Once Again, the Democrats Rig a Primary: It Will Matter

Congratulations to the Democratic Party for doing what the Republicans never managed to in a previous election. For the second primary election in a row, the Democrats have rigged the election to keep Bernie Sanders from becoming the party's nominee, apparently afraid of his ideas. This move cost them the election in 2016 and it threatens to do the same in 2020 as many young Democrats are thoroughly unexcited by the candidate who nobody would ever describe as exciting. The resulting discord in the Democratic Party will only increase the chances that President Trump wins four more years in the White House.

Many will remember the 2016 Republican primary as a freewheeling affair. The Republican Party typically needed two separate debates to accommodate the numerous candidates that were running. The establishment of the party initially lined up behind the early frontrunner Jeb Bush. However, Bush proved that President Trump's characterization of him as "low energy" was actually true, and Bush fell by the wayside early. What is notable is that the Republican Party recognized that Trump was leading a grassroots movement and was gaining in popularity with the rank-and-file. They stood back and let Trump win party support which is exactly what he did. Of course, we all know how the story ends with Trump living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Ignore the Bernie Bros at Your Own Peril

Contrast that with the actions of the Democratic Party in 2016. The party bosses used the shadowy superdelegate process to shut down the insurgent candidacy of Bernie Sanders, conspiring against him nearly every step of the way and denying him his fair shot at winning over the hearts and minds of Democratic voters. They paid a price for this. A sizable proportion of Bernie's voters were simply trying to use a vote for Sanders to express their disgust with the system. Faced with business as usual in the Democratic Party, they gravitated towards the other candidate who was viewed as a disruptor and it was not Hillary Clinton. In fact, the defection of the Bernie Bros is one of the main reasons why Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office.

Fast forward four years and the Democrats are up to the same tricks one more time. While they have changed some of the rules regarding the superdelegates, the party leadership still hates Bernie Sanders. Once again, Sanders' ideas won over a large part of the Democratic base, including young voters and Latinos. However, the party leadership once again rigged the election against Sanders.

The Party Bosses Pick Biden Outside of the Smoke-Filled Room

This time, the party bosses got together behind their preferred candidate and put heavy pressure on everyone else to fall in line fast. At the time that the leaders coalesced behind Joe Biden, he was coming off three primaries and caucuses where he was badly beaten. He had one election where he performed according to his expectations. Immediately, party leaders from Barack Obama all the way down put the fix on and pressured candidates like Pete Buttigieg to drop out of the race and endorse Biden. Buttigieg had earned the right to go further in the race in light of his strong showings in Iowa and New Hampshire. Nonetheless, he was told to get back in his place and get behind Sleepy Joe.

While the party bosses think that choosing their preferred candidate is smart politics, they will still need to contend with the Bernie Bros who are not any less disgusted than they were in 2016. These voters still swear that they will not pull the lever for Biden in November no matter what. It remains to be seen whether they will will vote for Trump or simply stay home. Even their absence from the polls is the same thing as a vote for Trump.

The Democrats simply cannot learn to listen to the loudest voices in their party and insist on nominating vanilla candidates as their standard-bearer. Their failure to listen to their base will likely result in another four years in the wilderness because the young voters were practically the most astute in terms of spotting the problems with Joe Biden. Now, the Democrats are left with a weak and underfunded candidate when Trump's reelection machinery has a war chest of money and data to use to get him reelected. Perhaps this will teach the Democrats to let their base speak as opposed to having party leadership speak for them.

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