While the Internet has brought the world unbelievable advancements throughout the years, the downside is that it’s also increased the amount of misinformation that gets passed off as “fact” and quickly becomes “truth” to those who choose to believe everything they read or see on a meme. In today’s world, all that’s required for a person who has no idea what they’re talking about to appear knowledgable is a computer, an Internet connection and the ability to present their inaccurate opinion as “fact.”
Take for instance the conspiracy I’ve seen pushed all over social media following the New Hampshire primary. Many people now seem to think that the DNC is trying to rig the election for Hillary Clinton by “awarding” more delegates to her than Bernie Sanders, who soundly won New Hampshire.
Several huge liberal Facebook pages with millions of “likes” were pushing this nonsense, getting tens of thousands of people to share it with their friends and family. Not only that, but I saw several other liberal Facebook pages sharing articles from conservative websites which were trying to hype up this “story” in a calculated attempt to push the conspiracy. All based on the fact that a system that’s been around for decades is being attacked by people who seemingly have no idea how it actually works.
Now, for the facts. For months it’s been widely known that Clinton has led Sanders in superdelegates. Granted, many Sanders supporters might not know that because most of the pro-Sanders pages and websites would likely never tell them that. But it’s been a well-known fact for many months.
For the record, a “superdelegate” is someone who’s free to support whoever they want regardless of how the primaries and caucuses go.
Fun fact: Tad Devine, a key Sanders advisor, is credited as the person who helped create the superdelegate system.
So, that in and of itself sort of nullifies the idiocy of this “conspiracy.” It’s rather ridiculous to claim a “conspiracy against Sanders” based upon a system that one of his top advisors created and defended.
Time for some more facts: When it comes to New Hampshire, Sanders won more state delegates (15) than Clinton (9) – just as he was supposed to. But because of the six superdelegates who support Clinton, she could end up with 15 as well (2 others are still undecided).
It’s a conspiracy! The DNC has rigged it! The Clinton machine is never going to let Sanders win the nomination!
Yeah, about that. Believe it or not, this has happened before. In fact, it happened in New Hampshire – in 2008. Only then it was Barack Obama who lost the state but ended up with more delegates than Hillary Clinton who actually won the state.
So, was the DNC anti-Clinton back in 2008? Because I can tell you this much, in 2008, the DNC was not working against Clinton – despite the fact that the exact same thing happened then that happened this year, only in 2008 it went against her.
And here’s another fun fact: Despite the indisputable reality that Barack Obama ultimately became the Democratic nominee for president – he lost the overall popular vote to Hillary Clinton. Yes, then-Senator Obama became the Democratic nominee even though “the people” technically chose Hillary Clinton.
Which means if you want to argue that “all that should matter is the popular vote” and “delegates and superdelegates are stupid” then you have to also argue that Clinton should have won in 2008, not Obama. That would technically mean she should be president right now, not him.
The bottom line is, this has been the Democratic party’s process and it has affected other candidates in varying ways. If you want to advocate for changing it, by all means, go for it! If you want to push for certain superdelegates to change their support to Sanders, more power to you. But pushing asinine conspiracy theories about the DNC screwing over Bernie Sanders doesn’t do anybody any favors – including Bernie Sanders.
So, please, as I’ve begged for months, I don’t care who you support for the Democratic nomination, just make sure the sources that you’re getting your information from actually know what it is they’re talking about. There are plenty of factual issues out there to support or criticize either candidate without the need to push conspiracies based on someone’s incompetence surrounding a particular issue.
Though as I’ve also said, I have to question the true “progressive” beliefs of anyone, any website or any Facebook page who would actively try to “take down” a candidate by using right-wing tactics, pushing ridiculous conspiracies and misinformation based on an agenda rather than facts. It’s been my belief that, as progressives, a big part of what makes “our side” better is that we care about facts, not hyper-partisan rhetoric devoid of reality. Which is why it’s disheartening to see so many “liberal” pages treating facts as if they’re subjective to push whatever agenda they might have.
Democrats have two great candidates and our mission in 2016 should be to support whomever wins, unite behind them as one and vote blue no matter who. The one goal in 2016 must be to keep Republicans out of the White House. There’s far too much at stake to let the GOP reclaim the Oval Office.