A few days ago, the Democratic Party Rules & Bylaws Committee of the DNC held a meeting in Providence that would normally have been the most boring event humanly possible. And while the Committee’s actions largely passed under the radar, they will likely have an earth-shaking impact that might very well determine whether Donald Trump wins a second term in 2020.
Here’s the scoop:
During the proceedings of June 8, the Committee revised their requirements for the presidential nomination. In short, they tightened up the rules so that anyone who wants to win the 2020 nomination must be a registered Democrat and “run and serve” as a member of the Democratic Party.
That sounds pretty perfunctory, right? Any political party worth its salt would want only its own members to be eligible for its most important nomination. But then the hindsight of the past four decades kicks in and one realizes that something much more substantial is afoot.
The DNC has been terrified of internal populist campaigns ever since George McGovern won the party nomination in 1972. It pretty much fixed the problem with the creation of “Superdelegates,” but it still had a scare with Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow Coalition in the 1984 and 1988 nomination races.
With Bill Clinton and the corporate-funded Democratic Leadership Council, the party purged elements from the old New Deal/Great Society wing. Out went unions and African Americans. In came neoliberals, Wall Street, affluent suburban voters and, ultimately, Silicon Valley.
Then came Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign, which almost toppled Hillary Clinton as the party’s nominee. Sanders declines the Democratic Party affiliation and runs for the Senate as an Independent, so the move by the Rules & Bylaws Committee is designed to keep him from making a second run for the White House.
Of course, the claim that Sanders is an Independent is total nonsense. He’s always caucused with the Democrats and promotes their overall platform while trying to change the party from the inside. His chief strategist in 2016 was Tad Devine, a South Providence native and career Democratic operative who over the years ran campaigns for Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.
It’s ironic that American Federation of Teachers president and DNC member Randi Weingarten tweeted her support for the rule change (see image above). The AFT’s endorsement of Clinton early during the 2016 primary campaign paved the way for the AFL-CIO to back Hillary Clinton while quashing the grassroots Labor for Bernie movement. Squashing the Sanders insurgency so early and in such an undemocratic fashion alienated union swing state voters, many who decided to stay home in November 2016, letting Trump eke out a narrow win.
By barring Sanders, the same group of Democrats who blew the election of 2016 seem determine to prove that history must repeat itself.