Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sanders Should Stop Whining About Nominating Process

I'm getting a bit tired of Bernie Sanders complaining about the nominating process of the Democratic Party -- trying to convince voters that he would be winning if only the process was fair. Frankly, I don't remember any other candidate of either party complaining as much about the process (except for Donald Trump, and that's not very good company to be keeping).

First, he was complaining that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was not being fair -- that they had stacked the deck against him, and in favor of Hillary Clinton. That's patently ridiculous. The DNC has been scrupulously fair in how they have acted. There is no benefit for them to take sides in this campaign, and they haven't done so. They are in the business of supporting Democratic candidates, and it defeats their purpose to alienate supporters of any candidate (possibly hurting down-ballot Democrats).

When that failed to bring Democrats to support him, he changed the message. Now it was the so-called "super delegates" that were making the process unfair. This argument was even more disingenuous. I have no doubt that if the super delegates were supporting him instead of Hillary Clinton, he would be fine with having them as part of the process. He is only whining about super delegates because most of them think Hillary Clinton would be a better candidate for the Democratic Party.

He has recently backed off criticizing the super delegates. That's because he realizes that the only faint hope he has lies in convincing those super delegates to change their minds. That is unlikely to happen though, because those delegates will do exactly what Bernie wanted them to do -- support the candidate that rank-and-file Democrats want. That would be Hillary Clinton, who leads by a significant margin in primary/caucus delegates and in the popular vote of Democrats (by 2.4 million votes).

Bernie hasn't stopped whining about the "unfair process" though. He has just switched messages again. He is now complaining about having to run in Southern states early in the primary process, calling that a "conservative" part of the country. That's ludicrous for several reasons.

First, the first two states to vote (Iowa and New Hampshire) were states where Bernie was favored. The Southern states (with the exception of South Carolina) didn't vote until a month later (on Super Tuesday).

Second, the Democrats in those Southern states are no more conservative than Democrats in other states. The real conservatives in those states fled the Democratic Party long ago, and currently vote Republican. This happened right after a Democratic president and Congress pushed through the civil rights laws in the 1960's. The Democratic Party in the South may actually be more progressive than in some other states, because of this flight of conservatives from the party.

Third, the reason that Sanders didn't do well in the Southern states is because those states have a diverse Democratic base (with significant percentages of Blacks and Hispanics -- two groups that Sanders has failed to convince he would make a good presidential candidate). Does Sanders really support denying these groups a voice early in the campaign? Does he really think they should vote only after whites have made their choice known? Isn't that the same as making them sit in the back of the bus?

Fourth, the national party doesn't determine the order of state primaries and caucuses. That decision is made by each individual state.

The truth is that all the candidates, including Sanders, knew what the rules were before they chose to run -- and the process has been equally fair to all candidates. Bernie Sanders is not losing because of an unfair process. He is losing because most Democrats prefer Hillary Clinton to be their nominee.

(NOTE -- The caricature above of Bernie Sanders is by DonkeyHotey.)

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