So far, there is been no mudslinging between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – at least, not in public. Sanders refuses to attack Clinton personally on principle, whereas Clinton has simply been ignoring Sanders. However, Hillary’s donors are demanding that she take a public stand against her nearest rival.

As reported by Politico:

[S]ome donors and backers are beginning to doubt her approach [to ignore Bernie]. As more and more polling rolls in showing Sanders matching or topping Clinton in both of the early voting states — and Democratic power brokers are beginning to acknowledge that she could lose there — Clinton’s campaign is coming under pressure to not just talk about taking the primary seriously but to start acting like it, too.

In private conference calls and closed fundraisers, some donors are telling Clinton’s brain trust something it certainly already knows: that Sanders’ rally shows no signs of slowing. He’s thrown some spiky roadblocks into what was once seen as her glide path to the nomination. And now it’s time, they say, for a strategy shift.

While Sanders has refused to engage in personal attacks, he has been calling Clinton out on significant issues. Those issues – income inequality, growing poverty, debt slavery, corporate welfare, access to health care, out-of-control military spending and more – are ones with which pro-corporate, pro-war, status quo candidate Hillary Clinton is very uncomfortable. Her solution so far is to disregard Sanders, hoping he’ll simply fade away like Dennis Kucinich.

There is little chance of that happening. While Clinton’s star is slowly fading and falling, Sanders’ is rising fast and “Berning” with increasing intensity. Meanwhile, Clinton’s campaign strategists are of the opinion that, by pretending Sanders doesn’t exist, she becomes the only legitimate face of the Democratic Party.  It is supposed to make her look as if she is far better equipped to face off against the GOP nominee than a self-proclaimed Socialist from a backwoods state.

Nonetheless, her donors have seen the handwriting on the wall. Sanders’ message is resonating across the board, even drawing support from some Republicans. Even the GOP is terrified of the prospect that their candidate might have to face Sanders in the general election. Generally, the only reason more people have not embraced Sanders is because they haven’t heard of him or his positions on the issues. When they do, it resonates.

It’s going to keep on resonating. Other candidates, including Donald (the “Duck”) Trump, have been attempting to co-opt many of Sanders’ positions. As far back as June, the Washington Times reported that Sanders’ candidacy was pushing Clinton further to the left. However, unlike Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton continues to speak in generalities, suggesting that she is still too afraid to distance herself from her corporatist and centrist base.

Hillary Clinton’s donors are correct. At some point, she is going to have to face Sanders head-on in a fair debate over the issues, unequivocally declaring who she is and what she stands for. The first Democratic debate is scheduled for October 13th. If Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t prepared, the “Republican Lite” candidate is going to find herself steamrolled by the Socialist candidate from the Green Mountain State.

And that won’t necessarily be a bad thing.

Watch Ed Schultz address this issue:

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.