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Matt Taibbi: Democrats Are Unwittingly Handing Sanders the Nomination

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With both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary behind us, one thing is abundantly cler: the establishment still not stomach a Bernie Sanders nomination. Writing in Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi points out how corporate media fell all over itself on Wednesday to undercut the Vermont senator’s win in New Hampshire, just as it fabricated Pete Buttigieg’s victory in Iowa just a week ago.

Establishment Democrats are throwing everything—and everyone–they’ve got into the primary race to stop or at least slow the Vermont senator’s ascendance. Ironically, it is precisely this eagerness to nominate anybody but Sanders that is leading Democrats into the same trap Republicans fell into in 2016. From Taibbi’s latest column:

Four years ago, after New Hampshire, it was crystal clear that Donald Trump was not only going to win his party’s nomination, but that his path was being actively cleared by the Republican Party establishment and the national news media, whose half-baked efforts to stop him were working in reverse. I wrote this in February 2016:

The [Republicans] sent forth to take on Trump have been so incompetent, they can’t even lose properly. One GOP strategist put it this way: “Maybe 34 [percent] is Trump’s ceiling. But 34 in a five-person race wins…” The numbers simply don’t work, unless the field unexpectedly narrows before March. 

Early mixed results guaranteed that Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio would not drop out soon enough to give any of the others a chance. As a result, the following was obvious at this time four years ago: “Trump will probably enjoy at least a five-horse race through Super Tuesday.”

In hindsight, those Republican challengers were so villainously terrible that none would have beaten Trump in a two-person race. Still, Bush’s backers knew their man was roadkill by New Hampshire, yet didn’t pull the plug. Kasich, who in a rare moment of self-awareness was ready to bail after Iowa (“If we get smoked up there, I’m going back to Ohio,” he fumed in New Hampshire), let himself be fooled by one surprise second-place finish.

All pledged to be committed to stopping Trump but accelerated his victory by staying in too long. Popular disgust was also enhanced by delusional news-media hype surrounding a succession of would-be “real” candidates.

All of this is happening all over again, only this time it’s Democrats who are committing ritualistic self-abuse, seemingly in a conspiracy with one another and the news media to push as many votes as possible to a hated outsider.

The journalist goes on to list the many ways Republicans paved the path for Donald Trump to become the Republican nominee four years ago, comparing how the media gushed over Pete Buttigieg to the rapturous reporting of Marco Rubio’s short-lived “Marcomentum” after Iowa. These outlets are even regurgitating the same awful puns. (“Petementum”? “Klomentum”? Who comes up with these?)

“These constant mercurial shifts in ‘momentum’ — it’s Pete! It’s Amy! Paging Mike Bloomberg!,” writes Taibbi, “have eroded the kingmaking power of the Democratic leadership. They are eating the party from within, and seem poised to continue doing so.”

Taibbi admits that “no one could have predicted that even the idiosyncratic particulars of the 2016 and 2020 races would be so alike.” But unlike the electoral nightmare of 2016, this particular horse race won’t end with the “horrifying” nomination of a neo-nazi sympathizer. And if Sanders becomes the Democratic nominee and bests Trump—as most polls predict he will—the U.S. will have elected a democratic socialist who can deliver “a future to believe in,” as Sanders’ campaign slogan goes.

As for the Berniecrats, Taibbi advises them to simply keep asking themselves, “Are you bought off, or not?” and hang tight while their man crosses the finish line, much to the dismay of an increasingly inept establishment.

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