An otherwise responsible liberal journalist said yesterday that the 2016 election had been “rigged” against Bernie. I was a Bernie supporter that year, but I continue to be amazed at how this shibboleth stubbornly continues its long life, despite it being a wild distortion of reality.
After intelligence reports, we now know that this idea was ginned up constantly in 2015-2016 by the GRU (Russian military intelligence).
If anything, a much stronger argument could be made that the system was “rigged” against Hillary, because of the caucus system, which disproportionately helped Bernie and is much less democratic than primary elections, because only a small number of the most fervent activists participate. And because only those people who have the financial means and the time to take an entire day show up to this kind of event, it stunts input from the poor and the working class.
Today, in 2019, you rarely hear anybody mention the comparatively undemocratic nature of the caucus system, and certainly not the role it played in ‘rigging’ the race against Hillary.
The only response from those who continue to insist that the system was “rigged” against Bernie tends to be, ‘Well, those were the rules and Bernie played by the rules.’ Yet the response from Hillary is that she also played by the rules. Both sides are correct.
Did Hillary have the entire establishment on her side? Yes. So what? Democratic primary voters and caucus-goers spoke loud and clear that they wanted a more progressive policy vision for the Democratic Party; ideologically, Bernie won.
Bernie didn’t quite make it for the nomination. But let’s get history straight. Within the Democratic Party, both sides largely played by the rules.
For 2020, I’m completely undecided. More importantly to me though, I am determined to play my part to minimize personal and delegitimizing sniping within the Democratic race. I refuse to be silent this time when I see advocates for given candidates playing into the divides about rigging and legitimacy within the Democratic Party that will inevitably be ginned up once again by Russian military intelligence.
Debating real policy differences is healthy. Tearing down our democratic system with cynical attacks is not.
Failing to be newly aware that we are being watched, analyzed, and manipulated this time is the only way we can lose. I don’t think it is too much to ask of one another to keep this reality foremost in our minds when we are facing such an existential threat to the continuing existence of our liberal democratic system. I am open to each and every candidate, including Bernie, because we must win in 2020. Any candidate who questions the legitimacy of another candidate will lose my vote immediately.
Not only would I vote for a turnip over the incumbent corruptizoid, I also pledge not to make cynical personal and delegitimizing attacks on that turnip. Do you?