Establishment? Moi?

I didn’t watch the Democratic debate last night because … well, I had better things to do. Apparently, it was quite contentious. But one point that came up was whether Clinton is part of the establishment.

Sanders: “I will absolutely admit that Secretary Clinton has the … support of far more governors, mayors, members of the House [of Representatives]. She has the entire establishment or almost the entire establishment behind her. That’s fact. I don’t deny it. I’m pretty proud that we have over a million people who have contributed to our campaign — averaging 27 bucks apiece.”

Clinton: “Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment … And I’ve got to tell you that I — [applause] it’s really quite amusing to me.”

Let me break that down for you. Sanders made the incredibly reasonable point that Clinton is in with the entire party establishment (including have already secured many superdelegate votes), has been walking the innermost halls of power for 25 years and has received six figure speaking fees from Wall Street interests. Clinton’s response?

She has two X chromosomes.

Clinton always plays the gender card when she’s cornered. And Sanders has her cornered on this issue. Clinton’s entire campaign is establishment politics. The reason she says she should be President is because she can “get things done” and “knows the ropes” and “has experience”. That’s the basic definition of establishment.

Clinton’s supporters — including her mouthpieces at Vox — are trying to argue that Sanders is establishment as well because he’s in Congress almost as long as Clinton has been around and has gotten a lot of money from unions. They have a small point. But there is a huge difference between being a third party crackpot Senator from Vermont and a first lady, New York Senator, Secretary of State who was given $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs for … well, I’m sure for no reason at all.

Establishment politicians are unpopular. And Clinton wants to have it both ways: playing up her experience and insider knowledge while pretending that she’s not really the establishment. Normally, she would get away with it. The fawning media would fall in line. The feminists would say, “well, of course no woman could possibly be establishment.” But Sanders, God bless the old crank, won’t let her get away with it.

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