Welcome To The New Politics, Same As The Old

Bernie Sanders and his supporters have been shouting about the Democratic primaries being rigged ever since Nevada (probably longer), but this story is a real eye-roller:

A Bernie Sanders staffer pitched using double-sided coins for breaking ties in Democratic presidential caucuses, according to a new report.

To be fair, there have been instances of the Dem Party putting a thumb on the scales for Clinton. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz found ways to keep things in Clinton’s favor. It should be noted that this was probably due more to her own personal benefit (she protected her Florida Republican buddies by squashing serious Democratic challenges) than anything.

But Sanders’ campaign has been woefully incompetent. The reason they lost Nevada wasn’t because of some organized fraud, but because Sanders’ supporters simply didn’t show up to the delegate seating event – and the ones that did were comically inept.

Off the top of my head, Clinton seated 98% of her delegates. Sanders seated only 74%. Most of the Sanders delegates simply failed to show up, and of the ones who did, most of them either weren’t registered Democrats (there are examples of people who changed their affiliation to ‘independent’ in protest of Sanders losing NY) and/or didn’t even live in Nevada.

Kato’s plan? Cheat. No doubt she thought this would be fair because she thought the process was ‘rigged’. While the two-sided coin didn’t come into play, she also instructed Nevada attendees to stay and create chaos.

I think it’s reasonable to assume that Kato knew the miserable organizational failure that Nevada was going to be. I think she knew that dozens of Sanders delegates simply didn’t qualify for seating, or weren’t going to show up. So her solution was to knock the game board over. You can’t lose if the pieces are scattered on the floor, right?

Playing dirty politics is nothing new. But the real ‘new is old’ part isn’t sneaky political maneuvering: It’s that even in an insurgent, purportedly revolutionary campaign, people can still fail upwards.

Joan Kato is now Sanders’ National Delegate Director.