Once again, here we are faced with another “Hillary Clinton scandal” that, once you actually look at the facts, isn’t what many people are claiming it is. While many have said that Donna Brazile’s new book “proves Clinton rigged the primary against Sanders,” that’s not what the former interim DNC chair said.
As reported by NBC News:
In exchange for Hillary for America’s (HFA) helping the cash-strapped DNC raise money, the party committee agreed “that HFA personnel will be consulted and have joint authority over strategic decisions over the staffing, budget, expenditures, and general election related communications, data, technology, analytics, and research.”
However, the memo also made clear that the arrangement pertained to only the general election, not the primary season, and it left open the possibility that it would sign similar agreements with other candidates.
The memo obtained from the DNC actually states:
Nothing in this agreement shall be construed to violate the DNC’s obligation of impartiality and neutrality through the Nominating process. All activities performed under this agreement will be focused exclusively on preparations for the General Election and not the Democratic Primary.
Further we understand you may enter into similar agreements with other candidates
While NBC News also stated that this agreement clearly gave Clinton a slight advantage, because her arrangement was similar, but not exactly the same, as the one offered to Sanders, this idea that it helped her “rig the primary” is absurd.
Again, this deal pertained to the general election, not the primary.
What’s baffling to me is that this agreement was first reported over a year ago. So I’m not sure why it’s being treated as “breaking news.” Not only that, NBC News also points out that the “Sanders campaign later signed its own joint fundraising agreement with the DNC, but did not utilize it.”
Translation: Sanders’ campaign made no effort to help raise money for down-ballot Democrats, unlike Clinton who, aside from running her own campaign, was also out trying to raise money to help the entire party win elections. Sure, Sanders picked and chose down-ballot candidates he wanted to support through rallies or other means, but his campaign chose not to help the Democratic party as a whole help elect solid candidates across the country.
With that said, is it really all that difficult to see why some within the DNC might have favored Clinton? While she was helping them raise money for more than just her own campaign, Sanders wasn’t helping them raise any funds. I’m not saying any favoritism, even in the slightest instances by a few DNC employees, is right. I simply don’t think it’s fair to ignore the fact that Sanders wasn’t trying to help the party as a whole, only seemingly choosing to run as a Democrat to use their resources to boost his chances at the presidency, while Clinton was being a “team player” by helping them raise money for local, state, and national races the party desperately needed to win.
Either way, no matter how many times anyone says “the primary was rigged,” it’s simply not true. That’s not a matter of opinion, that’s indisputable fact based upon the numbers from the actual primaries and caucuses from all 50 states.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid did a fantastic breakdown on Twitter based on common sense and how this all works. There she admits that the Democratic National Committee likely had some who favored Clinton, but points out the states, not the DNC, actually run the various primaries and caucuses. She also mentions how the controversial agreement isn’t anything new, it just came earlier than normal considering, at that time, most assumed Clinton was going to eventually be the nominee.
Though I think it’s important to repeat that the DNC offered a similar agreement to Sanders but he simply chose not to participate.
Now I know some will say that even Senator Elizabeth Warren admitted to CNN’s Jake Tapper that the primary was rigged. Well, of course she did. She’s a smart woman who realizes trying to correct a belief many Sanders supporters feel is true is futile. She understands that it’s easier to focus on repairing wounds than it is to re-litigate a controversy that’s over a year old and doesn’t do us any good to keep rehashing. She also probably hadn’t read Brazile’s book when she said this so he wasn’t exactly sure what the former interim DNC chair actually said.
To be honest, I really don’t want to talk about this anymore, but I figured that there were key facts still not being discussed enough, so I thought I’d address this one more time before I hopefully never have to speak of the 2016 Democratic primary again.
Yes, I was a supporter of Clinton. Yes, I had a few critical things to say about Sanders during the primary, usually when his supporters were contradicting themselves or he was being a hypocrite. For example, his initial insistence that superdelegates shouldn’t decide the nominee, the people should. That later flipped to his campaign suggesting that they were going all the way to the convention, hoping to convince superdelegates to side with him, ignoring the actual votes by the people — which is the opposite of what he was saying months earlier.
