Joe Biden and the Business of American PoliticsMarc Ash Reader Supported News
The case, a class action lawsuit was filed by Democratic donors who alleged in essence that the 2016 Democratic Party nominating process had been unfairly manipulated by the DNC and specifically by then chairperson, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to favor Hillary Clinton over her rival Bernie Sanders. It bears repeating that Clinton would eventually lose in the general election, bringing Donald J. Trump to power.
In Wilding the court did in fact find that there was sufficient evidence that Wasserman Schultz and the DNC unfairly acted to favor Clinton over Sanders. However the Judge in the case found that the conduct of the defendants was moot because the plaintiffs lacked standing. But the most troubling finding by the court was that the DNC, as a private corporation had no obligation to be fair to the voters.
DNC attorney Bruce Spiva framed it this way to the court:
"The party could have favored a candidate. I'll put it that way. Maybe that's a better way of answering your Honor's original question. Even if it were true, that's the business of the party, and it's not justiciable."
To Spiva’s point the party had indeed “improperly tipped the scales” in Clinton’s favor. If that was true in 2016 it was true on steroids in the 2020 contest between Sanders and Biden.
By the time Bernie Sanders had won in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada the first three battles in the Democratic nominating process party leaders were openly saying they were prepared to do whatever they had to do to prevent Sanders from becoming the nominee. There were literally voices on Democratic leaning cable broadcasts declaring that even Trump would be preferable Sanders.
Ultimately the most powerful Democrat in South Carolina, Rep. Jim Clyburn leaning heavily his own personal endorsement and the power of politics in the Palmetto State’s black churches gave Biden his first win in a state he had no chance of winning in in the November election and the stage was set for Biden’s comeback.
Following Biden’s win in SC the US corporate media launched an around the clock broadcast and print blitz aimed at creating the perception that Biden was surging, Sanders was falling and most importantly that, “only Biden could beat Trump.”
In the end it worked, Sanders became the only Candidate to win the first three nominating contests and lose the nomination. Sanders was the candidate Democratic voters wanted but Biden was the candidate they got.
The well orchestrated nomination coup solved a lot of problems for the Democratic Party establishment but it also left them with one very big one. Biden had what the New York Times called an “enthusiasm deficit.” The voters just did not and do not get excited about Joe. Biden’s oft repeated campaign slogan “Don’t compare me to the almighty, compare me to the alternative.” was tailor-made for his upcoming battle with Trump.
To say that Biden won the 2020 presidential election is true, but it is also irrelevant. The defining figure was then President Donald J. Trump. Trump was arguably the most polarizing presidential candidate in US history. Biden was truly an afterthought. In 2020 you were either voting to keep Trump in office or voting to get him out, there was precious little middle ground. In the end about seven million more votes were cast against Thump than for him.
Barack Obama has been quoted as having said, "Don't underestimate Joe's ability to f--- things up." The Democrats love to rail about the threat to democracy posed by Republican-Trumpism, but the threat to democracy is just as real when the party picks the candidate rather than the voters. 2024 is coming, don’t underestimate.
Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.
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