Hollywood Democrats are increasingly uneasy with how ugly the race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders has become in recent days.
The vicious mudslinging between the two Democratic presidential candidates — already being described as a “tipping point” by pundits — is being felt all the way to Los Angeles’ entertainment industry, long considered the party’s donor hub.
“I’m so over it,” David Schneiderman, co-owner and founder of Seismic Productions and Clinton supporter, told TheWrap. “They both need to be very careful with each other.”
Los Angeles attorney and prominent Clinton fundraiser Dana Perlman told TheWrap that he worries the increasingly harsh campaign rhetoric “is destructive for the party, which must unite behind our nominee and retain the White House,” adding that he’s “disappointed in [Sanders’] new tone.”
The sharpening of knives began earlier this week, after Clinton seized on gaffes made by Sanders during an interview with the New York Daily News. Sanders seemed to struggle to explain how he would break up the big banks, a central theme of his populist campaign. Clinton then slammed Sanders for opposing efforts by families of Sandy Hook shooting victims to sue gun manufacturers.
Sanders quickly returned fire, telling supporters during a rally in Philadelphia on Wednesday that Clinton was not qualified to be president. The statement was seen as turning point in a race that until now has managed to stay, for the most part, above the fray.
Clinton’s Hollywood supporters say Sanders has been “ratcheting up” the fight because “he has little to lose.”
Sanders’ backers argue that the former secretary of state has been quick to attack the Vermont senator as he has won seven of the last eight primary contests, including on Tuesday in Wisconsin.
“It’s gotten desperate,” said Mimi Kennedy, star of CBS’ “Mom” and longtime Sanders supporter, told TheWrap. “Desperation always makes people nasty.”
While Sanders has seen his Hollywood popularity surge in recent months, it’s nowhere near as vast or high-profile as Clinton’s. Her list of celebrity endorsements eclipses all other candidates’ combined.
But Sanders’ recent success, including a crucial win in Wisconsin on Tuesday, has only heightened the tension within the Thirty-Mile Zone.
“Sanders went from a ‘protest candidate’ to believing that he could be the nominee,” L.A.-based Democratic strategist and Clinton backer Donna Bojarsky told TheWrap. “I don’t think those attacks are helping him.”
Still, not everyone believes things are critical, at least not yet.
“The media likes to make everything into a fight,” Kennedy said. “It’s almost like they needed an excuse to finally start covering the Democratic race. I don’t think we’ve lost our moral high ground.”