(CNN)Bernie Sanders took his long-running fight with the Democratic Party establishment very public Friday night, hours after news broke that Russia is working to help his 2020 primary bid and hours before the critical Nevada caucuses.
“I’ve got news for the Republican establishment,” the Vermont senator tweeted on Friday night. “I’ve got news for the Democratic establishment. They can’t stop us.”
The timing of that tweet seems not to be an accident.
The Washington Post reported earlier Friday afternoon that the Sanders campaign had been briefed on attempts by the Russians to help his campaign, although it was not clear how that aid was manifesting itself.
Sanders confirmed Friday that he had been informed of the attempted Russian efforts a month ago. “We were told that Russia, maybe other countries, are going to get involved in this campaign, and look, here’s the message to Russia: Stay out of American elections,” Sanders said.
He also — in a prelude of his tweet later Friday night — seemed to suggest to reporters on the campaign trail that the timing of the Post’s report was suspicious. He noted that the Nevada caucuses were less than a day away, then asked who reported the news. When told it was The Washington Post, Sanders said sarcastically: “Good friends.” (Here’s the video of the exchange.)
Later, Sanders communications director Mike Casca seemed to point the finger at the Trump administration. “If you think this leak wasn’t designed to hurt Bernie, you’re not paying attention,” he tweeted. “it’s very clear Trump is nervous about facing him in the general election.”
And then, Sanders tweeted — making very clear that he views himself as at war with the establishments of both parties. As expected, it brought a considerable, and considerably negative, response from the so-called party establishment.
“The Democratic establishment gave us civil rights, voting rights, the assault weapons ban, social security and Medicare,” tweeted longtime party strategist Joe Lockhart. “What have you done Senator?”
The truth is that for as long as Sanders has been running for president — including in the 2016 race — there has been a not-so-secret war between the Democratic establishment and Sanders, his campaign and his supporters.
The 2016 primary election only deepened the ill will — as hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee showed that staffers within the organization had clearly put their thumb on the scale for Hillary Clinton. Sanders eventually endorsed Clinton but the bad feelings obviously never went away.
“Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got