In 2016, many of us objected to the concerted effect of the Democratic establishment and the Democratic National Committee to rig the primary for Hillary Clinton. Later it was revealed that the Clintons have largely taken over the DNC by taking over its debt and the DNC openly harassed and hampered Sanders at every stage. Despite this effort, Sanders came close to beating Clinton, who has never forgiven him for contesting a primary that she literally bought and paid for with the DNC. The simmering rage was still evident recently in Clinton’s attack on Sanders and suggestion that she might not support him if he were the nominee (a suggestion that she later took back). She continued her attacks this week and it has served to remind voters, particularly younger voters, of the DNC interference with the primary election. After the scandal, the DNC pledged to reform itself and reduce the power of establishment figures and superdelegates at the convention. Now, however, Politico is reporting that DNC members are again discussing changing the rules to stop Sanders. This follows the selection of Clinton allies to control the convention and a shocking level of anti-Sanders bias shown by CNN at the last debate. In the meantime, the DNC has been criticized for clearing the way for Michael Bloomberg by changing its rules to help him make the debates.
Reportedly, a group of Democratic National Committee members are discussing ways to undermine Sanders and allow for a convention stop on his candidacy. The plan centers around the superdelegates to reverse reforms and allow them to vote on the first ballot. In other words, the supers would be brought back in to keep Sanders out.
William Owen, a Tennessee DNC member, acknowledged the discussion and said that he does not support the effort. He noted that they agreed it could be “tough.” One would hope so. The plan would make a mockery of all of the prior statements of regret and reform after the rigged primary for Clinton. It would confirm in the mind of critics that the DNC is only interested in creating the appearance of democratic choice and only to the extent that the voters do what the establishment expects.
In fairness to the DNC, the report only refers to a small group and it is unlikely to succeed. However, the fact that it is being discussed is alarming after the Clinton attack and the selection of Clinton allies to head the convention. The fear is that Sanders could win Iowa and come to the convention with the most votes. It would challenge the view that Biden is the unassailable nominee — just as he challenged the same view with Clinton.
These moves are likely to only strengthen the resolve of the surging Sanders supporters. Sanders is receiving the most support among young voters — an extraordinary accomplishment given his age and mainstream opposition. The Democratic Party is clearly not willing to move beyond the control and fealty extended to the Clintons. That could easily force a final reckoning at the convention over who controls the Democratic party.