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Is Bernie Sanders distancing himself from ‘Russiagate’?

By blaming Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party rather than the Russians for Donald Trump's victory Bernie Sanders casts doubt on Russiagate.

Senator Bernie Sanders, speaking at a rally in Boston, launched a stinging attack on the Democratic Party’s leadership, and by implication on Hillary Clinton.

Bernie Sanders’s point is that it was Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party leadership who lost the Presidential election rather than Donald Trump who won it.

Bernie Sanders laid in especially hard against the attacks Hillary Clinton, some Democrats, and much of the neoliberal commentariat, have made against US voters who voted for Donald Trump instead of Hillary Clinton

Some people think the people who voted for Trump are racists and sexists and homophobes and deplorable folks. I don’t agree, because I’ve been there…..Let me tell you something else some of you might not agree with.  It wasn’t that Donald Trump won the election, it was that the Democratic party lost the election…

We need a Democratic party that is not a party of the liberal elite but of the working class of this country, we need a party that is a grassroots party, where candidates are talking to working people not spending their time raising money for the wealthy and the powerful.

And when we do that, when we transform the Democratic party, we transform America

Outside the Democratic Party establishment such words by now are now so commonplace that they have become banal.  Compare for example what what Sanders has just said in Boston to what I wrote for The Duran just days after the election on 12th November 2016

In the vast ocean of words which have been written about the US Presidential election it is important to hold on to one single fact: Donald Trump won primarily because Hillary Clinton lost…..

A …….pertinent question is how the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt came to nominate someone like Hillary Clinton as its candidate for President.  The party of the common man and woman, the party that once claimed to represent the working people of America, went into this election with a charmless, arrogant, out of touch, widely mistrusted, deeply unpopular and visibly corrupt elitist as its candidate.

The short answer is that the Democratic Party has long been captured by a neoliberal/neocon elite focused on grandiose geopolitical adventures abroad and self-enrichment at home, of which Hillary Clinton was both the standard bearer and the embodiment.  The result is that all alternatives to Hillary Clinton were systematically blocked out, so that she was in the end the candidate, creating the conditions that made it possible for Trump to win.

Joe Lauria has written for The Duran how Bernie Sanders might have put up a serious challenge for the Presidency if he had had the courage and the confidence to defy the Democratic Party machine by standing as an independent.  I would add that every single opinion poll that I have seen also shows that if Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic Party’s candidate instead of Hillary Clinton, he would have won the election by a landslide.

The lesson of this election is that there is an America that is prepared to vote for a left wing candidate, but that it is increasingly refusing to vote for a neoliberal/neocon Democratic party elitist machine candidate.  Instead, if denied the option of a left wing candidate who shows some genuine concern and understanding for its needs, it will consider voting for someone like Trump, who at least repudiates the elite it despises, even if he does it from the right.

However a more pertinent point is that Bernie Sanders’s comments appear to distance him from the Democratic Party’s current orthodoxy: that Hillary Clinton lost the election because of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.  By saying it was the Hillary Clinton-led Democratic Party which lost the election because of the way it had become the party of the liberal elite rather than the working class Bernie Sanders if only by implication is denying the entire ‘Russiagate’ narrative that it was because of the Russians that Hillary Clinton lost it.

Obviously Sanders has his own axe to grind with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party establishment, who rigged the Democratic Party’s nomination process against him.  However the fact that Bernie Sanders – who as a member of the Senate is well-informed about what is going on behind the scenes in Washington – is publicly contradicting the Democratic Party’s ‘Russiagate’ orthodoxy is a further sign that the momentum behind the scandal is flagging, and that it probably has only a few more weeks left to run.

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Alexander Mercouris
Editor-in-Chief atThe Duran.

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