In their toughest attack yet, the Bernie Sanders campaign is accusing Hillary Clinton of flip-flopping on universal healthcare to hide her close ties to Wall Street.
In a statement, the Sanders campaign said:
During the CBS Democratic debate on Saturday, November 14, 2015, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to use the tragedy of 9/11 as a political excuse for her coziness with Wall Street interests, including the millions she has received in Wall Street campaign funding over her career. That defense of the Clinton campaign’s corporate fundraising has been widely assailed in the media and on social media. In an attempt to divert the public’s gaze from Wall Street coziness, the Clinton campaign has launched a false attack on universal health care – something she has previously supported. The Clinton campaign received more contributions from the pharmaceutical industry than any other – Republican or Democrat – through the first six months of the campaign. So, what is this false attack really all about: either Secretary Hillary Clinton is repudiating years of advocating for universal health or she’s playing politics with the health of America’s families.
It’s hard to understand how someone who claims to have been a supporter of universal health insurance for years is suddenly moving to the right and attacking universal health care. Or, maybe it’s not:
The Clinton campaign received far more money from the drug and medical device industries than any other presidential candidate in either party during the first six months of the campaign, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. She accepted $164,315 during that period.
At the same time, she has accepted significant contributions from individual donors. She received contributions, for example, from two executives at Jazz Pharmaceuticals, which raised the price of a drug used to treat sleep disorders by more than 800 percent, from roughly $2 to $19 a pill.
These are easily the most serious allegations that the Sanders campaign has made against Hillary Clinton. The Clinton campaign can’t deny that she has taken Wall Street money, and the idea of a candidate who was a champion for universal healthcare pivoting to attack an opponent’s universal healthcare plan is a bit jarring.
What is uncertain is whether or not Democratic voters will care enough about Clinton and Wall Street to vote for a different candidate. It was a good move by the Sanders campaign to use the opening that Clinton gave them, but they may have to push the attack on her record even harder. The implication is that if Democratic voters want a candidate who is unwaveringly left, Bernie Sanders should be their choice.
There was also a bit of defensiveness in the statement released by the Sanders campaign. They understand that Clinton’s claim that his universal health care plan would raise taxes has the potential to do serious damage to his campaign.
Sen. Sanders has kept his vow not to attack personally former Sec. Clinton, but he is trailing in the polls, and his campaign is getting more aggressive while trying to close the gap.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association