killed six people and injured 130 others in at least 114 bombings. They includes the 1975 bombing of historic Fraunces Tavern in the city’s Financial District, which left four people dead and wounded more than 50 others, and a New Year’s Eve 1982 bombing at Police Headquarters that maimed three NYPD cops who tried to defuse the explosives.
“On January 24, 1975, a ten-pound dynamite bomb planted by the FALN at Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan exploded, killing his father, 33-year-old Frank Connor. In 2011, Joe Connor attended a parole hearing for López Rivera in Terre Haute, Indiana. He and the other survivors of the FALN’s murder spree offered López Rivera ‘multiple opportunities’ to express remorse. He rebuffed all of them.”
That Sanders would support granting clemency to such a man tends to undermine his ad nauseam-repeated claim to be a “democratic socialist.” Ideologically, Sanders is a communist, though he never joined the party. Of course he is comfortable standing with a violent leftist revolutionary who waged war against the United States.
And like Barack Obama, Sanders pals around with terrorists and their backers. In March he met with the Florida chapter of the Muslim terrorist-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Sanders strongly supports the Apollo Alliance, a left-wing enviro-pork barrel group that wants the government to take over America's energy industry and one of whose leaders is Weather Underground terrorist Jeff Jones. Sanders honeymooned in the Soviet Union and is a fan of Fidel Castro and Daniel Ortega.
So when Sanders denounces violence, don’t be impressed: it is a tactic. Nothing more, nothing less.
Distancing himself from his unhinged followers would be both disingenuous and absurd of Sanders, reminiscent of Barack Obama’s half-hearted shrug after the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s crazed anti-American rants became headline news. “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community,” Obama said on the campaign trail in 2008 of his deranged pastor of 20 years.
Sanders is following the Saul Alinsky playbook. As an aide to the Rules for Radicals author wrote, while Alinsky was shying away from praising violence in public and sounding “the trumpet blast for democracy,” in private “he would say that violence has its uses.” Saying you support politically motivated violence implies you don’t support democracy – so Bernie lies.
Note that he refused to apologize for – or even criticize – the actions of his supporters at the state convention. Like many leftist radicals, Sanders is skilled at bouncing between studied reverence for nonviolent action and refusing to condemn violent left-wing activism, which is a slippery way of endorsing violent left-wing activism. He offered a milquetoast, perfunctory, blanket condemnation of violence in general, the kind of thing any competent left-wing politician could do sleepwalking.
"Our campaign of course believes in non-violent change and it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals," Sanders said of the mostly peaceful convention.
He then rubbed salt in the wounds, complaining in detail about the perceived railroading his side experienced at the convention. "The Democratic leadership used its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place," Sanders said.
Lying about violence comes naturally to left-wingers.
Although right-wing political violence doesn’t take place a lot in modern American politics, Sanders and the media want Americans to believe otherwise. This helps to explain why they falsely accused Tea Party groups of violence (and racism and other undesirable isms) during the fight over Obamacare. The right-wing populism spurred by Obama’s un-American policies presents an existential threat to the Left.
Sanders accuses Donald Trump’s supporters of unprovoked physical aggression against his supporters, while at the same time denying that he is encouraging his supporters to rough up Trump rally attendees.
Of course Sanders’ denials, however passionate at times, ring hollow. It is a longstanding practice of the Left to accuse its enemies of its own antisocial misdeeds in order to avoid accountability. (This is not to excuse or make light of the relatively few incidents in which Trump supporters have thrown punches at Sanders-supporting protesters, but for the most part fans of The Donald were trying to deal with obnoxious protesters who were disrupting Trump rallies. Excessive enthusiasm in cracking down on the rude is not the same as trying to prevent free speech and political expression.)
On the weekend, Sanders’ backers acted out their unhappiness with Nevada’s byzantine delegate-selection process. They became abusive and physically aggressive as they tried to silence speakers like Hillary Clinton surrogate Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) with loud boos and profanities. The Nevada Democratic Party went as far as writing the Democratic National Committee accusing Sanders supporters of having a "penchant for extra-parliamentary behavior — indeed, actual violence — in place of democratic conduct in a convention setting."
According to one news report:
“Democratic officials released text messages and voicemails with threats against the Nevada Democratic Party chairwoman Roberta Lange. They included such comments as ‘Hey bitch, loved how you broke the system, we know where you live, where you work, where you eat, where your kids go to school ... You made a bad choice, prepare for hell, calls won't stop.’ Another one said, ’You're fired bitch, #FeelTheBern, speak or else, corrupt bitch, answer the phone you pussy.’"
Alarmed at the prospect of internecine violence, party elites put the heat on Sanders to denounce the obnoxious behavior forcefully.
"There is no excuse for what happened in Nevada, and it is incumbent upon all of us in positions of leadership to speak out," said Clinton marionette Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman who heads the DNC.
“I grew up in Brooklyn. I’m not afraid of bullies,” Boxer said at the convention. “We need civility in the Democratic Party,” she said with a straight face. “Civility."
Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY's List, a pro-Clinton PAC, added, "These disgraceful attacks are straight out of the Donald Trump playbook, and Bernie Sanders is the only person who can put a stop to them. Sanders needs to both forcefully denounce and apologize for his supporters' unacceptable behavior — not walk away."
When left-wingers complain about the violent tactics other left-wingers use against them you just know something big is afoot.
It could be that the Democratic Party is just as fragmented, or even more bitterly divided, than the Republican Party.
Bernie Sanders is fine with that.