America Last: How Bernie Sanders' Anti-Trade Views Appealed to Vladimir Putin

This morning, the Washington Post released the results of a sponsored study with two Clemson University professors delving directly into Russia's intentional and targeted use of Bernie Sanders' 2016 campaign to undermine the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. 

While most of us were already aware that Russia targeted Sanders' supporters through Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's indictment of 13 Russians and 3 Russian entities, what we did not know until today was how appealing Sanders' stance on trade was to Vladimir Putin. According to the Post article: 
One reason that Sanders was on Russia’s radar has been little noted: he, like Trump, opposed trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Russian President Vladimir Putin had been critical of the TPP, saying it was secretive and “hardly facilitates sustainable development of Asia Pacific.”
During the primaries, Sanders gave at least three interviews to a Russia-controlled television network, RT, in which his trade stance was highlighted. The network in February 2016 criticized MSNBC for breaking away from Sanders after he said he was “helping to lead the opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” The network posted a story headlined, “Bernie Sanders 'censored' by MSNBC while criticizing trade deal.” 
Around the same time that Sanders was featured on RT, Russian employees at the Internet Research Agency were given a document explaining how to influence the U.S. election. The workers were told to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump — we support them),” according to Mueller’s indictment of the Russians. 
For those of who have been vetting Bernie Sanders, we've long known that his worldview is skewed in a classical Marxist lens where class issues are the only ones that matter. It is why Sanders refuses to acknowledge intersectionality and address deeper issues of systemic racism. Like Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders is a trade isolationist because he doesn't want poor and working-class people of color to have the opportunities to advance through new, emerging networks that globalization can provide. Eleven other countries refused to buy in to this notion and signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in March of 2018 with the United States watching from a distance. By eventually dumping the TPP, the US undeniably weakened itself in terms of the global economy, something that was a key goal of Vladimir Putin. Whereas Bernie Sanders would frequently bash the TPP on the campaign trail, the reality is that not joining the TPP will end up having significant consequences for groups like American farmers, who will lose out on the potential benefits and emerging markets that the TPP could have provided. Perhaps nothing better speaks to Bernie Sanders' trade views than when he praised Donald Trump for pulling out of the TPP shortly after his inauguration with Sanders immediately vowing to work with him on trade.

Once again, we have another piece of the puzzle as to Bernie Sanders' involvement in the 2016 terrorist attack by Russia against our democracy. His coordination with Russia Today deserves further investigation, especially with his campaign adviser Tad Devine having had a working relationship with Paul Manafort in the Ukraine. At best, Bernie Sanders willfully ignored the fact that his campaign was being propped up by Russia to undermine Hillary Clinton. At worst, Sanders knew and didn't care because he would rather become a millionaire than defend the nominee of a political party that he had long despised. Either way, we know that Bernie Sanders was Vladimir Putin's second favorite candidate in the 2016 presidential election because, in part, Sanders would willfully speak out against a global trade deal that would have strengthened America's position in the world while simultaneously weakening Russia's.

And sharing racist economic policy with Vladimir Putin and helping to advance Russian interests is exactly the kind of thing we've come to expect from Bernie Sanders.

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