The Democrats have been on their best behavior for the primaries, knowing they need to present a different show than the wild one raging on the other side. The debates have been cordial and polite. There have been moments of controversy, but they hardly match the kind of dirty politics we see in the Republican race. When Bernie Sanders interrupted Hillary Clinton at a recent debate, feminists accused him of sexism, but it was too ridiculous to gain any traction.
But now things are slowly changing. Sanders, who has won seven out of the last eight primaries, seems to believe that he might actually have a shot at the nomination. Mathematically, he’s still a longshot. But if you take the so-called superdelegates out of the equation, he might indeed be within striking distance. And that outside chance – together with some favorable national polls – has Sanders turning up the heat on his opponent.
On Wednesday, Clinton told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that she had doubts as to Sanders’ qualifications.
“I think he hasn’t done his homework, and he’s been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hasn’t really studied or understood, and that does raise a lot of questions,” Clinton said.
That must have gotten under Bernie’s skin, because he cobbled together some fresh rhetoric for his rally in Philadelphia.
“She has been saying lately that she thinks that I am ‘not qualified’ to be president,” Sanders said. “I don’t believe that she is qualified if she is – through her super PAC – taking tens of millions of dollars in special-interest funds.”
Sanders continued the assault. “I don’t think you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street through your super PAC. I don’t think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in Iraq. I don’t think you are qualified if you have supported virtually every disastrous trade agreement which has cost us millions of decent-paying jobs.”
California Senator Barbara Boxer, who is a top Clinton supporter, lashed out on Twitter. “Bernie’s attack on Hillary Clinton tonight was beneath him,” she wrote. “She is the most qualified person to ever run for POTUS.”
Let’s put it this way. If you’re facing down a self-described socialist whose proposals don’t pass the laugh test, and you have to resort to ridiculous assertions like that one, you are in over your head. It remains to be seen if her nomination is really in jeopardy, but it’s clear that Hillary Clinton is much more vulnerable than Democrats want to admit.