The former governor of Vermont issued a warning to Democrats about how Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) could impact their chances in the 2020 presidential election.
In an interview with Politico, former Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) said that Sanders could hurt the future nominee’s chances are with his attacks on them during the primary.
Shumlin — who endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden — said that Sanders will “play dirty” during the Democratic primary because of a “holier than the rest” sentiment held by the Vermont senator and his staff.
“What I’ve seen in Bernie’s politics is he and his team feel they’re holier than the rest. In the end, they will play dirty because they think that they pass a purity test that Republicans and most Democrats don’t pass.”
Shumlin warned that “Bernie will come first,” even if he “considers you a friend.”
“That’s the pattern we’ve seen over the years in Vermont, and that’s what we are seeing now nationally,” Shumlin added.
Shumlin’s comments come as rift has emerged between Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that led to a somewhat awkward moment at the end of the seventh Democratic debate where she appeared to refuse to shake his hand.
Ahead of the debate, Warren claimed that in a 2018 meeting with Sanders he told her that a woman could not win the presidency.
In a statement, Sanders denied the claim, “It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win,” as IJR has previously reported.
“We should be weakening Donald Trump, not each other,” Shumlin said as he voiced his concern that the spat between the two presidential candidates could harm Warren’s chances to beat President Donald Trump if she won the nomination.
“I’m concerned that we’re seeing a replay of the kind of dynamics that didn’t allow Hillary to win,” he added.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has partially blamed Sanders for her 2016 loss. In her book “What Happened,” Clinton says that Sanders’ attacks sowed division within the party and made it harder for voters to rally around her.
“His attacks caused lasting damage, making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ campaign.'”
Finally, Shumlin warned that Sanders has not always been a loyal supporter of other Democratic candidates, “Don’t forget, the first office he won was beating the Democratic mayor of Burlington. He never endorsed most Democrats until his Senate career.”
“The only way he could win the Senate seat and avoid a Democrat winning the nomination and splitting the vote in the general election has been to run for the Democratic nomination, win it and immediately turn it down,” he continued.