Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont criticized Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for using tactics to discourage voters from voting for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
"Anybody who is suppressing the vote because they know that those people will vote against them is a political coward," tweeted Sanders, who lost to Clinton in the Democratic primary in June but has stumped for her since.
“If you don’t have the guts to run for office on your ideas [DonaldTrump], then you shouldn’t run for office at all,” the senator added.
Sanders was referring to a Bloomberg Businessweek story about Trump's campaign strategy to target groups likely to vote for Clinton, including women, black people and idealistic white liberals, with ads that criticize the Democratic nominee's record on issues of importance to those groups.
Although this is a common political strategy, a Trump campaign operative described it as a “major voter suppression operation,” which led to many people criticizing the real estate mogul for trying to prohibit people from voting, instead of merely discouraging them from voting for Clinton.
“What it appears the quote is describing is an attempt to discourage certain demographic groups from turning out in large numbers,” Jason Torchinsky, a Republican election lawyer, told The New York Times. “For lawyers and judges, these terms usually invoke memories of actions such as placing armed individuals outside polling places or sending letters telling legal voters that if they vote, they will go to jail.”
The Trump campaign isn't planning anything illegal, according to Bloomberg. Instead, the campaign is buying ads on black radio stations to remind listeners about Clinton's 1994 use of the term “super predator,” which is considered racist and inflammatory by many.
Trump is also constantly reminding people that Clinton was a staunch supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the controversial trade agreement that is opposed by many on the right, but is a pivotal issue for many of the “idealistic white liberals” who supported Sanders during the Democratic primary.
When Sanders, who is a fierce and vocal opponent of TPP, ran against Clinton in the Democratic primary, he often criticized her for pushing the deal when she served as secretary of state.
Clinton then announced she was opposed to the deal during a debate with Sanders in October 2015, according to CNN.
But Trump hasn't let her off the hook and often mentions Clinton's support in speeches and on Twitter.
“Hillary Clinton channels [Secretary of State] John Kerry on trade: she was for bad trade deals before she was against them. #TPP,” Trump tweeted on Sept. 26.