Recently, Tom Perez felt compelled to go along with (but later retracted) the lie that the Democratic primary was “rigged” against Bernie Sanders. For many die-hard Berners, the only possible explanation for Sanders’ failure to win the nomination is the myth that the system had been “rigged” to steal The Precious from him. For the umpteenth time, let’s please try to dispel this unfounded notion, okay? The future of the Democratic Party (and the defeat of impending Fascist America) will depend on it.
Take a deep breath. Say it with me now:
Bernie Sanders lost the primary.
Let’s try that again.
Bernie Sanders lost the primary. Fair and square.
Here’s a pinch of logic to digest. If Hillary had the magical power to manipulate primary outcomes in every state she won, we need to ask ourselves this: Why didn’t she unleash her sorcery to rig the battle in 2008 against Barack Obama? Students of history will recall that Barack Obama won that nomination, defeating Hillary. Just barely, but he did win.
Now, let’s try this.
Hillary won the primary.
Say it one more time.
Hillary won the primary. 55% to 43%*
*(Note that tally; there’s nothing “just barely” about it.)
How can this be? ask incredulous progressives. Take a look at the basics:
Hillary Clinton was a lifelong Democrat. And she always will be. Bernie Sanders was a lifelong Independent who became a Democrat for 15 months, and then — whad’ya know! — now he’s an Independent again. And he always will be.
After more than 30 years in the public spotlight, Hillary Clinton was more well-known and more widely admired, by a long long long long way, than Sanders could ever be. We can agree that Bernie did very well, considering his relatively unexamined and (face it) unremarkable 30-year career on the back bench in Congress.
Yes, he came out of nowhere and was able to launch a movement whose voice deserves to be respected. Much can be learned from how Bernie Sanders inspired a lot of disillusioned voters, how he mobilized a substantial fraction of those ardent supporters, how he tapped into creative new ways to raise money, and how he charmed an errant sparrow into perching on his podium, thus making many of his supporters believe in miracles.
But then there’s this:
Bernie Sanders also openly admitted to taking advantage of the Democratic Party for the media coverage and the money.
He said so. Here, we’ll let Bernie speak for himself: “In terms of media coverage, you have to run within the Democratic Party,” and “I’m not a billionaire. So… I thought the right ethic was to run within the Democratic Party.” (We won’t dwell on Bernie’s odd definition of “ethic” as “a means to find large sums of money if you’re not a billionaire.”)
Bernie knew he could never build a movement without the exposure and financial foothold the DNC establishment could provide for him. When his plan collapsed, he showed his gratitude to the DNC by turning around and kicking its leadership square in the balls. His quest to enlist enough freshman revolutionaries just wasn’t adding up. His vigor soon turned to despair and his rhetoric reflected his desperation, but he knew he had one last ace up his sleeve. He could try to knock the whole table over, and attempt to destroy the candidate who was methodically whipping his butt, state by state. When he realized he had failed to sway the vast majority of non-white voters, not only the South but the crucial Southwest as well, he began to shout point blank: “the system is rigged!” He kept drilling those words into his saddened followers: “Rigged System! Goldman Sachs! Corrupt Establishment!”
Again and again he said it. At last, when Sanders saw he had no chance to win, he made gestures to embrace the opponent he had spent weeks and months branding as a corrupt. But by then he had already peed in the fountain, hadn’t he? When it was time to turn things around and use his diminishing clout to defeat Trump, he couldn’t do it. He had sold those lies “rigged and corrupt” too well. His reversal was too little, too late.
Donald Trump, ever ready to pounce on the gullible and disenchanted, chimed in to confirm the pet fear of the far left, convincing many on the fence that the primary was rigged. Supported by legions of Putin operatives, Trump trolls infiltrated online groups to pick up the hammer to do further damage to Hillary Clinton — all the while propping up Bernie Sanders, the weaker candidate. It was classic ratfucking, a reliable scheme employed by the GOP since the Nixon era.
We might spend a lot of time arguing over details, but can we please not? It’s a losing argument for your side. No one rigged the primary. Bernie Sanders lost the South. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had all won the South, and no Democrat in modern times who didn’t has ever won the White House. Bernie never came close to holding that key because Bernie was never there. Not only did he never invest the time and money to woo non-white southern voters, he shrugged them off as too ill-informed to be worth the effort — his supporters continue the ugly lie that only racist whites voted for Hillary in the South, discount the majority of votes she did have: women of color. He never connected with those voters — the Democratic base. That’s why he couldn’t win the primary, and if he could not win the primary, he could not have won the election.
