A funny thing happens to people who think they can take down Hillary Clinton by assailing her character: they end up with their own reputations in tatters.

Just ask Trey Gowdy.

The Democratic nomination process was destined to become more intense, the contrasts sharper. It always works that way. But Bernie Sanders’s sudden lurch into hardball politics will only harm him.

His progressive purity test has riled up Democrats.

His continued insinuations that Hillary is corrupted by contributions is only firing up her defenders and raising questions about his own choices.

His bizarre urge to marginalize her supporters is only further inflaming their passion and dedication.

We respect Bernie and we consider his core supporters our progressive brothers and sisters. We are absolutely certain that when the dust settles, Democrats will come together to defeat the radical GOP.

In the meantime, we watch with alarm as Bernie places a lifetime of work at risk with his frontal attack on Hillary’s integrity. Only one candidate stands to lose when that happens, and his name is Bernie.

UPDATE: Hillary tackles the issue directly at the Democratic debate:

You know, Senator Sanders has said he wants to run a positive campaign. I’ve tried to keep my disagreements over issues, as it should be. But time and time again, by innuendo, by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth, which really comes down to — you know, anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought. And I just absolutely reject that, Senator. And I really don’t think these kinds of attacks by insinuation are worthy of you. And enough is enough. If you’ve got something to say, say it directly. But you will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received.