Sanders Should Stop Undermining Trust in the Democratic Party

Don’t complain that the nomination was rigged just because you lost.

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders makes a speech in Brooklyn, New York, April 8, 2016
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders makes a speech in Brooklyn, New York, April 8, 2016 (Timothy Krause)

Bernie Sanders is at it again, alleging that the 2016 Democratic primary was “rigged” against him.

It wasn’t, and Sanders should stop saying so. At a time when Donald Trump is calling the legitimacy of academia, science, the news media, the FBI, NATO and other multilateral organizations into question, the last thing the left needs to do is undermine trust in more institutions.

“Some people”

Asked by NBC News if he would support the 2020 Democratic nominee, whoever that might be, Sanders said,

Some people say that maybe if the system was not rigged against me, I would have won the nomination.

I’m sure “some people” do, but they’re wrong.

Either Sanders knows it and he’s lending credence to conspiracy theories in order to help his current presidential bid. Or he really believes it.

Either would be disqualifying.

Rules

Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination fair and square with 55 percent of the primary vote against 43 percent for Sanders.

Many prominent Democrats, including many who would serve as superdelegates at the nominating convention, endorsed Clinton early on, arguably giving her a head’s up. But that’s part of the process. The Democratic Party — to which Sanders doesn’t even belong; he groups with the Democrats in the United States Senate but is officially an independent — is free to create whatever rules it wants for selecting its presidential candidate.

You can argue against superdelegates. You can argue that the whole nomination should be more democratic and that neither elected officials nor interest groups, like organized labor and environmental organizations, should have an outsized influence. But don’t call the game “rigged” just because you lost.