Many perspectives, 1 simple etiquette

Media Bashes Sanders for Telling Truth about Rigged Election System

Author: 420 Times
Created: 18 May, 2016
Updated: 17 October, 2022
3 min read

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank claims that Bernie Sanders' criticism of the Democratic Party's nomination process risks handing the presidency to Donald Trump.

"The Vermont socialist is now running against the Democratic Party." So the name-calling begins.

You should expect more as the Democratic establishment fears that the momentum building behind Sanders may produce a big win in California that could translate into nervous superdelegates and more difficulty at the Democratic Convention than party leaders want to admit is possible.

Sanders telling the truth about a rigged primary is ... well, it's telling the truth.

Trump took on a rigged Republican Party and beat it into submission. Sanders has come darn close to doing the same and -- contrary to the spin -- it ain't over.

In the same column, Milbank repeated the Democratic Party's version of events in the recent Nevada Democratic Caucus where some Sanders delegates behaved badly.

Milbank, however, left out the part of the story that led to the bad behavior. Simply put, the Sanders delegates followed the rules and the pro-Clinton forces running the caucus simply cheated.

Read More: Corroborating Evidence Shows Clinton Camp Tampering with Delegate Count in Nevada

The same thing happened in the season's first caucus in Iowa when party leaders preempted a surge of Sanders voters by simply prematurely announcing the "results."

Closed primaries, caucuses, superdelegates, and captive newsies are all part of an archaic election process literally owned and operated by two private corporations, each afforded more special privilege than any person or other corporation in the country.

Trump and Sanders did not happen overnight. Republicans and Democrats have worked together for decades in courtrooms and statehouses to enhance the power of the two parties in the election process. The result is a polarized political class that actively seeks to exploit and even create division among voters.

Decades of pandering by politicians from both parties to their respective base voters without results has bred a cynical electorate ready to embrace the populist call to "throw the bums out."

Milbank would serve his country better if he admonished each of the parties to abandon the rigged election process, embrace open, public primaries, and accept the results of popular votes. Given that his interest seems more focused on Trump than the country, perhaps he'd be more interested in this reality:

Hillary Clinton, assuming she is the nominee, desperately needs Bernie Sanders and his voters. If the price for that support is to democratize the election process, Sanders will have contributed more to the country's future than anyone could ever have imagined.

Read More: Major Parties Conduct State-by-State Effort to Limit Voter Participation

From time to time, open representative democracy may or may not produce the election results either Mr. Milbank or I would prefer. But, over time, we would be far better served by politicians whose fate is tied to the broad electorate rather than to the narrow interests of the political class that uses the archaic primary system to insulate themselves from the public at large while amplifying the voices of discord and division.

It is this system and a pandering press that produces the possibility of a Trump presidency, not Bernie Sanders.

Author's note: Steve Peace is a former California Democratic State Senator, founding co-chair of the Independent Voter Project, the author of California's nonpartisan, open primary system. He is a long-time supporter of both Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Photo Credit: a katz / Shutterstock.com