A newspaper in Vermont is not only asking Senator Bernie Sanders not to run for president — it’s begging him.
In an editorial published Saturday, The Barre Montpelier Times Argus argued that, while making the decision to beg Sanders against running was difficult, there are reasons to be concerned with his potential second run.
And they're right.
The newspaper’s editorial board points to its frequent questioning of Sanders’s record for his “home” state and notes that “you are more likely to catch Sanders on Colbert, CNN, or MSNBC than you are to see him talking to reporters here in Vermont. Evidently, microphones here don’t extend far enough.”
The editorial also acknowledge fears that another Sanders run will divide the Democratic Party.
“For us, this comes down to principle over ego,” the newspaper wrote. “It is one thing to start a revolution, but at a certain point you need to know when to step out of the way and let others carry the water for you.”
And they call him tired, exhausting even.
But it’s the last poignant point in the editorial that makes the case against Sanders.
Accusations published in The New York Times last week against Sanders’s 2016 campaign staff ranged from sexist comments to poor treatment of women and a wage gap.
In fact, according to the Times, two “delegates who supported [Sanders] two years ago recently told his staff that he can’t run for president again without addressing the sexism they believe surfaced in his last campaign.”
When Sanders was given the chance to respond on CNN Wednesday night, he apologized and promised to do better if he ran again, but he also said that in 2016 he was “a little bit busy running around the country trying to make the case” for his presidency.
That will not do. Not in 2019. Not after #MeToo. Not after Time’s Up.
This year welcomed the historic 116th Congress, where record numbers of women and people of color are serving in the House after having been elected in the 2018 midterms — an election that was widely seen as a rebuke of President Trump and his policies as well as a stand against his treatment of women and minorities.
Sanders was aware of the sexism and misogyny that “Bernie Bros” — his most ardent and hostile supporters — brought to the 2016 presidential campaign, but he claims he didn’t notice anything wrong in the very room where his staff planned rallies that the bros flocked to.
“I’m not going to sit here and tell you that we did everything right, in terms of human resources,” he told Anderson Cooper Wednesday, barely acknowledging his campaign’s shortcomings.
But even giving him the benefit of the doubt, it’s still not enough.
Sanders dodged responsibility with his answer on CNN. And, sure, he might not have known, but a workplace culture — a campaign’s culture — does not grow in a vacuum. Real leadership would be taking responsibility. Sanders’s TV sound bite sounds like a dodge.