The party name “Democrats” means party members should value democracy. But in 2016, the DNC forgot what that means.
Democracy means truth, transparency, and “one person, one vote,” among other things. In a democracy, the candidate that is most open, transparent, ethical, and positive is usually the one that wins national elections. The Dems had a candidate like that. His name was Bernie Sanders, who represented the best this country had to offer, and appealed to a very large and diverse swath of the electorate. But it wasn’t “his turn,” so the DNC kicked him to the curb. Party insiders even said he had to be “ground to a pulp” and disregarded the DNC’s own rules to make sure he didn’t win, against voters’ wishes. That is not democratic, so-called Democrats. That is dictatorship.
In 2016, the DNC lost its way. They thought that by redesigning its primary system to solely benefit one handpicked, predestined candidate that they could “coronate” as the most “electable” candidate, they made that candidate (an unpopular, unlikable, right-leaning spouse of a shady, skirt-chasing former leader who had severe ethical problems while in office nearly 20 years ago) LESS electable. In its never-ending quest to be “more like Republicans,” they ignored the massive swath of the electorate that has never liked the GOP establishment, and now also feels abandoned by the so-called left-wing “party of the people.” The so-called “party of the people” sold its soul when it traded its longtime allegiances with the masses to an allegiance with the corporate boardroom, graft, and legalized bribery.
The DNC ignored voters and its own liberal base in favor of propping up a weak candidate who peddled influence and placed self-interest and self-enrichment ahead of public service. The DNC propped up a candidate who supported globalist policies that concentrated economic and political power in the 0.01% while ignoring (even crushing) labor unions, its longtime ally. It took minority voters, working-class voters, and (especially) the massive millennial/youth vote for granted, telling them to “get in line” behind Hillary to prevent a “Trumpocalypse.”
Americans don’t like corruption, and more than that, they don’t like to be bullied. They especially don’t like to find out that their votes don’t matter. Remember, we forcibly overthrew our British colonial rulers—the most powerful nation on the planet at the time—over a unilateral tax on tea, simply because we hadn’t been given the option of voting on it.
The DNC flat-out didn’t play fair. It misused its contacts in a media system that is supposed to be neutral to benefit its own pre-selected candidate, even when that candidate is not who the nation’s voters (or the party’s core base) wanted. It flat-out rigged the debates. It used that same media influence to outright deny the rightful winner of many, many Democratic state primaries (Bernie) of media coverage that he had earned given his extraordinary rise. It ditched retail politics and coalition-building and instead tried to use blackmail and intimidation to induce Democratic and independent voters to vote for their handpicked candidate over another option, “or else.” (Blackmail never works, except maybe in Mafia movies). The superdelegate system is inherently unfair, as is giving nonproportional delegate weight to deep-South states that have very small Democratic voter bases. The primary results in Arizona, New York, and California are suspicious to say the least given widespread voter irregularities. Lastly, the Dem party elite blamed “The Russians” and/or scolded its own base for daring to question party strategy or get upset when long-reliable, vetted sources like Wikileaks revealed corruption within the DNC using the DNC’s own internal correspondence.
Not surprisingly, this strategy did not work.
In a democracy, you ultimately have to listen to the voters and not your donors or party insiders in order to win. The voters gave plenty of indications early on that 2016 was not going to be politics as usual. Say what you will about the GOP’s candidate and policies, but the GOP at least ran a fair nominating contest that produced a candidate (Trump) who, however despicable, understood what it took to win. While the USA has largely become an oligarchy, it still retains enough democratic components to heavily penalize anyone who tries to game the democratic system dishonestly. (For the record, I loathe Trump. I voted for Jill Stein, and I live in a deep-blue state that Hillary carried).
While the DNC’s stated goal of greater diversity, gender equality, democratic values, higher voter participation, increased immigration, and workers’ rights are all noble and morally right things, the current DNC leadership did not embody any of these values in their actions. They allied themselves with the wrong interests for the sake of easy money instead of going directly to the voters (whom Bernie proved are a more effective fundraiser source). They used unsavory, unethical, (and likely some downright illegal) means to ram through an outdated political agenda from the 1990s that nobody wants anymore. In short, they used horrible means to attain an unsavory end that the country just isn’t built to accept.
Simply put, the Democrats destroyed themselves with greed and a blind lust for power.
So they lost. This outcome was predictable to anyone really paying attention to actual scientific evidence over biased political rhetoric and media hype. Anyone who grew up in the Rust Belt (I did) recognized this coming disaster early on. (Working-class Midwesterners have a very low tolerance for bullshit.) It didn’t take long for the rest of the nation to catch on.
Moreover, American presidential politics has always been primarily about a) personal likability; and b) favorable economics. The DNC ticket had neither this year—at least, not where it counted. The Midwest may be a bunch of “flyover states,” but they are also the Democratic electoral firewall. Progressives, youth voters, and independents would have sailed Bernie Sanders to an electoral landslide, but the DNC instead cast its lot with the corrupt 1990s Dixiecrats.
Dems, you ignored the voters that you really needed at your peril. And the massive millennial/Gen X voting bloc (people under 45 are by far the biggest chunk of the electorate nowadays) have no interest in going back to 1992.
Liberals, progressives, Democrats, independents of all stripes—-learn from these mistakes. Remember who we are, and hold our party leaders accountable. Our country needs to be honest in order to work. Let’s make sure it’s the right kind of honesty from now on. Let’s make sure that we don’t forget our values for the sake of victory.
Cheaters don’t win. They never have.