Politics

Bernie Sanders: #MeToo Villain or Victim?

NYT published a story alleging that Sanders's 2016 campaign was guilty of allowing sexual harassment.

Political Editors · Jan. 5, 2019

Was the most leftist candidate of the 2016 presidential election guilty of allowing a sexist “toxic environment” to exist within his campaign, or is this the work of “woke” “social justice warriors” working to remove obstacles for the “right” gendered 2020 candidate in this era of #MeToo?

The New York Times ran a story this week alleging that Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2016 campaign team engaged in sexism. The article quotes several female members of Sanders’s campaign team, including Giulianna Di Lauro, who claims that her complaints to supervisors of being sexually harassed by campaign surrogates were ignored. Di Lauro describes the harassment as being grabbed and touched in a “sexual way” that pushed her boundaries.

Another former member of Sanders’s campaign team, Samantha Davis, said that she “did experience sexual harassment during the campaign, and there was no one who would or could help.”

Sanders initially offered the obligatory apology statement, saying, “I’m not going to sit here and tell you that we did everything right, in terms of human resources. I certainly apologize to any woman who felt she was not treated appropriately, and of course if I run we will do better the next time.” However, when pressed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper on whether he had any knowledge of the alleged harassment, Sanders responded dismissively, “I was a little bit busy running around the country trying to make the case.”

As the media attention on this story has grown, Sanders’s former campaign manager and current adviser came out apologizing for putting together a campaign team that was “too male” and “too white,” and pledged to “remedy” it should Sanders run for the 2020 election.

Thus far it appears that most of the details offered seem rather tame and could be understood to be issues of situational misunderstandings rather than a culture of outright sexual harassment. That raises the ironic specter of the Democrat leadership seeking to torpedo another Sanders campaign run before it even starts.

In fact, the Times works to make the Democrats’ case, noting that the sexual-harassment allegations have “raised questions among them about whether he can adequately fight for the interests of women, who have increasingly defined the Democratic Party in the Trump era, if he runs again for the presidential nomination in 2020.” Way back in 1996, feminist Gloria Steinem called Sanders “an honorary woman.” We guess that’s ancient history.

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