Q: If he gets the nomination, will you endorse and campaign for him?
A: I’m not going to go there yet. We’re still in a very vigorous primary season. I will say, however, that it’s not only him, it’s the culture around him. It’s his leadership team. It’s his prominent supporters. It’s his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women. And I really hope people are paying attention to that because it should be worrisome that he has permitted this culture — not only permitted, [he] seems to really be very much supporting it.
…Q: He allegedly told Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2018 that he didn’t think a woman could win, a statement he vigorously denies. How did you digest that?
The Bernie campaign ha[s] gone after Elizabeth with a very personal attack on her. Then this argument about whether or not or when he did or didn’t say that a woman couldn’t be elected, it’s part of a pattern. If it were a one-off, you might say, “OK, fine.” But he said I was unqualified. I had a lot more experience than he did, and got a lot more done than he had, but that was his attack on me. I just think people need to pay attention because we want, hopefully, to elect a president who’s going to try to bring us together, and not either turn a blind eye, or actually reward the kind of insulting, attacking, demeaning, degrading behavior that we’ve seen from this current administration.
…I always say [to the female candidates], “Look, you can run the best campaign, but you’re going to have to be even better than your best campaign to overcome some of the unfairness that will be directed at you as a woman.” Whoever gets the nomination, you’ve got to deal with the structural challenges that the Republicans and their allies have put in your way. So, that means you’ve got to deal with voter suppression, because they’ll steal votes or they’ll prevent votes from happening. They’re now trying to purge voters so that they can try to limit the electorate. You’ve got to deal with the theft of your personal information, particularly your emails. I say to them, “If your emails haven’t been stolen yet, they will be.” Look what the Russians just did, hacking into that Ukrainian oil company to try to dig up something or make something up [about Joe Biden’s son, Hunter]. Then you’ve got to worry about the propaganda, the fake news, the made-up stories. Now you have the additional worry of the deepfakes, and people putting words in your mouth. I’ve tried to tell all the candidates the same thing, but with the women, I say, “You’re probably not going to be treated fairly, don’t let it knock you off stride.”
…Q: How can the left combat Fox News?
It’s really a shame that all the people who support progressive politics and policies haven’t understood that that’s exactly the right question to ask. We do have some well-off people who support Democratic candidates, there’s no doubt about that, but they’ve never bought a TV station. They’ve never gobbled up radio stations. They’ve never created newspapers in local communities to put out propaganda. That’s all been done not just by Murdoch and Fox, but by Sinclair and by the Koch brothers and by so many others who have played a long game about how we really influence the thinking of Americans.
…Q: I was struck by a comment from your campaign media consultant Mandy Grunwald in the doc: “Women who judged Hillary for staying with Bill Clinton would have voted for Bill Clinton all over again if they had the chance. And kept saying so … And yet they took it out on Hillary.”
That’s exactly right.