At What Point Does Bernie Sanders Submit to the Power Structure?
In an unnerving turn, it seems like the Clinton campaign is now taking a slash and burn approach towards all the progressive independents and first-time Democratic voters who Bernie has galvanized to support the Democratic Party.
First, the media pounced on Bernie's interview with the New York Daily News, which was falsely described as "pretty close to a disaster for Bernie Sanders" by the Washington Post, and former Obama advisor Dan Pfeiffer tweeted that Bernie's interview was "almost as damning as Trump's with the WaPo."
Numerous people, including Ryan Grim over at the Huffington Post and Mike Konczal over at the Roosevelt Institute, have carefully explained why Bernie's answers really aren't that outlandish or lacking in detail - and that the media is making false arguments against Bernie's very cogent proposals.
But when Joe Scarborough asked Hillary Clinton three times the other day whether she thought this "disqualified" Bernie as a candidate, she insinuated three times that her campaign's interpretation of this interview casts doubt over his qualifications as a candidate.
As the Morning Joe panel pointed out today, she never technically said that he was unqualified.
But the simple fact is, the Hillary Clinton campaign is trying to promote the notion that Bernie is unqualified, and according to reports, it's actually a key part of Clinton's new three-pronged strategy to defeat Sanders and win the nomination.
One aide told CNN that until recently, Hillary's campaign has tried ignoring Sanders, brushing him aside, and gently dismissing his policies, mostly to keep some good will alive between the two campaigns.
But that was when Bernie was just seen as a protest candidate gadfly, a novelty of the 2016 cycle, someone who would just fade away as inevitably as Hillary would get the nomination.
But after a streak of over a half a dozen landslide wins, Hillary's new policy is to take the gloves off, to go for the throat, and to deal with collateral damage later.
Or as the Clinton campaign put it: "Disqualify him, Defeat him, and then unify the party later"
In other words, this is not the time for cooperation to defeat the Republicans, this is an all out war so Clinton can win New York.
So she's stepped up the attacks on gun control and implied that Bernie has some responsibility for Sandy Hook, she's questioned whether he is actually a Democrat, even though he caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate and is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.
And now she's unsure of his qualifications.
Bernie's said from the get-go that he wants to focus on the issues, and he's re-iterated that in recent days, but this new tactic from the Clinton campaign has left him with little choice but to fight back.
Jack Forbes, a Professor of Native American Studies and author of the book "Columbus and other cannibals", once told me about the Native American concept of "wetiko".
I forget which tribe or community the concept comes from, but it's basically the idea of one life force consuming another, it literally translates to "cannibal", the way that Columbus conquered and destroyed the Taino indians to increase Spanish power at the expense of an entire civilization.
Professor Forbes explained that when Native Americans were confronted by Europeans who were willing to eradicate the Native population to steal their land, they had basically three courses of action.
They could run and hide, which many did; they could stand their ground and be killed which many also did; or they could fight back.
The problem is, as soon as they fought back, they became their enemies, and as soon as they became their enemies by using their enemy's tactics, they lost, by destroying the concept of unity that pervades "Old Culture" worldviews.
The Clinton tactic of "disqualify, defeat, and unify later" is nothing more than wetiko come to the Democratic Party.
Bernie Sanders may have had no other real choice but to fight, but this is dangerous territory for everyone involved.
The problem with wetiko is that no one wins, and neither side is going to be able to "unify later" if the nomination is won through personal attacks and dirty politics.
It's time for the Democrats to get off each other's backs, and get back to the real issues facing Americans.