Donald Trump put all the blame for the March 11 Chicago protests on one candidate—Bernie Sanders—even threatening to send some of his own supporters to a Sanders rally.
“Bernie Sanders is lying when he says his disrupters aren’t told to go to my events,” Trump said in a tweet. “Be careful Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours!”
Bernie Sanders is lying when he says his disruptors aren’t told to go to my events. Be careful Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2016
But these attacks only help Sanders who needs to win big in upcoming states to keep his candidacy afloat.
Sanders responded saying that his campaign didn’t have anything to do with the protesters.
“I would hope my supporters will not disrupt meetings,” said Sanders, according to the Washington Post. “We have millions of supporters, and people do things. But it was not our campaign.”
Trump’s attacks are good news for Sanders, who trails Hillary Clinton in key states and national polls. He also trails Clinton in delegate count and needs to win big in the upcoming primaries in order to keep his candidacy from being sidelined.
The rivalry between Trump and Sanders has also sparked a trending gif making the rounds on the internet showing Sanders photoshopped into the Trump rally where the protester had scared Trump.
The attacks not only legitimize Sanders’s campaign, but prop him up as the “activist” and “anti-Trump” candidate rather than being the “anti-Hillary” or “anti-Wall Street” campaign. And this may play well with Democratic voters.
It reinforces a conventional wisdom held through this election season: Hillary Clinton may have more votes, but Sanders has more activism and enthusiasm among younger voters.
The biggest boon for Sanders is the amount of media attention his campaign has gotten simply from being attacked by Trump.
Throughout the weekend, whenever the postponed rally in Chicago was covered by the major news sources, Trump was shown calling Sanders “our communist friend” and mocking protesters wearing Sanders shirts.
From a PR standpoint, being attacked by Trump is some of the best exposure Sanders has had in his entire campaign.