In a recent exchange, Greenpeace activist Eva Resnick-Day thanked Clinton for tackling climate change then asked her to forgo fossil fuel funding, earning an odd response: “I have only taken money from employees of the oil and gas industry. I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me.” Later on Meet the Press Clinton said she voted against Dick Cheney’s 2005 energy bill (which she slammed candidate Obama for although it gave a huge boost to renewables.) She also added she “feels sorry for young people who don’t do their own research,” echoing earlier patronizing statements by her supporters. On Monday, she said in an interview with Time Warner Cable News, “I couldn’t believe it when Sanders opposed the Paris agreement,” blatantly misrepresenting the Vermont senator’s position, which reflects a global consensus that the accord’s voluntary commitments don’t go far enough to meet established scientific limits.
Clinton’s strategy of obfuscation and deception must be partly reflective of a 55- to 45-percent pledged delegate split in a race that was supposed to be a cakewalk. Sanders has now won seven of the last eight primaries and caucuses by an average of 44 points. Her lashing out may also reflect her own campaign which has been filled with deception that often deftly and narrowly skirts illegality and falsehoods: subliminal self-directed comments, like that of husband President Bill Clinton about President Obama’s “awful legacy,” that seem instead to slam policies now tied to skyrocketing mass incarceration, the financial crash, trade-related job losses, and a frayed social safety net. Surely, as well, her attacks are an implicit recognition that the rigged establishment system isn’t working effectively for her. Liberal institutions and big funders — from the mainstream media, to colleges, to the Democratic National Committee, to think tanks, to corporations — have for years excised the role of perpetrators from gross societal injustices and shut down a progressive agenda. But their blacking out and disparagement of Sanders is now fueling his rise.