If it soothes die-hard Bernie supporters to believe he would have won, they’ll have to suckle that fantasy teat without the help of Democrats who have more urgent things to attend to in the real world. But can we all at least drop fiction that Sanders lost because the primary was rigged? Anyone clinging to that delusion is as bad as the poorly educated Trumpsters who can’t distinguish between reality and PrisonPlanet propaganda and Infowars conspiracy theories.
Did the DNC leadership prefer Hillary Clinton? Of course! Why wouldn’t they? What if you worked at a high school for 30 years in administration, taking part in fundraising, bake sales, stepping up wherever needed, always pitching in to help out — and you decided to apply for the position of principal. Then suddenly one of the substitute teachers pranced into the gym complaining because all top teachers favored the more loyal employee that everyone had known for decades? Why would administrators be expected to ditch the experienced person who had proven herself reliable in favor of an interloper who did nothing but badmouth and sneer at the everyone on the school board?
The DNC owed Bernie nothing. Having a preference for a stronger individual isn’t rigging. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are not equals. She has immensely more experience in politics and has devoted over three decades of her life to the Democratic party. At this point we should recognize that sexism and misogyny prevents a lot of people from admitting these truths. But let’s move on.
Hillary’s stature and accomplishments were brutally undermined from all sides — by the left, by manipulators on the left and by the right. Enough is enough. Let’s end this now. Stop making good people like Tom Perez pander to the demands of the most extreme liberals who can’t stop inventing excuses for Bernie loss. Really, progressives? In the final tally Obama and Hillary were divided by a mere 45,000 votes. Hillary surely could have cheated in 2008 to win if she had wanted to. Why is it so hard for some people to admit that she won the nomination last year fair and square?
Now you’re asking Democrat leaders to spit on the woman who won the popular vote by 3 million citizens? Is this really the price you will try to demand for unity? Wasn’t it enough retribution that Bernie’s disciples hijacked the platform to weaken Hillary on every front as she politely accepted all your hysterical demands? It was ugly enough that you chanted like spoiled middle-schoolers who didn’t get your tater tots on a Wednesday, while the mother of Sandra Bland took the stage at the Philadelphia convention to talk about her dead daughter. It was bad enough that 7 million of you threw away your vote on Jill Stein, Gary Johnson and Harrambe, just to “teach us a lesson” by handing the election to Donald Trump. How’s that “protest vote” working out for you now, as your healthcare is yanked away, the fragile environment auctioned off, and your immigrant friends denied entry to America and even basic protection of animals stripped? Why are you still kicking your feet and tantrumming like brats and demanding that Democrats “admit” the primary was rigged? You don’t care about the logic and facts and truth. So what is it exactly that you do care about? Is it just about getting your way? Do you plan to stay mad until every Hillary voter gets a tramp-stamp that says “It Was Rigged” on our backsides?
If Bernie could have won the primary then he would have won the primary. It’s absurd to think the media favored Hillary Clinton when all they ever printed and talked about was non-stop emails . Why did that email story even exist and worm its way into your heads? Here’s why: Because Putin and Assange wanted to piss you off and you fell for it — why else would the drip drip drip of the emails even matter? They were tools to make YOU think the primary was rigged so that just enough of you wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton and would instead sit on your thumbs at home murmering, “that’ll teach ‘em.” And you see that as proof the primary was “rigged.”
Word has it that a lot of Berners want to start their own party. More power to them. We stalwart Democrats will do what we must do to adjust. We will set about trying to find a middle-ground with moderate voters who have nowhere to turn now that Trump has revealed himself to be the most inept and corrupt and dangerous president the United States has ever seen. Maybe the far left expects to turn politics inside out like the Tea Party did. But guess what? The right got there first and they intend to tear down everything about America that we liberals cherish. The devastation now being wrought will extend as far back as FDR’s New Deal. So good luck patching this shattered country back together with socialist duct tape after a handful of billionaires are done looting it.
It’s too bad that we can’t work together because together we have the numbers and strength to persist and prevail. But we can’t get busy fighting back as long as Berners insist the primary was rigged. It simply wasn’t. Stop accusing the 66 million Democrats who stood up to Trump of causing this mess. The catastrophe was created by a handful of sinister disrupters, a few hundred thousand gullible malcontents, and 6 million otherwise honorable liberals who got sorely misled. Quit calling loyal Democrats corrupt election-rigging thieves. Open your eyes and see the white nationalists who’ve seized power in D.C who truly deserve your insults and resistance. Please see that there can be no liberating unity on the left until you stop chanting “Crooked Hillary” the way this scum Trump team has taught you to do.