Sen. Bernie Sanders will keep a tight lid on things for now, it seems—if only to stop himself from saying something nasty.
While Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama both delivered conciliatory speeches on Wednesday, as expected, Sanders remained strategically quiet as the headlines flooded in asking the obvious question: “Would Bernie Sanders have defeated Donald Trump?”
Approached by CNN on Wednesday morning, a top adviser to Sanders said he would decline to remark on Donald Trump’s victory. “We have nothing polite to say right now,” the advisor said.
Sanders saw an upsurge in his popularity after conceding to Clinton this summer, a trend likely to continue now that Clinton has been defeated. Many Democratic voters, hungover from a bitter election and now quibbling over what went wrong, seem convinced that Sanders—being unencumbered by the scandal of an FBI investigation—would have made quick work of the oft-obscene president-elect.
Update 5:55am CT, Nov. 10: Sanders has now issued his first full statement since Trump’s election:
“Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids – all while the very rich become much richer.
“To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.”