Clinton-Sanders Tensions Remain Within Democratic Party

A year after the 2016 presidential election, lingering tensions between the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders wings continue to nag at the Democratic Party.

The two sides have battled throughout the year, including in the fight over who should chair the Democratic National Committee. Sanders and his supporters backed the losing candidate, Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.), while establishment Democrats were seen as supporting the winner, former Obama administration Labor Secretary Tom Perez.

A resolution calling on Vermont’s Independent senator to join the Democratic Party was defeated during DNC meetings last week in another sign of the tensions between Sanders acolytes hoping to change the party and Clinton people resentful that Sanders is not even a member of their party.

Clinton supporters were also upset to see Sanders land a high-profile speaking appearance at a women’s conference in Detroit organized by people behind the Women’s March on Jan. 21. Sanders supporters, for their part, were annoyed at the complaints from Clinton backers.
Democrats acknowledge that emotions are still raw more than a year after Clinton’s primary win and nearly a year after President Trump’s victory on Election Day. Many also admit that the infighting puts the focus off Trump.

“Democrats felt passionately about their candidates. And for the most part, they still do. It’s pretty hard to just turn that off like a faucet,” said Tracy Sefl, a Democratic consultant who served as a surrogate to Clinton during her 2016 run. “But look at what is happening to this country. Trump is wreaking havoc while Democrats grapple with a messaging crisis and tumult in party structure.”

Bill Press, the radio host who served as a Sanders surrogate, acknowledged the ongoing backbiting, suggesting it is one reason why the party is “in disarray.”

“The Democratic Party is coming out of a disaster, losing an election they should never have lost and losing control of the Senate and White House,” said Press, who is also a columnist for The Hill.

One member of the Democratic National Committee who attended the Las Vegas meeting described it as a “shit show.”

“I don’t think anyone thinks the party is in a good place right now and if they do their kidding themselves,” the member said. “There’s still very much the Clinton faction and the Bernie faction, and I think it hurts us.”

Clinton sparked a new wave of friction when she wrote in her new book that Sanders’s attacks “caused lasting damage” to the party.

In an email to The Hill, Brent Budowsky, a Democratic consultant and columnist for The Hill, said that a discussion of whether Bernie Sanders and Angus King should run as Democrats was a “ridiculous distraction” and he called the demotion of “respected liberals” who supported Ellison in the DNC leadership race a “divisive disgrace.”

Much of the Democrats’ angst is aimed at the DNC, where fundraising has flatlined. The Republican National Committee outraised the DNC by more than $6 million dollars last month, federal filings show.

“There’s a lack of excitement,” said Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons. “I don’t feel any excitement for the Democratic Party among activists from small dollar to big dollar donors. I think a good part of that is inspiration. No one feels inspired by the party.”

There are some bright spots.


  • rick meek

    And of course there was a huge money deal struck – maybe sanders can afford that 6th house NOW….

  • sonnieC

    Hillary (ROTTEN) Clinton is now a washed out political whore bitch. She was never any good for our country and should be behind bar with her pervert of a husband who was using the oval office for his blow jobs when he was the president. With Hillary’s approval.

    • Jim

      Sonnie, she was getting all she wanted as a carpet muncher, and did not give a hoot at what Billy Bob was getting in his office. They both should have had Aids by now along with that ugly ass daughter of hers., not Billy,s

  • Ron C

    Hell I wouldn’t call what Trump is doing to this country Havoc…I would call it making America Great again…After all the proof is in the pudding. Just look at all the major cities that been turned in third world hellholes by the democrat’s…And in Jerry Browns case the whole state is third world!
    Geez…thanks democrat’s!

  • bitterclinger

    The democrat party has been in free fall since 2010. Ever since they rammed obamacare through they have been losing elections. They lost over 1300 seats since then nationally and continue to lose. Their problems run deeper than Bernie vs Hillary. Average voters got a chance to see their anti American policies in action from 2008-2016 and have decided that they have had enough and have stopped voting for them.

  • Fred Friedman

    The Democratic party is a culturally retrograde party that finds nearly all of it’s support on the east and west coasts. A party that supports abortion on demand, compulsory unionization, transgender toilets, health care for all regardless of the cost, that opposes voter Id laws, supports unlimited immigration regardless of the cost to native Americans in terms of jobs and cultural cohesion, that opposes responsible gun ownership-is not a party that has anything to offer anyone who isn’t on the far left politically. The party has become a congeries of ‘marginalized groups’ ignorant Negroes, union thugs, self hating Jews of the ACLU and NY Times stripe, homosexuals. Hollywood, the academy and feminists who wallow in a perpetual state of grievance, entitlement, victimization and self pity and who believe that ‘white America” is responsible for all of their problems. I grew up in the party of Kennedy and Roosevelt. Today’s party is alien and hostile to my values and the America I love and revere.

    • Sandy white

      WOW! U got it all right there. And I agree with all of it. Thx for spelling it all out for the morons out there who think that President Trump is the problem. MAGA!

    • Would it be OK if I converted this comment into a stand-alone article for Writer Beat? There is no fee; I’m simply trying to add more content diversity for our community and thought your comment was insightful. I’ll be sure to give you complete credit as the author. You can learn more about Writer Beat by checrking out my profile or just say “sure” and I’ll handle the rest.

      • Fred Friedman

        Yes you can. Please email me at [email protected] I would like to stay in touch with you. I am always looking to make new connections. Send me a copy of the article when it appears. Thank you Fred

    • Jim

      Fred, this is a very well put post.I was in the same boat as you.But ,I saw the light and I just turn 78.Never again for me. “GO TRUMP”

  • Dexter L. Wilson

    No Christian can belong to a party that says, according to the National Chair, that you must support Abortion on demand or as they call it, pro-(death) choice.

    • Jim

      Dexter, I don,t think that any person who calls him or herself a Christian and believes in God can,t be both a Christian and a Demc.,you can,t have both, because God was against gays and said so in the Bible on a few chapters.I have them wrote down but most of you may know them .I think if the Demc. party was in being in those days as they are now he would have put all of them to death.On our last day on this earth there are going to be a lot of people find out they did not listen to him. Have a nice night.

      • Dexter L. Wilson

        Remember that it was said in the Bible “So were some of You”. We cannot give up on those who are in same sex attraction, transgendered, and or perverted. There are ministries that help these people leave their lifestyle and God is the Great deliverer. Again though if you are Christian who loves the Lord, the Democratic Party has become Ichabod and as pointed out you must come out of that Party.

  • art frewin

    perhaps their fight against the second amendment has something to do with all of it. i know it has for me.

  • Gerry Costa

    The only havoc PRESIDENT TRUMP is wreaking is putting America and Americans before the demoSCUM illegals and muslim dirtbags. He is accomplishing positive things in spite of the demoSCUM and rino interference. We saved this country from a party and it’s low life, bottom-feeding sewer rat members that were out to destroy it

  • Reggie Smith

    Did it ever occur to the DNC that the people of this country are fed up with outrageous spending, socialistic beliefs, and totally outrageous executive orders, not to mention uncontrolled illegal immigrants being given a free ride for entering this country illegally. The liberals are so out of touch with the people and life as a whole. Far too many crazy people in the party; re: Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, Fedrica Cowgirl, and socialist Bernie Sanders. Not to mention the criminal plagued Hillary Clinton, who will most likely be indicted for some of the many crimes she has committed.

    • Jim

      Reggie, you are right in your post. In my thinking, all these people and a lot more of the Demc. will all meet up in hell to cook forever.

  • Barbara DuVall

    I agree with all of you!!!