Bernie Sanders supporters responded to an ugly smear campaign carried out by a pro-Clinton super PAC by donating $1.2 million to the Sanders campaign in less than 48 hours.
The Sanders campaign announced the donations:
In just 48 hours, Sanders’ donors gave $1.2 million to his Democratic presidential campaign after Correct the Record, the Clinton-backing super PAC, attempted to link Sanders and the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. The average donation was $23.
“I hope that sends a very clear message that the American people are sick and tired of politics as usual and negative campaigning,” Sanders said in the email thanking his supporters.
“We’ve never seen an immediate donor response like what the Sanders campaign received on Tuesday. At one point, it drove 180 contributions through our platform per minute,” said Erin Hill, executive director of ActBlue, the fundraising firm. “Over its 11-year history ActBlue has sent money to over eleven-thousand campaigns and committees — and the Bernie Sanders campaign holds the record for the two biggest donor days ever for a campaign on our platform.”
The reaction was to the attempt by David Brock of the Clinton super PAC to link Sanders and Chavez. The “connection” was that Sanders and former Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.) worked together to help provide Vermonters and other low-income New England residents with affordable home heating oil supplied by the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, CITGO.
“Frankly what the Clinton Super PAC is doing is nothing new. It’s the same-old, same-old negative politics that has gone on for years: throw mud and hope some of it sticks,” Sanders wrote. “We are fighting for a different kind of politics. Instead of hurling dishonest or out-of-context charges, we are trying to run an issue-oriented campaign – focusing on the most important concerns of the American people.”
Sanders was right. The attempt by the super PAC was more of the same old failed politics. The attack on Sanders was based on a strategy of trying to lower the Senator from Vermont’s favorability ratings with Democrats.
The result of their attack was that supporters are opening their wallets and fighting back against the smears.
Anyone who watched the Republican debate on CNN can see the value in Democrats running a campaign that is based on issues and forward thinking vision for the future of the country. Republicans spent three hours on Wednesday night disagreeing and tearing each other apart.
Democrats don’t have to engage in such behavior. In fact, there should be no room in the Democratic primary for these attacks. Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton should be judged based on their records, not whispers and memos leaked to the media.
Bernie Sanders supporters sent a message. Attacking them only makes them stronger and more determined. The Democratic primary should be about issues. Save the smears for low brow candidates like Donald Trump.