During the 2016 elections, many Hillary Clinton supporters felt harassed by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Sanders is trying to get in front of that before the 2020 race heats up by sending an email urging his fans to “engage respectfully” with his Democratic opponents.
“As we engage with our opponents in the Democratic primary, we will forcefully present our views and defend ourselves against misrepresentations,” Sanders wrote. “But, let us do our very best to engage respectfully with our Democratic opponents―talking about the issues we are fighting for, not about personalities or past grievances. I want to be clear that I condemn bullying and harassment of any kind and in any space.”
Sanders emphasized that he plans to take the opposite tact to President Donald Trump, who revels in name-calling and specious attacks. “The president we are running against is a pathological liar, a racist, a xenophobe, a sexist, a bully and a religious bigot. His goal is to win political points by dividing up the American people. That is why we need to do exactly the opposite―brings our people together. Men and women, black and white, Latino, Native American, Asian American, gay and straight, young and old, native-born and immigrant,” Sanders said in the email.
Sanders sent a similar message to his delegates ahead of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, urging them not to protest on the convention floor. But his supporters did not heed his calls and the convention was interrupted numerous times by followers of Sanders, at times booing at Clinton delegates and chanting “Bernie.”
In his email about 2020, Sanders emphasized that only a united front will have a chance to beat Trump. “Our number one priority is defeating Donald Trump. To do so, we will ultimately have to unite with those who today are our opponents for the Democratic nomination. We won’t always agree with them, but I expect those who speak on behalf of my campaign to always engage respectfully. I am committed to making this nominating process a fair, issues-focused campaign and am asking you for the same,” he concluded.