Sanders ‘Rigging the System’?

By | 4/12/2016 Leave a Comment
rig the system, superdelegates, democratic process

Today, Hillary Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon accused Bernie Sanders of ‘rigging the system’ in an interview with CNN. Just when it seemed as though political spin couldn’t be spun any more egregiously than it has been of late, we get this:

“If anybody is trying to rig the system right now to overturn the will of the people, it's Sen. Sanders,” Fallon said. 

The reason for this faux outrage is the overtures being made by Sanders and his team to the superdelegates currently supporting Clinton. Currently riding high on a wave of momentum after a string of back-to-back wins – 8 of the last 9 – Sanders clearly thinks the time is ripe to change a few minds. 

Superdelegates, of course, are not representatives of actual voters on the ground, but rather elected officials and other party elites that are not obligated by any primary or caucus results. As unpledged delegates they are free to back whomever they choose for the nomination.

With Clinton having a very long, entrenched and intimate relationship with a great many of these individuals (and organizations in some cases), she has had a virtual monopoly on them, and that has gone a long way in providing her with a big cushion in the overall delegate count over her rival.

And, as free agents in this race, they are perfectly free to change their minds over who they decide to ultimately back.

Are these superdelegates a fair and just component of what is supposed to be a democratic process? Of course not. But the system is what the system is – at least for now. 

“We have a wide advantage right now in terms of the superdelegates as well as the pledged delegates," Fallon said. Well, a wide advantage of superdelegates, certainly, but the gap on pledged delegates is far smaller. He also noted that Clinton had a larger share of the popular vote, echoing her protestations back in 2008 when trailing Barack Obama. “So now that's forcing Sen. Sanders to go out and talk about the idea that he wants to try to flip superdelegates and get him to overturn the will of the people as expressed through who's won the most contests,” he continued.

Except that it’s not the will of the people he trying to overturn, it’s the will of the party elites.

The upshot:

If you have a gamed system working to your advantage, you can hardly cry foul when someone else tries to turn it to theirs – at least, not with a straight face.

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