Sanders and O’Malley Attack Democratic Leadership For System Rigged To Help Clinton

Bernie Sanders DNC Screen Grab

Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley both criticized the Democratic National Committee for rules which show favoritism towards Hillary Clinton, with Sanders pointing out that this is the type of policy which has led to past loses by the Democratic Party.

“I do,” Sanders reportedly responded when asked Friday whether he agrees with former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s assertion that the debate system is “rigged.”

The two Democratic presidential candidates were speaking at the summer meeting of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in Minneapolis on Friday.

“This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before,” O’Malley said in his speech earlier Friday.

The DNC has drawn criticism for scheduling only four debates before the early-primary states cast their votes, and six total throughout the election cycle.

Sanders also warned that this attitude could lead to a repeat of Democratic loses in 2014:

“The Democrats lost that election because voter turnout was abysmally low, and millions of working people, people of color and young people gave up on ‘politics as usual’ and stayed home,” he declared.

Speaking in the heart of the Democratic establishment, Sanders called for a movement taking on the economic and political establishment, “not one of which is part of it.”

“With all due respect, and I do not mean to insult anyone here, that turnout, that enthusiasm will not happen with politics as usual,” Sanders said, punctuated by supporters’ chants of “Ber-nie! Ber-nie!”

In fact, Sanders said, the party is in for a repeat unless it changes its ways.

“Let me be very clear. In my view, Democrats will not retain the White House, will not regain the Senate, will not gain the House and will not be successful in dozens of governor’s races unless we run a campaign which generates excitement and momentum and which produces a huge voter turnout,” the senator said.

This sort of politics as usual runs the risk of both of failing to motivate voters to turn out if Hillary Clinton is the nominee, and risks causing many on the left to refuse to vote for Clinton if the nominating process is seen as unfair. Clinton’s campaign, showing they have not learned anything from the poorly run campaign of eight years ago, exacerbated the situation with a statement that they have already secured one-fifth of the delegates needed to win before a single vote was cast in primaries or caucus states. This launched protests on social media, and a wide variety of petitions from Sanders supporters concerned that Sanders could be denied the nomination even if he wins a majority of elected delegates. After Clinton lost the nomination in 2008 some of her supporters formed the PUMA (Piss On Party Unity) movement, backing John McCain over Barack Obama.

In trying to predict how Sanders supporters will vote, they cannot be lumped together in a single category. Sanders supporters include former Obama supporters who oppose Clinton for the same reasons as in 2008, independents, and people on the left who would not normally vote for a Democratic candidate. Clinton has little chance of picking up the votes of some of these voters who do not normally vote Democratic should she win the nomination, and seeing a rigged system under the leadership of a long-time Clinton supporter will further harm chances for party unity in the general election should she be the nominee. Democratic chances are further hampered if the system is rigged to nominate a candidate who is popular among the type of partisan Democrats who vote in primaries but would be a weaker general election candidate.

Update: Sanders pulls within seven points of Clinton in Iowa per Des Moines Register poll

Update II: Sanders on CNN’s State of the Union

“I think that that is dead wrong, and I have let the leadership of the Democrats know that.  Again, I think this country benefits – all people benefits – democracy benefits when we have debates.  And I want to see more of them.”


  1. 1
    Anonymous says:

    This type of talking is not helping the Democratic party at all.   All we get is negativity which spills over to those who are undecided or have given up on voting.  The DNC is just making matters worse for our party.   Shake hands,  give each other a hug and get on with a fair and equal process……don't rig the system because of money .  Bernie Sanders has the best agenda for our party,  he cannot be bought .    When you have two candidates critical of how the DNC is being run is not what  We The People want to hear.   Time to grow up and put on your big girl panties and do the right thing for us….we are the ones that are suffering with a corrupt congress, a congress that has consistently done nothing for the good of this country and the people.   We need change and if it takes a political revolution to do it,  then be prepared because we are no longer going to sit on the sidelines and do nothing.   We are going to be heard.

  2. 2
    Jimmy Diblanket says:

    This article doesn’t mention that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the sole person responsible for limiting the debates, was a national co-chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. While this isn’t proof that Schultz is gaming the system for Clinton, it does create a strong appearance of impropriety. Also, it’s important to note that in 2008, the last presidential election without a Democratic incumbent, there were 26 Democratic primary debates. There seems little justification to go from 26 to just 6. It prevents lesser known candidates from getting national exposure which could help with fundraising efforts, increase volunteerism and media coverage. The only person who benefits is Hillary Clinton.

  3. 3
    Mark Eric Zellmer says:

    Shhh!  We certainly don't want to fix problem, just sweep it under the rug.


  4. 4
    Anonymous says:

    What happened to the charming but antiquated idea of "democracy" in the Democratic Party? This woman needs to go–not next summer, not at the end of the year, not next week–NOW. And any presidential candidate who does not support her removal needs to her or his campaign.

