On Friday, Bernie Sanders repeated a familiar complaint: "It's strange and undemocratic that 450 superdelegates backed [Hillary Clinton] even before we got into the race."
This isn't exactly the easiest case to make. For one thing, it's really not that odd for many Democratic insiders to throw their support behind the former Secretary of State, senator, and 2008 runner-up before the primaries got underway. For another, when it comes to the challenges facing the Sanders campaign, superdelegates are practically irrelevant: the senator is trailing among pledged delegates. His deficit among superdelegates is the least of his troubles.
But perhaps most important is the Sanders campaign's broader strategy: the senator and his team are committed to a plan in which they'll ask party insiders to give Sanders the Democratic nomination, even if he comes in second. Given this dynamic, it would seem the senator has an incentive to impress superdelegates, not complain about them.
And yet, over the weekend, Sanders went much further down a confrontational road. The Washington Post reported:
If you want to make a politician really, really angry, endorse their primary opponent. That's exactly what Bernie Sanders did Saturday to Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
"Clearly, I favor her opponent," Sanders said in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper set to air today.
Yesterday, the Sanders campaign, which, with few exceptions, hasn't done much to help Democratic candidates, went so far as to launch a fundraising campaign to help the DNC chair's primary rival in her Florida district, Tim Canova.
As the Washington Post's report added, "You can be certain that Wasserman Schultz has spent the past 12 hours making sure that every one of her colleagues is aware of what Sanders has done. If he is willing to do this to me, don't fool yourself into thinking he won't do it to you too, she'll argue."
And that gets at the heart of Sanders' dilemma: he's identified the people who can rescue his candidacy, and he's poking them with a pointed stick.