By Dave Lindorff
Someone should have warned Hillary Clinton and the goon squad at the Democratic National Committee that old-fashioned red-baiting isn't going to cut it in today's United States. It's not the 1950s anymore and the Soviet Union and Comintern are ancient history.
With the latest batch of polls showing Bernie Sanders, in the wake of his feisty showing in Sunday's debate against Clinton in Charleston, SC, gaining on her in both early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, and nationally, the Clinton campaign and the leadership in the Democratic Party seem to have lost both their minds and whatever principles they may have had.
According to one poll, by CNN/WMUR, conducted just days after the debate, Sanders is now ahead of Clinton in New Hampshire by a blow-out 60% to 33%. That's nearly triple the margin the prior CNN/WMUR poll found in December when the numbers were Sanders 50% and Clinton 40%.
The last pre-debate poll in Iowa, conducted by the Des Moines Register between Jan. 7-10, showed Clinton's once-commanding lead in that state to have shrunk to 2%, with her getting 42% and Sanders 40%, well within the poll's stated 4.2% margin of error. Clinton"s and the Democratic Party's internal polling were certainly already telling them by early this week that Sanders had surged since the debate in Iowa as well as in New Hampshire. And in fact, a new Des Moines Register poll released late Thursday shows Clinton in Iowa with 42.8% and Sanders with 42.3% -- a statistical tie, with the trend moving in Sanders' direction.
Hence the Clinton campaign's panicky response, which has been to start having surrogates go out and paint Sanders as a "red."
They don't actually call him a commie, but they do the next closest thing, warning that if Sanders were to win the Democratic nomination, he would then be attacked by whoever is the Republican nominee, who would "surely" call him a communist.
How, actually, does this differ from Hillary herself just calling him a commie? Well, it doesn't. Her campaign is calling him a red.
This attempted McCarthyite hatchet job on Sanders was launched in an article in the obligingly complicit New York Times, which on Wednesday ran a one-sided hit piece headlined: "Alarmed Clinton Supporters Begin Focusing on Sanders's Socialist Edge."