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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

For Clinton, party unity appeals are so 2016 as she slams 'Bernie Bros'

Hillary Clinton talks about Hulu's "Hillary" documentary on

Hillary Clinton talks about Hulu's "Hillary" documentary on Jan. 17 in Pasadena, Calif. Credit: AP / Invision / Richard Shotwell

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has not only taken shots at her former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders but belittled his supporters.

Read her words carefully — even if she reacts to any backlash by amending them.

“He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him. He got nothing done," she told the makers of a four-part documentary on herself due to debut in March on Hulu.

“I will say, however, that it’s not only him, it’s the culture around him. It’s his leadership team. It’s his prominent supporters. It’s his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women.”

"Bernie Bros" sounds in this context like an intraparty version of "deplorables," a label that backfired miserably when applied to Donald Trump supporters, many of whom embraced it.

This wasn't just a barb at the candidate but at the whole movement to which she once attempted to cater by adjusting policy positions in midcampaign.

After losing the Democratic nomination in 2016, Sanders (I-Vt.) supported and campaigned for Clinton, even though he still isn't a registered Democrat and defiantly wears what many mainstream voters see as a scarlet "S," for socialist.

Perhaps Clinton is looking to help Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), whose background tells you she's more of a capitalist than Sanders but whose denunciations of corporate power do not mesh with the governing positions for which both Clintons were known.

Saying of Sanders that "nobody likes him" sounds about as juvenile as something Trump might offer.

In fact the president took it as an opportunity to tweak the Democrats.

"They're really trying to take it away from him again," the president told a friendly interviewer. "I mean, when Hillary says nobody likes him, nobody likes her. That's why she lost. I mean, nobody liked her. She had every advantage. She had this big machine behind her."

Clinton did win the popular vote in the 2016 general election by 3 million. Those claiming Sanders voters "helped elect Trump" are challenged by those who say Sanders voters helped raise Clinton's totals.

Should Sanders win the nomination this year, one can only wonder how Clinton would react. Three months ago she called Trump a "clear and present danger" to the U.S.

Clinton's invocations of "party unity" have always been ad hoc.

As she lost presidential primaries in 2008, a political action committee sprang up that opposed Democratic Party leadership and the nomination of her then-rival Barack Obama.

The official title was "People United Means Action." But its acronym, PUMA, coincided with a certain slogan heard among her supporters along the lines of "Party Unity My Foot."

Clinton soon distanced herself from the effort and joined forces with Obama.

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