As co-host of her television show The View, Meghan McCain was quoted this past week as saying:
“The thing I will say about [Bernie Sanders] is don’t underestimate him,” the View co-host said Tuesday, citing his 2016 sweep of New Hampshire and his success in taking nearly half of Iowa — the first two primary states, which will be important targets for candidates.
“This time there are no superdelegates to come against him at the convention like what happened before,” McCain added, referring to the Democratic National Committee’s rule change last year that stripped superdelegates of much of their power in deciding the party’s nominee.
|I dunno. Maybe the fact that Trump won?|
But Kurt Eichenwald in his Newsweek article has thoroughly debunked the misapprehension that the Democratic primary was somehow rigged against Sanders. Clinton won the Democratic nomination because she won the clear majority of votes in the primary, and there is no evidence that she came by those votes unethically. Furthermore, her margin of victory was comfortable and did not require the superdelegates to clinch the nomination. The Democratic National Committee e-mails, that were apparently stolen by anti-Hillary forces and dumped to counter the emergence of the embarrassing Access Hollywood tape of Trump boasting about assaulting women, contained some tasteless phrasing by DNC subordinates about Sanders and evinced a clear preference for Clinton (the actual Democrat) in the contest, but they did not reveal a primary process that intentionally disadvantaged Sanders.
A legitimate criticism of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is how it began. The party’s major donors and the Democratic Party leadership virtually anointed Clinton as the Democratic standard-bearer, financially and institutionally discouraging any other major candidates, such as Vice President Joe Biden, from running against her. So, the genesis of the Clinton campaign suggests some collusion on the part of the Democratic Party’s major players to clear a path for her so that she could run in the primaries all but unopposed, and this betrays a Democratic primary that was not as democratic as it ought to have been. To this day, Clinton critics take this anointing a step further and say the Democratic Party’s favoring of her at the primary’s early stages involved coercion to compel other major candidates not to run, but there is no credible evidence of this. Furthermore, as Ezra Klein points out, Clinton’s cleared path provided an opening for Sanders to run as the most conspicuous alternative to her, an opening that he dexterously seized. So, any Democratic Party collusion at the start of Clinton’s campaign worked in Sanders’ favor, not against it. However, once the initial voting got underway, “the overall 2016 primary process was fair,” in the words of Senator Elizabeth Warren, who once agreed that the primary had been rigged but then backtracked (see the Klein article).
Still, given the acrimony over the results of the 2016 presidential election and the severe dislike of Hillary Clinton in some quarters of the liberal left, I suspect that the misapprehension of how the vote went down will harden into doctrine. The idea that the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged against Sanders might become one more “fact” that never really happened.