A story published recently by Observer claimed that a court ruled the DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz rigged the Democratic primary against Bernie Sanders. The original headline for that Observer article literally said that:
Court Holds DNC and Wasserman Schulz Rigged Primaries Against Sanders
The only problem with that headline is — it’s not remotely factual. That’s why if you see the story now, the headline reads:
Court Concedes DNC Had the Right to Rig Primaries Against Sanders
While more factually accurate, it’s still an incredibly misleading headline based upon what the court actually said.
This all centers around a lawsuit filed by some Sanders supporters against the Democratic National Committee and former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The plaintiff claimed that they had sufficient evidence to prove that the primary was rigged, so they wanted the DNC to admit that it was, while also seeking monetary restitution for feeling as if they were cheated.
The lawsuit never had a chance, for reasons I’ll explain in just a little bit.
When the judge dismissed the lawsuit, they did so by saying:
In evaluating Plaintiffs’ claims at this stage, the Court assumes their allegations are true…
The order then listed the grievances filed against the DNC and Ms. Wasserman Schultz.
So, since the person who wrote this Observer piece didn’t understand how any of this works, they assumed this was the judge ruling that the primary was, in fact, rigged against Sanders.
Except that’s not-at-all what the judge actually said.
When this lawsuit was dismissed, what the judge’s order did was, for the sake of argument at that stage of the case, assumed that everything alleged against the DNC were true. However, what they found was that, even if every single thing the plaintiffs alleged against the DNC and Wasserman Schultz were, in fact, 100 percent factual — they still wouldn’t have a case.
That means the original headline of this Observer article was basically the definition of “fake news.” I’ll give them some credit for at least amending the original piece to include updated information, but the damage had already been done. Retractions rarely get the same sort of attention as an eye-grabbing piece of clickbait that, ultimately, turns out to be false.
However, even in the updated version with the second headline, the court didn’t “concede the DNC had the right to rig the primaries against Sanders.” All it did was rule that the court’s power is limited and it doesn’t have jurisdiction to preside over such a case.
And why is that?
Because the DNC is a private organization, while courts handle issues related to laws and our Constitution. So, since there aren’t laws that say either the DNC or RNC must hold primaries to pick their party’s presidential candidates, there was absolutely no case. To be perfectly honest, every political party in this country can simply pick whatever candidate they want.
In fact, until a few decades ago, that’s what both parties did.
What most people who feel the primary was rigged have focused on are a handful of emails, mostly dated in May or later of last year (long after Clinton had already essentially locked up the nomination) where some DNC staffers, including Wasserman Schultz, expressed frustration with Sanders continuing to stay in the race and with some of the comments he had made about the party.
Furthermore, as I’ve pointed out before, the primary wasn’t “rigged.” Hillary Clinton defeated Bernie Sanders because she did much better with minority voters than he did. That’s exactly why the racial make up of the states each candidate won breaks down like this:
Hillary Clinton (28 states):
- White: 64%
- African American: 16%
- Latino: 14%
Bernie Sanders (22 states):
- White: 78%
- African American: 5%
- Latino: 8%
The numbers don’t lie.
Unless the “primary was rigged” folks can explain how white voters didn’t seem to be impacted by this alleged “rigging,” yet minorities (especially African Americans) were, then their conspiracy doesn’t make any sense. That or they’re saying that white voters were simply more informed, and less prone to the “rigging,” than minorities — which is racist.
Look, I understand emotions were high last year, and a lot of people really invested themselves in the “Feel the Bern” movement, but the fact that it’s over a year later and there are still people going on and on about the 2016 primary is a bit much.
Bernie Sanders lost, not because the primary was rigged, but because Hillary Clinton simply did better with minority voters than he did.
I know that’s not what the “the primary was rigged” individuals want to hear, but that’s just the truth. Were some people inside the DNC probably pulling for Clinton more than Sanders? Of course. But the bottom line is, the 2016 Democratic primary was conducted under the same rules as the 2008 primary. It came down to the minority vote, which Hillary Clinton won fairly easily over Bernie Sanders — not because there was some “conspiracy to rig the primary against him.”
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