Intercept DC bureau chief: Booing of Sanders was ‘primal scream’ by donors

The Intercept’s D.C. bureau chief Ryan Grim dismissed booing of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at the Tuesday night debate in South Carolina as wealthy donors’ “last primal scream.”

Echoing widespread criticism of the moderation at the debate, Grim said the “last one [in Nevada] was better” in a Hill.TV interview Wednesday, adding “The question of who’s in the audience is fascinating, because a lot of these debates and party events are stacked with donors,” calling the practice “the kind of soft corruption that if you have to accept some corruption, is okay in this sense.”

In past election cycles, Grim said, this practice was never a problem because the donors in the audience “liked all the candidates” and would applaud them, but “they are not fine with all of them anymore, and so you can’t have these donors in these events anymore because they’re not going to behave themselves like they used to.”

As a result, he added, “you saw this booing and this hooting and hollering, and it was kind of like a primal scream of the dying establishment.”

Grim also addressed Sanders’s criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the debate, in which Sanders defended his decision not to speak at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference and denouncing Netanyahu as a “reactionary racist.”

Sanders, who would be the first Jewish president, received cheers for the comment, which host Krystal Ball said was indicative of a “dramatic shift” in American politics on Israel.

Grim speculated that Sanders was particularly strident in his condemnation of Netanyahu because of a personal connection. “A lot of American Jews and leftists had a dream for Israel, that it would be a social democracy that respected human rights, and they’re seeing that dream be destroyed by people like Bibi Netanyahu,” he said.

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