Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks in San Antonio, Tx.Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks in San Antonio, Texas. (Eric Gay / AP)

The red-baiting of Bernie Sanders sank to a new low during the Democratic debate in Las Vegas last week, courtesy of mega-billionaire Mike Bloomberg. Responding to the Vermont senator’s charge that Bloomberg’s employees were at least partly responsible for his business success, the former Republican New York City mayor replied: “We’re not going to throw out capitalism. We tried that. Other countries tried that. It was called communism, and it just didn’t work.”

This wasn’t the first time Sanders has been smeared in this fashion. Indeed, as I noted in a Truthdig column posted in May 2016, pundits and politicians affiliated with both major parties attacked Sanders relentlessly the last time he ran for president.

Among Sanders’ earliest and most vicious antagonists was Claire McCaskill, the former Democratic senator from Missouri, who is now one of MSNBC’s deep stable of neoliberal cheerleaders. Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show in June 2015, McCaskill complained, incredulously, that major media outlets were giving Sanders a pass compared to their reporting on Hillary Clinton. “I very rarely read in any coverage of Bernie that he’s a socialist,” McCaskill cracked. Declaring that Clinton was destined to become the party’s nominee, she blasted Sanders for being “too liberal” and “too extreme” to be elected.

By early 2016, as Sanders showed no sign of folding, other Clinton supporters and surrogates joined McCaskill in sounding the alarm at the prospect of a real challenge.(Bill Blum)

Posted by The non-Conformist