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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Here we are again. Last time, it came down to Bernie Sanders vs. Hillary Clinton. This time, it’s Bernie head-to-head with Joe Biden, for the Democratic presidential nomination.
And, despite some early wins, Sanders has found himself suddenly trailing a resurgent Biden in the race for delegates.
Depending on what happens next, there’s even a question of whether Sanders will be able to sufficiently catch up in amassing delegates to have a realistic shot at the nomination.
And with Bernie back in second place, his supporters are beginning to come back with some familiar complaints.
They complain that the Democratic “establishment” never wanted Sanders to win the nomination.
They have also begun crying that Bernie’s the victim of a Democratic National Committee (DNC) conspiracy, as well as general “unfairness.”
I’m willing to entertain that, yes, the Democratic establishment doesn’t particularly want Bernie as the nominee.
What I don’t entertain, because I have seen zero evidence, is some conspiracy like DNC Chairman Tom Perez calling up someone in a back room somewhere, at the DNC headquarters and saying, “Sorry, guys, now’s the time to pull the plug on Bernie’s campaign,” like he can just make that happen.
I say that as someone who voted for Bernie last time. (Disclosure: I’m supporting Joe Biden at this point.)
If Bernie doesn’t win the nomination this year it will not be because of some grand “unfairness of it all,” it will be because of such factors as:
- He’s a 78 year old man who had a heart attack who refuses to release further health information (which sounds very much like something Donald Trump would do. Voters are entitled to this information before pulling the lever for someone who could be at the brink of death. We just don’t know.)
- And he simply has not sufficiently expanded his base with African American voters, which is a key Democratic bloc.
A Bernie supporter complained to me that Bernie’s support suffered on Super Tuesday at the hands of the candidates who dropped out and swung their support to Biden (ie Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Beto O’Rourke), as well as some vague involvement by former presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.
First of all, the former candidates specifically did what they did, when they did it, to give Biden as much of a boost as possible. Buttigieg, O’Rourke and Klobuchar were very transparent about their intentions to help Joe Biden.
None of the three were ever under any obligation to help or support Bernie Sanders if they disagree with him. They are completely free to endorse and support Biden if that’s what they believe is right.
And, as for the involvement of Carter and Obama? It’s not clear how they supposedly undermined Sanders.
For one thing, Carter actually endorsed Bernie last time. And it’s not clear how either former president could have engineered anything on a scale large enough to cause Sanders to lose unfairly on Super Tuesday.
If Sanders or his backers want to allege a real conspiracy or some true unfairness, present something concrete. Put forward evidence.
Otherwise, it just sounds like a candidate and his supporters who tried a second time–but once again, may be coming up painfully short.
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