Sanders: Planned Parenthood Part of Democrat 'Establishment'

danjoseph | January 20, 2016
Font Size

In conservative circles, the word "establishment" is thrown around a lot these days. It's typically used in a derogatory fashion to describe Washington insiders and politicians who, some claim, no longer abide by conservative principles. Well, it looks like some liberals are starting to latch onto the term as well and it has caused a bit of a kerfufle in the Democratic primary contest.

Much like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz on the Republican side, Bernie Sanders' campaign has largely focused on taking on the so-called "establishment" and painting Hillary Clinton as being representative of deeply-entrenched Washington interests.

"What we are doing in this campaign -- and it just blows my mind every day, because I see it clearly, we're taking on not only Wall Street and the economic establishment, we're taking on the political establishment," said Sanders in a Tuesday interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow.

"And so I have friends and supporters in the Human Rights Fund, in Planned Parenthood," Sanders continued. "But you know what, Hillary Clinton has been around there for a very, very long time and some of these groups are, in fact, part of the establishment."

Uh oh. 

Proving that being labeled as "establishment" has become a problem for members of both political parties, Hillary Clinton responded with a scathing Tweet accusing Sanders of wanting to pick a fight with the nation's largest abortion provider as part of his war against the "establishment." 

Of course, Planned Parenthood is almost certainly an integral part of the Democratic machinery on multiple levels. If any organization represents the Democratic Party establishment, it's that one. And to be fair to Sanders, he probably was not implying that he was going to start attacking Planned Parenthood if elected president as that would be political suicide for any Democratic candidate.

But Clinton, lagging far behind Sanders in polls in New Hampshire and tied with the senator in Iowa, obviously saw this as an opportunity. She realizes that being labeled as "establishment" is a scarlet letter. With Sanders' comment, Clinton may have found a way to counter Sanders' implications that Clinton herself is representative of the "establishment" that so many voters seem to be fed up with.