Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) claimed the 2016 Democratic Party primary was rigged in favor of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. President Trump made the same claim on behalf of Sanders, especially after the coalescing of moderate Democratic Party candidates behind former vice president Joe Biden.
President Donald Trump told the press, “I think it’s rigged against Bernie.” He said that Sanders is not out of the race yet and could “pull through” and win the nomination in the party’s convention. The president previously tweeted that the Democratic Party was “staging a coup against Bernie” on Monday.
They are staging a coup against Bernie!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2020
Biden rolled to multiple Super Tuesday victories, which was bolstered by the endorsements from former primary opponents South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). Buttigieg and Klobuchar dropped out of the primaries before the Super Tuesday primaries and left Biden as the sole primary candidate representing the moderate Democratic Party wing. Their exits from the race bolstered Trump’s claim that the moderates’ gathering behind Biden was one example of rigging the primary system against Sanders.
Yet, Sanders’ campaign refuted Trump’s claim when campaign adviser Jeff Weaver said, “It is not currently rigged, no, last time it was rigged.”
By all appearances, the timing of Buttigieg and Klobuchar exiting the primary race was unorthodox because the Super Tuesday primaries were taking place within 72 hours. Neither candidate indicated that they would leave the race after the South Carolina primary election.
Additionally, news reports said that Buttigieg suspended his campaign after speaking with former president Barack Obama, a Biden ally. NBC News said, “There appears to be a quiet hand behind the rapid movement: former President Barack Obama.”
Although it cannot be proven that the Democratic Party primary system is rigged against Sanders, there are indications that the party establishment is working against Sanders’ campaign. It also does not help that the media will not publicly question the theory that the party establishment is working against Sanders. For example, last week, NBC News claimed Sanders “’rigged’ the system against himself.”
The media was dishonest in its news coverage because it failed to emphasize the behind-the-scenes workings of the Democratic Party establishment to coalesce around Biden and hamstring Sanders. It cannot be proven by conjecture and news reports, but the coverage trends do not favor Sanders’ viability as a candidate fighting an internal battle against the party establishment.