The Bernie Sanders campaign has repudiated the remarks by Dr. Paul Song at Sanders’ massive 27,000 strong New York rally calling elected Democrats corporate whores.
Bernie Sanders’ massive rally of 27,000 supporters in New York’s Washington Square Park on Wednesday night was overshadowed by the firestorm that was created when one of the speakers at the rally, Dr. Paul Song, said, “Medicare-for-all will never happen if we continue to elect corporate Democratic whores who are beholden to big pharma and the private insurance industry instead of us.”
Video of Dr. Song’s corporate whores comments:
In response to the immediate backlash to his comments, Dr. Song apologized on Twitter:
@paulysong Misogyny has no place in democratic political discourse. It was sexist, offensive and wrong. Language like this hurts women.
— Beth K (@musicmuse) April 14, 2016
The Sanders campaign repudiated the language used by Dr. Song in a tweet:
Dr. Song's comment was inappropriate and insensitive. There's no room for language like that in our political discourse.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 14, 2016
Dr. Song sounded like an insensitive extremist, and that, in a nutshell, is the overarching problem that the Sanders campaign is facing. In open primaries, Independents can be courted with outsider rhetoric. In a series of closed Democratic primaries, in a party where women are the majority, comments like Dr. Song’s lose votes for the candidates that they support.
Song was criticizing Democrats in a closed Democratic primary. Needless to say, this is not a winning strategy. His comments only fanned the doubts of Democrats who believe that Sen. Sanders is not a real Democrat.
In practical terms, Bernie Sanders isn’t going to win closed Democratic primaries without Democratic votes. It is also not good to enrage the very superdelegates that Sen. Sanders needs if he is going to win the Democratic nomination by calling them corporate whores.
It is good that the Sanders campaign repudiated the use the word whores, but the damage has already been done. The dominant and only headline coming out of the rally should have been about the huge crowd of enthusiastic supporters for Sanders. Instead, Sanders will almost definitely be asked about Song’s comments at tonight’s Democratic debate.
Hillary Clinton already had a double-digit lead in New York. Clinton doesn’t need any help winning, but the Sanders campaign needs to understand the potential damage that Song’s comment can cause in future closed primary states and do more than send out a tweet.
Hours before what might be Bernie Sanders’ last chance to shift the electoral dynamic in the New York primary, the Sanders campaign has a big problem on their hands.
Some Sanders supporters have been reluctant to admit that women are the majority of the Democratic Party. Democrats are not a male progressive party. Insulting women is the fastest way to lose a Democratic primary. In a campaign where misogyny is always lurking both in political rhetoric and in the media’s coverage of the election, Dr. Song’s comments did not belong on a the same stage as a candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, or in the Democratic Party itself.