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Democrats can't afford another ugly primary campaign in 2020. Is that where we're heading?

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After the 2016 Democratic National Convention, it's hard to imagine anyone forgetting the dangers of a hostile and fractious primary. Over the course of that convention, delegates for Sen. Bernie Sanders whipped themselves into an angry frenzy, hyped by conspiracy theories that had been disseminated by Russian intelligence alleging that Hillary Clinton had cheated or the result had been rigged. The result included some Sanders delegates booing everyone on stage — including Sanders himself — who dared suggest that it was important to vote for Hillary Clinton in November.

At the time, Sanders himself seemed shaken by the realization that the ugliness of the primary had gotten so out of control that it might lead to Donald Trump winning the election.

"I caught a glimpse of the fear on [Sanders] face when it became clear his attempt to get everyone 'Ready for Hillary' had failed," Robert Evans of Cracked wrote during the convention, arguing that Sanders was just realizing that his own supporters "seemed willing to elect a human grease fire because their favorite guy lost."

Most of Sanders' primary voters, to be clear, voted for Clinton in the general election. Just enough were willing to throw the election to Trump that they arguably played a role in the outcome. About 12 percent of Sanders voters switched to Trump in November, apparently more focused on sticking it to Clinton than on saving the nation. Another group of embittered Sanders supporters, egged on by celebrities like Susan Sarandon and Rosario Dawson, voted for Green Party grifter Jill Stein by wide enough margins to let Trump eke out narrow wins in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

This is why it's genuinely surprising and troubling to see that the Sanders campaign announced this week the hiring of journalist David Sirota,........

© Salon