DNC-friendly journalists are coming right out and saying it’s okay not to give other contenders a crack at Biden, writes Elizabeth Vos.
By Elizabeth Vos
Special to Consortium News
The Democratic National Committee has faced criticism over the past few weeks as it became clear that the Democratic Party would not hold primary debates in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election and would fully support Joe Biden in his bid for a second term.
The controversy came to the fore as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson announced their intent to run against the incumbent in the Democratic Party primary, with Kennedy doing remarkably well in early polls.
The corporate press argues that an absence of primary debates for the party of the incumbent has long been the norm. Kennedy’s uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy, who challenged incumbent President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election, did not debate Carter. Nonetheless, Carter won 10,043,016 of the popular vote and Kennedy posed a serious challenge with 7,381,693 votes by Democrats.
It was part of a history of multiple, vigorous, primary challenges to incumbents in recent decades, as reported by Time in 2020. Although it’s normal for a party to back their incumbent, Biden is remarkably weak and the candidacy of RFK Jr. is particularly strong so far. In a democratic system, Democratic voters would be allowed to make a choice.
In an NBC poll, 70 percent of respondents and 51 percent of registered Democrats didn’t want to see Biden run again, with age being the most highly cited issue. If Biden were to be reelected, he would be 86 years old on leaving office. Even The New York Times admits DNC loyalists are, at best, hesitant to support Biden’s 2024 bid.
However, a lack of popular support matters little to Biden or the DNC because the big-money donors who Biden infamously reassured during his 2020 campaign that “nothing would fundamentally change” under his leadership, support him, and so does the party. The DNC appears to be betting on Biden being the lesser of two evils in a second contest with former President Donald Trump, if he gets the Republican nomination, rather than offering a candidate that voters can actively support. Or worse: as in 2016, they would rather lose to Trump than allow a progressive to win and threaten the interests of wealthy Democrats who control the party.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe program, former Biden campaign adviser turned political commentator Simone Sanders-Townsend called Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s surprisingly high poll numbers “laughable,” emphasizing there would be no debates and no “primary process”:
.@SymoneDSanders: "The Democratic National Committee will not facilitate a primary process. There will be no debate stage for @RobertKennedyJr, @marwilliamson, or anyone else." pic.twitter.com/zt25JYVu7k
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 5, 2023
Sanders-Townsend was not alone in her sentiments. The New York Times podcast The Daily included this observation from host Michael Barbaro:
“… a challenge to Joe Biden, a primary that perhaps might satisfy some Democrats’ hunger for a true contest in which the most popular person emerges, you’re saying the leadership of the party just thinks that is a bad idea, it can only make things more complicated, let’s not even entertain that idea.”
Political correspondent Jonathan Weisman added:
“Democrats don’t want that to happen… because if Joe Biden faces an opponent, especially a more liberal opponent, he’ll be pulled to the left on very difficult issues, and he might have to embrace positions to win over Democrats that would come back to haunt him in November against the Republican candidate.”
To counter this, Democrats are trying to portray Kennedy as a one-issue candidate — vaccines — while burying his position on a host of other matters that incenses the party establishment — such as his criticism of the administration’s Ukraine policy, its mistreatment of Julian Assange and the damaging role of intelligence agencies.
In essence, political commentators have no problem admitting that the Democratic Party does not care for a primary contest that favors the “most popular person.” Biden beat Trump once and they hope he can do it again, despite his low approval ratings.
We have echoes here of the revelations that arose from WikiLeaks’ 2016 publications and the DNC fraud lawsuit, which gave a glimpse into the facts of the DNC’s primary process. These exposures revealed that the Democratic Party did everything in its power to support the establishment-friendly candidate Hillary Clinton over the more popular Bernie Sanders, and later defended their biased conduct in court.
DNC Fraud Lawsuit
As reported by Consortium News, the DNC fraud lawsuit was brought by members of the Democratic Party and supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders against the DNC and its former chairwoman, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, after a DNC memorandum was leaked revealing bias for Clinton and against Sanders. The plaintiffs argued that their donations were given with the understanding that the Democratic Party would abide by its charter and facilitate a fair primary.
The words of the DNC’s defense attorneys as the suit played out were damning. Defense counsel Bruce Spiva argued that the DNC had no fiduciary duty to their donors, that they can act against their own charter and appoint whoever they want as a candidate, and that they are legally protected in doing so because they are a private entity. They argued that their party’s promise to remain neutral towards candidates is an unenforceable political promise, no different from a campaign promise regularly broken. They also argued that Sanders’ supporters knew the election was rigged.
Spiva told the court that the DNC had the right to pick candidates in smoky back rooms if it chose to:
“But here, where you have a party that’s saying, We’re gonna, you know, choose our standard bearer, and we’re gonna follow these general rules of the road, which we are voluntarily deciding, we could have — and we could have voluntarily decided that, look, we’re gonna go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way. That’s not the way it was done. But they could have. And that would have also been their right…”
The DNC fraud lawsuit was eventually dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, so the merits of the arguments were never decided. The plaintiffs petitioned the Supreme Court for an appeal, which the court chose not to hear. Despite this, the contents of the suit provided an immeasurably valuable reality check as to how the DNC actually views the primary process.
Given the speed of the political news cycle, all of this is very old news. However, the heart of these revelations are being echoed in the current election cycle, only this time it’s not being dragged out of defense counsel in court. Instead, Democrats and DNC-friendly journalists are coming right out and stating that democracy isn’t an idea they want to entertain.
Once again, we see that the party is not interested in the democratic process, it’s interested in the status quo regardless of whom Democratic voters might prefer.
Elizabeth Vos is a freelance journalist and contributor to Consortium News. She co-hosts CN Live!
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those Consortium News.