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Hillary Blames Bernie for ‘Crooked Hillary’ Meme

Hillary Clinton has been making the rounds lately to promote her latest book which attempts to explain, from her point of view, what happened during the 2016 presidential election. While she has a few kind words to say about Bernie Sanders, the sentiment is almost entirely negative.

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The Hill reports on how Hillary blames Bernie for one of Donald Trump’s most frequently-repeated attacks:

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is blaming Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for doing “lasting damage” to her campaign and of “paving the way” for President Trump’s attack against her as “Crooked Hillary.”

According to excerpts of Clinton’s new campaign tell-all book, “What Happened,” Clinton claims that she wanted to fight back against Sanders’s characterization of her as beholden to corporate influence but that former President Obama and others advised her to stay quiet.

“Throughout the primaries, every time I wanted to hit back against Bernie’s attacks, I was told to restrain myself,” Clinton writes. “Noting that his plans didn’t add up, that they would inevitably mean raising taxes on middle-class families, or that they were little more than a pipe-dream — all of this could be used to reinforce his argument that I wasn’t a true progressive. My team kept reminding me that we didn’t want to alienate Bernie’s supporters. President Obama urged me to grit my teeth and lay off Bernie as much as I could. I felt like I was in a straitjacket.” [Emphasis added]

Even President Obama does not make it out unscathed, as the last sentence shows. The conventional wisdom on the Democratic side was that Hillary was at risk of going too hard against Bernie, which would somehow create a backlash against her, perhaps costing her the nomination. As someone who observed the entire 2016 cycle from beginning to end, it was evident that Hillary was holding back, and came across at times of being fearful that hitting Bernie hard would be like opening a can of worms she couldn’t contain.

In the remaining months of the campaign, Donald Trump wasted no opportunities to point out that Bernie Sanders often accused Hillary of being in the pocket of Wall Street, and perhaps corrupt in other ways. That genuinely could have been seriously damaging to her campaign since it appeared both the “outsiders” were at least in agreement that the “insider” was bad news.

Rather than blame Sanders directly, I think the tiny Democratic primary field in 2016 probably had more to do with the grievances between Hillary and Bernie than the fact that they were the only ones left. It’s arguable that if there was a larger field to begin with, perhaps Sanders wouldn’t have been able to grab a good chunk of primary voters. Then again, with Hillary’s impending 2016 candidacy, was it ever likely that any major names wanted to risk losing to the Clinton machine? Bernie came out of nowhere to be the thorn in her side, and I imagine that today there is very little love lost between both camps.

Nate Ashworth: Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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  • The thirst for change that brought about dramatic elections in 2006, 2008, and 2010 was not quenched by Obama--nor by the TeaParty. That's what led to the dramatic election in 2016. So Bernie might well have won, especially against Trump. Hillary had no "message"--nothing to vote for.

    Trouble is, the Dems had a winning hand going in. All they had to do is not screw up. Yet, Hillary did. After losing primaries in both Michigan and Wisconsin, and barely winning Pennsylvania, she took those critical states for granted in the general election. Instead, she was campaigning in places like Texas and Utah, hoping for an overwhelming landslide.

    Even with Comey popping in at the worst times, Hillary could have won if she had just focused on her "firewall." She has no one to blame but herself.

    • Exactly. She has no one to blame but herself. She didn't go to rallies that she should have. The voters didn't want TO see her stand ins.

      Also Bernie may have won. At least the election would have been much closer.

  • President Obama urged me to grit my teeth and lay off Bernie as much as I could. I felt like I was in a straitjacket.” ?

    What does the Wicked Witch mean, like I was in a straitjacket? I thought aside from being mentally unstable she is also a phony, lying, elitist, back stabbing, thieving POS.? Isn't a straitjacket or at least a prison jumpsuit her normal attire??

    And she is worried about being called CROOKED HILLARY. I guess sj e never learned to prioritize.?

  • The name calling and crude jeers of Trump and his supporters have captured the style of the Bleacher Creatures that have their own section at Yankee Stadium. Trump followers have a perpetual attitude that the world has left them behind so they fight, condemn, and vilify those that work and strive for decency. The ten commandments are an unknown in their words and actions.