If you’re reading this, chances are you’re on Twitter, which means you probably noticed that #DemocraticWhores was a trending hashtag on the social-media platform. But… why? The assumption that the choice phrase is meant specifically as the trolls’ latest offense against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton isn’t entirely wrong, per se, but it skips what happened at rival Bernie Sanders‘ momentous New York rally on Wednesday. The Independent Vermont senator himself didn’t say anything nasty about his Democratic counterpart, but one of his preceding speakers did. And the further you dig into the culprit’s history, the weirder this hashtag gets.
The New York Times reported that about 27,000 people attended the rally at Washington Square Park, a “striking number” that outshines the 20,000 President Obama’s campaign aides indicated after the then-senator’s 2007 event at the same location. That’s roughly 50,000 ears, many of which heard speaker and health-care activist Dr. Paul Song use the descriptor “corporate Democratic whores” to label elected officials who “are beholden to big pharma and the private insurance industry instead of us.”
Here’s the full context of what Dr. Song said during this particular part of his speech:
“While I agree with Secretary Clinton that ‘Medicare-for-all’ will never happen if we have a president who never aspires for something greater than the status quo, ‘Medicare-for-all’ will never happen if we continue to elect corporate Democratic whores who are beholden to big pharma and the private insurance industry instead of us.”
Dr. Song was referencing Clinton and Sanders’ ongoing battle over healthcare reform, especially the latter’s oft-promoted “Medicare-for-all” program that he’d create from scratch if elected. Clinton has repeatedly called into question Sanders’ proposed system, arguing that the federal government should instead build on already existing health care reform and systems.