Bernie Sanders Faces Backlash for Saying Neither Republican Nor Democratic Establishment Can Stop Him

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was accused of "egomania" and accepting Russian assistance Saturday, after he remarked that neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party can stop his 2020 presidential campaign.

Sanders and his supporters warned establishment leaders of both of America's two major political parties that rumors of Russian help and continued hopes for a brokered July Democratic convention won't slow down the presidential front-runner. "I've got news for the Republican establishment. I've got news for the Democratic establishment. They can't stop us," Sanders tweeted Friday evening.

Democratic Party activists and anti-Sanders political pundits lashed out with criticisms recycled from the 2016 election that sought to drive a wedge between the Independent Vermont senator and the DNC leaders. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez rejected MSNBC host Joy Reid's Saturday claim that Sanders is threatening a "hostile takeover" of the party rather than unity in response to the tweet, saying instead that the primary process is about one thing: defeating Donald Trump.

Some of Sanders' most ardent cable news critics and proponents of his Democratic candidate rivals labeled him a "Russian bot" and unloyal to the party. MSNBC's Reid went so far as to claim Sanders is "kicking to the curb 65 million people who voted for Hillary Clinton, Obama Democrats and others who consider themselves lifelong Democrats."

"This isn't @BernieSanders It's a Russian bot sowing discord," replied CNN Democratic pundit Hilary Rosen. "This is as egomaniacal as when Donald Trump said 'I alone can fix it,'" responded liberal blogger Bill Palmer.

"Whew. This is just reckless. The backbone of the Democratic Party, the 'establishment,' is Black Women. So what's really tea? Still not clear to me how/why Bernie is allowed to dip in and out of the party when it's financially advantageous for him to do so," tweeted activist April Reign, loosely accusing the senator of racism.

"[N]o the people showing up to the polls will stop u #Warren2020," replied Rosie O'Donnell, an Elizabeth Warren supporter.

David Sirota, Sanders' campaign speechwriter, said calls for "unity" are hypocritical given they are debasing the party's current front-runner for the nomination. "The same establishment that calls for unity and civility relentlessly and viciously vilifies Bernie Sanders and the working-class movement powering his Democratic presidential campaign," Sirota tweeted Saturday afternoon.

Many critics of Sanders' remark noted that his tweet was poorly timed just one day after The Washington Post reported that U.S. intelligence officials had informed his campaign that Russia is attempting to help his candidacy. Sanders rejected the report altogether, saying "I don't care, frankly, who [Russian President Vladimir] Putin wants to be president. My message to Putin is clear: Stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do."

Both Republicans and Democrats pounced on the report in an effort to paint the senator as too anti-establishment to win the general election against Trump.

"He has still refused to register as a Democrat, as far as we know, and he is saying this morning that the Democratic establishment will not stand in his way," MSNBC's Reid told DNC Chair Perez Saturday, questioning if Sanders is inciting a "civil war" within the party: "He's saying the Democratic establishment, that means you guys, will not stop him from getting the nomination. He is presenting what he's doing as a hostile takeover and not a merger with the party that he caucuses with in the senate."

Perez waved off the premise of the question. "You know what, here's what's different about 2020, and there's a lot of PTSD about 2016, Donald Trump and the existential threat to our nation. Every single candidate that was on the NBC/MSNBC debate stage the other night is ahead of Donald Trump in the head-to-head polls."

Perhaps looking to strike up a more unifying tone Saturday afternoon, Sanders tweeted: "When it comes to creating a nation that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent, we are all in this together."

bernie sanders democratic party clinton
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was accused of "egomania" and accepting Russian assistance Saturday after he remarked that neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party can stop his 2020 presidential campaign. JEWEL SAMAD / AFP / Staff/Getty Images
Bernie Sanders Faces Backlash for Saying Neither Republican Nor Democratic Establishment Can Stop Him | Politics