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EDITORIAL: DNC’s actions undermine democracy

The oft-maligned two party system of the United States has been placed under severe political scrutiny throughout the past couple of years.

First came President Donald J. Trump, whose rhetoric and lack of political experience shook the Republican Party to its core. As Republicans have since fallen in line with Trump's ideological stances, it is easy to forget how much disdain he was once viewed by fellow party members, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

This time around, it is the Democratic Party that is facing election year turmoil and divisiveness, as its electorate is split between Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the more progressive choice for President, and former Vice President Joe Biden, the moderate’s favorite.

The Republican Party could not stop Trump’s campaign, and as a result, it unified around him. Now, the Democratic Party is doing everything in its power to ensure that Sanders does not become its nominee come the general election.

It is easy to see why the Democratic Party is doing this. First, as much as it likes to portray themselves as champions of the working class and marginalized, the establishment of the Democratic Party is still every bit as rich and wealthy as the leaders of other powerful institutions in the United States. Sanders's programs could hurt the Democrats financially, and they would not like these policies to come to fruition.

Second, the Democratic power brokers may view Sanders as a candidate with poor electability in the general election, a fear perhaps not completely unjustified by the negative connotations that socialism — and Sanders as a self-described Democratic Socialist — has.

Regardless of their reasoning, the methods that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) are employing are utterly backhanded and dilute democracy as a whole.

It should strike nobody as a surprise that former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the most widely supported moderate alternative to Biden, dropped out of the race a mere two days before yesterday’s pivotal Super Tuesday. It should also be no shock that Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) dropped on Monday. Both candidates immediately jumped to endorse Biden prior to yesterday’s big contest.

“In a last-minute bid to unite the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, Klobuchar and Buttigieg on Monday threw their support behind a presidential campaign rival, (Joe) Biden, giving him an extraordinary boost ahead of the Super Tuesday primaries that promised to test his strength against the liberal front-runner, Sanders,” according to The New York Times.

To believe that the DNC had nothing to do with Buttigieg and Klobuchar’s exiting of the race (Buttigieg’s departure was particularly abrupt) is naive. They both left at a time that was awfully convenient for Biden, and the odds of them simply being that stringently against Sanders and his platform seems to lack the self-serving streak that most politicians possess. 

This is not to support or smear Biden or Sanders, or their respective platforms. Rather, it is to critique the DNC and their backhanded, coordinated efforts to collude against a candidate — and, by extension, those who support him and his policies. 

It is also poor politicking, which is concerning for those — like the DNC itself — who want to see Trump lose the general election in November. By conspiring against a large portion of your party’s base, you alienate those members and lead them to perhaps correctly believe that they are not valued or heard. If Sanders supporters believe that the DNC actively revoked his chances at the nomination, as many believe the party did during the 2016 presidential election, they may refuse to vote for the Democratic candidate out of apathy or anger at the party’s actions. 

It also raises concerns about democracy in America. The DNC is a political organization not affiliated with the federal government. When an institution and its powerful members gain far more political leverage than the typical voter, can it truly be said that we live in a nation where each vote is counted equally? Under no circumstance should a monolith of wealthy individuals be allowed to join together via selfish interest and dictate the nominee for president.

A simple way to combat this, at least in part, is to ignore endorsements, advertisements and other bells and whistles thrown out by the DNC, political action committees and other powerful groups telling you who to vote for. We have said it before, but its importance cannot be understated: Your vote must stem from policy, not the media.

While solving the institutional issues that are causing this is beyond the scope of any individual, an interesting opportunity has emerged: The New Jersey Democratic primary, scheduled for June, is going to actually matter. Usually the nominee is selected at that point, but the party coalescing around Biden could bring this contest down to the wire. Your vote in that primary is going to make a legitimate difference, so, quite simply: vote.


The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 152nd editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.