While I have been critical of some of Bernie Sanders’ tactics over the past year, I still do think he’s a good guy who has a lot of great intentions. I don’t agree with all of his policy stances, but I do agree with most of them. If he ended up being the Democratic nominee this year, I would proudly fight for and support him just as I would Hillary Clinton or pretty much any solid Democratic candidate.
As I’ve said more times than I can count, there’s too much at stake this election for us to not unite behind Democrats this November to keep Republicans out of the White House and hopefully take back some power in Congress. Especially now with a dangerous fascist like Donald Trump winning the GOP nomination.
All that being said, and while I know his supporters are going to bash me relentlessly for saying this (the comments section and “unlikes” I’m sure to get will prove this), Bernie Sanders is being quite hypocritical right now.
Look, if you’re someone who honestly believes the system is “rigged” against Sanders, or “voter fraud” gave Clinton wins in New York, Arizona and Nevada, then stop reading this now. Nothing I say is going to convince you that you’re wrong. Heck, even when FiveThirtyEight.com (a website that does nothing but statistically break down things) used indisputable math to prove that the system isn’t “rigged” against Sanders — many called them a “shill for Clinton.” That’s what I mean when I say a lot of people really don’t want facts, they just want to be told what they want to hear.
But the truth of the matter is, Sanders is being rather hypocritical with his criticism of the primary process and superdelegetes.
First, let’s start with his complaints about the primary process itself.
He’s been a vocal critic of closed primaries for some time now, which makes sense from his perspective considering he performs better in open primaries. So, he’s argued that they’re unfair and they disenfranchise voters, and his supporters have agreed that they’re not very democratic.
Okay, fair enough.
However, I notice he never complains about caucuses which are much less democratic and far more effective at suppressing the vote. To vote in a caucus often means you have to dedicate hours of your day just to cast a “vote.” It’s ridiculous some states still use this process when a primary is simple, easy and has proven to get many more people involved in the voting process. Then again, he does extremely well in most caucuses so, clearly, he’s not going to complain about those too much.
Just look at the state of Washington which oddly holds both a caucus and a primary (even though they only count the caucus results). In March, Sanders soundly beat Clinton in the Washington caucus 73 to 27 – with a voter turnout estimated at around 230,000. Meanwhile, in a primary where everyone voting knew it was basically pointless, the Washington primary election had a turnout of over 700,000.
Think about that for a moment: more than three times the number of people showed up for a pointless primary than the caucus which actually mattered.
But Bernie Sanders wants to complain about closed primaries? Seriously?
That’s just flat-out hypocritical. It’s kind of ridiculous to act concerned about wanting to make sure voter turnout is high, and claim you want a primary environment that’s more inclusive to everyone who wants to vote, then completely ignore the fact that caucuses are, by far, much more undemocratic simply because he does well in them.
Furthermore, based on indisputable statistical data, FiveThirtyEight.com stated that Clinton’s lead might even be larger if all the states held open primaries — which is what Sanders and his supporters say would be more “fair.”
Then there’s the superdelegate situation.
Originally the argument from Sanders and his supporters was that superdelegates are undemocratic and only the pledged delegates should count. This eventually morphed into the claim that superdelegates should side with whichever candidate won their particular state. While that argument makes sense, it also defeats the purpose of superdelegates. So if we’re going to say that superdelegates should side with the candidate who wins the state, then just get rid of them. That’s probably what needs to happen anyway.
However, now his argument seems to flip-flop between they should support the candidate who won their particular state and they should side with him because he polls better against Donald Trump.
In other words, he seems to be arguing that all the superdelegates in the states he won should side with him, because he won their state. However, he’s completely ignoring his very own “rule” by saying that in the states Clinton won, they should ignore the voters there and side with him based on polls.
So, which is it? It has to be one or the other — but it can’t be both.
Not only that, but even if superdelegates did align with the candidate based on the election results from their state, he would still be losing to Clinton rather badly. This argument doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense if we’re talking about his chances of becoming the Democratic nominee.
Again, this is not meant to be an “attack” on Sanders, but he’s being a hypocrite with these arguments. He’s picking and choosing parts of the primary process that don’t favor him and arguing that they should be changed. Yet he’s not speaking out against the parts of the primary process where he’s done well, even if those parts are far more “undemocratic.”
Moreover, these rules have been around for decades. As a 25+ year member of Congress, he’s known about them since he was first elected, so he absolutely knew about them when he decided he was going to run for president last year. Yet I’ve never once heard him complaining about any of this stuff until after the primary was clearly not going his way. It’s a tad hypocritical for him to demand that the party make all these changes (nearly all that would have benefitted him), when he never seemed to have an issue with them before.
Is any of this a big deal? No, not really. He’s a politician, they all lie and they’re all hypocrites at times.
It just so happens that Bernie Sanders is supported by a very passionate group of supporters, many of whom seem to think that he can say and do no wrong. But the truth is, while he’s a very good man and has been an extremely valuable member of Congress for over a quarter century — he’s clearly still a politician.
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