  5. 5
    Grant Devereaux says:

    Oddly enough. Bernie Sanders sees himself as the magical savior of the Democratic Party, while drawing somewhere between 15-18% of the Democratic vote nationally. Somehow, with his math, that is a winning number. Hillary Clinton,, drawing 60%  of the vote nationally is a hopeless loser. I am beginning to understand Bernie Sanders. He cannot do basic math. 

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    You are under the mistaken impression that national polls have any predictive value in a primary battle, confusing position in the Democratic Party with the national vote, and missing how rapidly Clinton’s support is falling.

  7. 7
    Stanley Sokolow says:

    Polls have been wrong. Some worse than others.  But they do have some predictive value.  The PPP poll says "2012 :
    Correctly predicted the winner of every state in the Presidential race, and the winner of every major Senate race."  While past performance isn't a guarantee of future success, it's about all we have that has some scientific basis.  August 26, 2015, PPP reports on it's New Hampshire poll: "Bernie Sanders is the most popular candidate on either side of the aisle in New Hampshire and actually does an average of 3.5 points better than Clinton in comparable head to head match ups. Sanders has a 46/36 favorability rating. The only other candidates who come out positively with the overall electorate are Kasich at 36/30 and Carson at 36/33. Sanders does similarly to Clinton against Bush (he leads him by 8 at 46/38, she leads him by 7), and Walker (they both lead him 47/39). Against Trump and Rubio, Sanders actually fares a good deal better than Clinton. He leads Trump by 9 at 50/41, compared to Clinton's 2 point advantage, and he leads Rubio by 13 at 48/35, compared to Clinton's 8 point advantage."

    Here's  a list of recent polls by various pollsters.  Take your pick and drill down into it:

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    The worst polls are national polls before a nomination battle as people are far more likley to change which member of their own party they will vote for than to switch parties. Results in subsequent states shift dramatically after the Iowa and New Hampshire votes. Polls of these two states mean more, but they can also change quite a bit at the last minute. Therefore Clinton’s current seven point lead (with downward trend) in Iowa can easily change. The recent leads for Sanders in New Hampshire polls certainly can change, but are quite encouraging for him.

    Data such as better favorability for Sanders, and the large number of people who say Clinton is dishonest, are encouraging for Sanders.

    Head to head polls against the other party have limited value this far out, but seeing how poorly Clinton does in the battleground states is another reason to strongly consider other candidates such as Sanders, who is on an upward trend.

  9. 9
    David S - Loves Park says:

    Grant Devereaux,

    Um, no Bernie is not assuming he's the automatic savior of the Democratic Party, he is however pointing out that the party is WRONG to limit the debates to six, two of which are AFTER most of the early primary states have voted. IF this was still going on, but instead of this move protecting Hillary was instead protecting Bernie or Martin I would be just as pissed off! 

    I'm an elected precinct committeeman for my county Democratic party in Illinois, and I got to say that this lame desperate move by the DNC is not gonna help the name brand. This is the kind of bullshit that keeps people from the polls on Election Day! And if you or any other Democrat thinks otherwise well … blame yourselves if we have to deal with four years of President Trump! Let the base decide, based on at least 18 debates ALL BEFORE any primary elections are held! Stop coddling Hillary as if she is the automatic heir apparent to the White House. If after 18 debates Hillary still wins, great! At least the base will have had plenty of opportunities to hear all the candidates.

    As for your childish rip on Bernie's apparent inability to do basic math. I'm thinking you are a Hillary supporter and you find it scary that Bernie is gaining steam with every rally, speech, and interview. Its no wonder the party establishment and the corporate media are doing everything they can to limit Bernie's reach to the base. Doesn't it worry you even in the slightest that the party structure is literally trying to pick your candidate for you?

    Perhaps in the mean time while we wait for the DNC to finally getting around to letting democracy have its say, you should research his many stances and speeches over the decades and compare them to Hillary's prim, proper, and carefully crafted messages over the same time frame? 

  10. 10
    Mike Hatcher says:

    You might not value anything Rush says, but I think you might find something he said Friday kind of interesting.  I'll post a cut and paste of the transcript in a moment, but my summary is that both the Democratic party and the Republican party are bought off and thus the leaders of the D. party are against Sanders because he is genuinely out to break up the corruption of corporate influence. Here it is: Bernie Sanders is not gonna get the nomination. 

    The Democrat Party's not gonna permit it because he means it.  He means all this talk about busting up the alliance between rich fat cats on Wall Street, CEOs. And the Democrats, that's their new coalition.  They're not gonna let Bernie come along and really blow that up.  I mean, they're happy to have him talk about it, and their happy for Hillary to talk about it, but the fact of the matter is that is the New Democrat Coalition.  It's not the little guy.  It's not the unions anymore. 

    They've got them in their back pocket, anyway.  The relationships the Democrat Party really values are these crony corporate relationships with huge… It's the Republican Party, same way. 

  11. 11
    Ron Chusid says:

    There are people on the left saying the same as Rush on this topic.

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