That said, I always maintained, from the very beginning, I believed Democrats had two great candidates and I’d proudly back whoever won. I simply had a preference of one over the other. I’ve never understood this mindset that says, “If I’m for one, I have to be against the other.” It’s possible to realize two options are good, but simply prefer one over the other. It’s called an opinion, we’re all allowed to have one.
Hillary Clinton wasn’t my first choice. If it were up to me, I would have gone with Joe Biden or Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Not because I didn’t like Clinton, but I realized her weaknesses as a candidate and knew that even if she were elected, Republicans would spend their every waking moment pushing conspiracy after conspiracy against her, kind of like they are now — and she’s not even the president!
I never disliked Sanders, even if I had some major issues with the so-called “Bernie or bust” crowd. I simply didn’t see him as an exceptionally strong candidate when it came to the general election. And, no, I don’t want to hear anyone say, “Had he been the candidate, he would have won!” That’s an impossible to prove accusation based on emotion rather than verifiable facts. We have no idea what Russia would have done to attack him, if anything, or the slanderous attacks the GOP, which was largely doing its best not to attack Sanders hoping he would knock Clinton out for them, would use against him during the general election.
If you don’t think Sanders has skeletons hiding in his closet, or at least quite a few quotes that could be twisted, taken out of context, and spun into some rather effective fear-mongering about “socialism taking over America” or “Sanders is a secret communist,” you’re naive.
Tom Perez is now in charge and immediately began trying to repair the damage she did to the party. He teamed with Keith Ellison and Sanders to go on a “unity tour,” of sorts, as part of his efforts to rebuild the trust many lost for the DNC due in large part to Wasserman Schultz’s piss-poor “leadership” — or lack thereof, rather. While there’s still a ways to go, my point is, Perez is trying to bring about much-needed change to the party and many of the people who were in charge are no longer there. So people can keep beating up on the DNC all they want, but they’re beating up on a political organization staffed mostly with people who had little or nothing to do with the Wasserman Schultz debacle.
Now, to the numbers.
The truth is, Bernie Sanders lost the nomination because he couldn’t win the minority vote, it’s as simple as that. This is not about some convoluted conspiracy, or some nefarious ploy by the DNC to hand the nomination to Hillary Clinton, it’s about basic, indisputable math and reality.
Last year I did a complete mathematical breakdown of the entire Democratic primary, which you can check out here.
But let me run down a few of the numbers that prove these conspiracies simply don’t add up.
Of the 50 states, Clinton won 28 while Sanders took 22. So, she only won six more states than he did. One would think that if the DNC really wanted to “rig” the election, Clinton would have won it much easier than she did — and Sanders certainly wouldn’t have been victorious in 22 states.
That’s just basic common sense.
When it came to the primary elections (both open and closed), Clinton won 76 percent of those contests. Meanwhile, when it came to caucuses, Sanders won 86 percent. So, it’s clear that, based on the type of election, it was fairly easy to predict which candidate might win based on those numbers alone. Also keep in mind that caucuses would actually be easier to “rig” than a primary, so the fact that Sanders easily won most of them is a significant indicator that this “rigged” conspiracy is total nonsense.
But the real issue here (as I alluded to earlier) was how diverse the state was. Here’s the breakdown of the average racial demographics of the states each candidate won:
- White: 64%
- African American: 16%
- Latino: 14%
- White: 78%
- African American: 5%
- Latino: 8%
You don’t even need to really see anything else to understand that Clinton overwhelmingly won the minority vote — especially among African Americans.
