Make no mistake; the title of this blog is a take-off on the “Feel the Berne” rallying cry of Bernie Sanders’ (BS) supporters with the intention of conveying just the opposite which is to say that there is plenty of reason to be burned up at BS.  That is because, for all his high-minded rhetoric the Vermont  senator has steadily engaged in, a significant deception on his part has splintered  potential Democratic voters into three distinct groups:  Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) supporters, Sanders’ supporters who are unsure who they will vote for if their man isn’t the nominee, and out of that latter sub-group, there are those who have vowed to vote for Primadonald.

The “I”m going to vote for Primadonald” folks have made it clear that by so doing, they will be engaging in an act of retaliation. Getting even for what? Here’s where the Sanders’ deception rears its ugly head:  For months, HRC’s opponent has repeatedly bellowed that “the system is rigged”, but never clarified as to whether he is referring to our nation’s political system OR, the Democratic Party’s system of choosing its presidential candidate.

Leaving this matter in that ambiguous state as Sanders has consistently  done, opens the door to  claims that every time BS loses a primary or caucus, it’s because  the party’s system is supposedly rigged. The allegation surfaced in upper case letters when Sanders lost the NY primary, and it appeared again in boldface/upper case letters during and after the State Democratic Convention in Nevada. where HRC picked up the majority of pledged delegates.

Is there any justification for the “rigged” assertion? Multiple facts and sources will be offered here by way of demonstrating that it is wholly lacking in validity. Consider the following:

+ To date, Sanders has accumulated over 9 million votes and won almost two dozen primaries and caucuses. These victories have allowed him to remain in the contest for the nomination  in spite of the reality that his ongoing presence is a detriment to HRC’s own campaign. Any rigging that has gone on has patently been a failure.

+ In both NY and Nevada (see above), many Sanders’ supporters have made it abundantly clear that they either never learned the rules that govern the Democratic Party’s candidate selection process, OR knowingly have disregarded them (1, 2).

+ Following from the previous point, in Nevada, a relatively small group of Sanders supporters became overtly distraught, engaged in an ugly demonstration and the subsequent transmission of threatening e-mails directed at convention speakers and the state’s party leadership. The content of their objections reflected either a lack of understanding of procedural rules or a conscious decision to pay them no heed (again, see footnotes 1, 2).

+ Called on to repudiate the actions and words of an admittedly few, Sanders offered up a statement that was on target both in content and tone. However, at midpoint he inserted a “but” whereupon he sought to justify the behavior of the angry dissenters.  The effect of the latter half of his remarks was to mitigate the impact of the more important and much-needed first half of the message. (3) Talk about a “mixed message”.

It follows from the previous four points that not only is the Democratic Party’s candidate selection process impartial, Sanders and his supporters have no basis for claiming otherwise. Indeed, it is an interesting historical fact that this same system actually deprived HRC of the nomination in 2008 when the then-senator competed against Barack Obama. It is reasonable to assert that back then, she learned from that loss and put that education to use this time around. On the flip side of that argument, one could posit that Sanders didn’t learn how the system worked before deciding to run, and is now seeking to shift the responsibility for that failure to a party who deserves no ownership of it whatsoever.

Finally, it is long past time for Bernie Sanders to step up and admit to his supporters that he has lost fair and square in a system that has neither been rigged nor stacked against him. Failing to do that, the senator is tacitly giving his angriest followers permission to engage in retaliatory voting. In a campaign season that is crazier than any on record, that shifting of the odds towards a Primadonald presidency is worse than cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. It is more akin to lopping off another, more important midline structure.

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  1. http://www.politifact.com/nevada…allegations-fraud-and-misconduct-nevada. Dated 5-18-16
  2. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-clinton-sanders-democrats-20160516-snap-story.html
  3. Lupica, M. “Sanders keeps fighting as it Hillary Clinton’s lead is a huge lie”. New York Daily News; 5-22-1016

 

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