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The Democratic Party has Set the Stage for a Replay of 2016
Washington, D.C. — In 2016, Bernie Sanders was raising hundreds of millions of dollars, polling best against Trump, and filling stadiums everywhere he went. Sanders did not lose because he lacked support. He lost because the Democratic Party rigged its primary to ensure that an establishment candidate would win.
Bernie Sanders would make a transformative president. But over the past three years, the party has consolidated its control over its presidential primary to guarantee that an anointed neoliberal wins again.
The primary rules have predetermined the result as they did in 2016, leaving just the veneer of popular choice. The stakes for working people and the planet are far too high to continue to entrust change to a corporate-funded party. Bernie himself taught the country that there is no such thing as a people’s party bankrolled by Wall Street cash.
When the dust settles and the Democratic campaigns disband, when the primary is stolen and another neoliberal faces Trump, the Movement for a People’s Party will still be here, building the major new party that the majority of Americans are now calling for. Expanding our Labor-Community coalition with more than 15 unions and organizations representing more than 100,000 members. Because a party for working people is an idea whose time has come.
As Bernie embarks on a new campaign, progressives are wondering what he will do when the Democratic Party cheats him again? In 2016, Bernie endorsed Hillary Clinton believing that it was the way to defeat Trump. It turned out that trying to route the progressive movement back into the establishment gave us Trump. Working people are fed up with the big business Democrats who have sold their families to the highest bidding lobbyist decade after decade. When the nomination is swept out from under Bernie once more, will he endorse the neoliberal Democrat again?
Will Bernie hold the party accountable for the election fraud perpetrated against him and the millions who volunteered and donated what little they had? Will he affirm that rigging an American election is just as much a crime when the Democratic Party does it? These are some of the questions Bernie must answer.
The following is a partial list of ways the Democratic Party has rigged the 2020 presidential primary against Sanders and progressives.
Loyalty Oath: The Democratic Party added a loyalty oath that allows the DNC chair to deny progressives access to the primary ballot if he deems that a candidate has been insufficiently “faithful” to the Party throughout their life.
Closed Primaries: It kept closed primaries that will shut out millions of progressive-leaning independent voters. It maintained early party affiliation deadlines, which will also bar the growing number of independents.
Removing Caucuses: The Democratic Party is slashing the number of states that hold caucuses, which favor progressive candidates with passionate supporters. More than half of Sanders’ state victories in 2016 were in caucus states, 13 out of 23. Six caucus states that Sanders won in 2016 are switching to primaries in 2020: Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, Idaho, Maine and Utah. More could follow as the DNC implements a transition to primaries, which favor establishment candidates.
Legalized Bribery: The party did nothing to remove corporate and billionaire money from the primary or the party, ensuring that Wall Street can continue purchasing its politicians.
Joint Fundraising Agreements: The Party preserved the use of joint fundraising agreements between the DNC and presidential campaigns, which allow establishment candidates to control the Party apparatus throughout the primaries. Hillary Clinton used a joint fundraising agreement with the DNC to take control of the party’s finances, strategy, hiring, and communications, granting her a tremendous advantage over Sanders. She also used it to circumvent campaign finance limits in what Donna Brazile later described as “essentially money laundering.” Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, or the leading establishment candidate will avail themselves of such an agreement in 2020.
Superdelegates: The DNC rebuked progressive demands to eliminate superdelegates and moved them to the second round of voting at the nominating convention instead. But because all 30 members of the Rules Committee are establishment loyalists, the DNC reserves the right to force a second ballot at the convention, defeating the purpose of the rules change.
Keeping superdelegates also lets the media and search engines to continue reporting them as part of a candidate’s running delegate count, creating the perception that the establishment candidates are leading and reducing progressive turnout. Superdelegates are so undemocratic that the Republican Party has virtually done away with them, meaning that the Democratic primary is less democratic than the Republican primary.
The Democratic Party is also trying to crowd Sanders out with establishment candidates who suddenly adopt progressive language when they decide to run for president.
Like ALEC, the Democratic Party is a committee of corporations. Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup, News Corp., Pfizer, CitGo, Verizon, Aetna, and many other corporations sit on the National Committee and steer the party. Nearly 100 lobbyists are on the DNC. The Democratic Party is so enmeshed with Wall Street that it knowingly rigged the 2016 presidential primary against the most electable candidate. It would rather lose a presidential election than nominate a progressive.
When sued for defrauding Sanders supporters in the 2016 primary, the Party argued in open court that it has the right to rig its primaries in 2020 and beyond. We can “go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidates that way,” declared the DNC’s attorney.
The Democratic Party exists to contain progressives who might otherwise form their own party.
“Every oligarchy needs a means of containing the left. Without it, working people would quickly topple the oligarchs and redistribute wealth. The Democratic Party is that containment vehicle in America,” said MPP National Director Nick Brana, who lobbied the superdelegates for Sanders on his first presidential campaign.