But I went further, breaking down Clinton and Sanders’ five biggest wins. Here are the average racial demographics from those states:
Hillary Clinton (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina):
- White: 60%
- African American: 32%
- Latino: 5%
Bernie Sanders (Vermont, Alaska, Utah, Idaho and Washington):
- White: 78%
- African American: 2%
- Latino: 9%
I would also like to point out that all of Hillary’s biggest wins came in primary states, whereas 4 out of 5 of Bernie’s came in caucus states. This follows the same pattern of overall winning percentage I mentioned earlier with Clinton winning 76 percent of primaries, while Sanders won 86 percent of caucuses.
Furthermore, as I stated in the full breakdown:
There are 21 states in this country with an African American population of 10 percent or greater — Sanders won exactly 2 (9.5%). Of the 22 states that have Latino populations of 10 percent or greater, he won 11 (50%). However, in the 23 states with white populations of 70 percent or greater, Sanders won 16 (70%).
Think about those numbers. He lost 90.5 percent of states with an African American population over 10 percent and half the states with a Latino population of 10 percent or greater — but won 70 percent of the states with a white population over 70 percent.
What these numbers tell us is that I could find someone who knew nothing about politics or either candidate, show them a list of states listed “State A, B, C..,” and they would be able to most likely accurately predict around 90-95 percent of the time which candidate would win each non-identified state based on nothing more than knowing the racial demographics and whether or not the state used a primary or a caucus.
Had the primary truly been rigged, then this pattern wouldn’t have existed. This election wasn’t rigged — he just couldn’t win the minority vote.
If you continue to claim that it was rigged, then you really need to answer two questions.
- What did the DNC do that caused minority voters (especially African Americans) to overwhelmingly support Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders? If your stance is that the primary was rigged, can you please point to exactly what the DNC did to sway only minority voters in her direction?
- Considering that Sanders overwhelmingly won the white vote, yet was soundly defeated when it came to African American voters (and even mostly lost the Latino vote, as well), are you suggesting that white voters were more informed and resistant to “DNC rigging” than African American and Latino voters? Because that’s basically what you’re claiming when you say the election was “rigged,” yet the math shows Sanders mainly lost because he couldn’t win the African American and Latino vote. So, why did he win so many mostly white states, yet lose so many more diverse ones? Again, keep in mind that if they only “rigged” certain states, what, specifically, did they do to “rig” the states with larger minority populations that caused those minority voters to support Clinton?
If you want to claim that the “primary was rigged,” then you have to be able to explain not only what the DNC specifically did to “rig” the election, but also explain why African American and Latino voters seemed to be the only two racial groups impacted by this supposed “rigging.”
Otherwise, you are either claiming it was rigged simply because that’s what you want to believe, or you have to recognize the reality: Bernie Sanders ran a magnificent campaign which changed the Democratic party (and the country) forever, but it was his inability to sway African American and Latino voters which ultimately cost him the nomination.
Now can we please move on from this? The 2018 midterms are quickly approaching, and 2020 will be here before we know it. Sensible Americans cannot afford to let what happened last year continue to divide us, which plays right into the hands of the Republican Party. That’s why Donald Trump and the conservative media are playing this story up so much — they want us bickering among one another. They want us focused on what happened last year as opposed to standing up to them now and defeating the GOP in the upcoming elections.
No matter what anyone might think about Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, we’re all on the same side. Sure, we might have our differences on some issues, and we might have fought some “battles” during the 2016 Democratic primary, but it’s foolish to keep rehashing all of this.
We’re currently facing one of the biggest threats this country has had to deal with in decades. If we don’t realize that we’re all on the same team, even with our few differences, well, then Republicans are going to keep winning elections. We’re going to be stuck with Donald Trump until 2024, all because too many people would rather fight amongst themselves than unite together to tackle the real threats to this country posed by Trump, the GOP, the rise of white nationalism, and the continued hijacking of our democracy by money in politics, legitimate fascists, and those who want the United States to be ruled by authoritarian dictators.
To put it bluntly, and please excuse my language, if the left doesn’t get its shit together — and I mean now — if you think things are bad now, you haven’t seen anything yet.
Please, let’s work together, not against each other. Stop letting those who benefit and profit from dividing us win.
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