Democratic Party leaders accuse Bernie Sanders and his presidential campaign of inciting “violence” among supporters by promoting allegations that the primary process is rigged in favor of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Surrogates for Clinton and pundits, who favor Clinton, have ramped up their attacks on Sanders for maintaining a robust campaign, even though the last votes have yet to be cast in the primary.
Much of the pressure to rein in supporters stems from a belief that Sanders no longer has a right to run in the primary, and that he is now a spoiler candidate in the race. The pressure has ramped up in the aftermath of the chaos at the Nevada State Democratic Party’s convention, which was largely provoked by how it was handled by chairwoman Roberta Lange.
For example, The New York Times published a report with the incendiary headline, “Bernie Sanders, Eyeing Convention, Willing to Harm Hillary Clinton in the Homestretch.” It suggests Sanders intends to inflict a “heavy blow” on Clinton in California and “wrest the nomination from her,” despite the reality that she has not clinched the nomination.
Clinton surrogates, pro-Clinton pundits, and cable news television hosts (with the exception of MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mike Brzezinski) contend there is no evidence that the primary is rigged against Sanders. Senator Barbara Boxer said on CNN, “To his supporters who are grousing about the fact that everything is rigged, it’s not rigged. You know, we’ve had elections. Hillary has more votes. And Hillary has more delegates, not even counting superdelegates.” Tamron Hall, an MSNBC host, haplessly mixed sports metaphors and said, “This is the game of football, and now you want to change it to soccer. The rules have been in place,” and, “You’re in the last inning. What about the votes that Hillary Clinton earned?”
Hillary Rosen, a CNN political contributor and Clinton supporter, declared, “Bernie Sanders is losing this race, and instead of taking it like a man, he’s working the ref. He’s encouraging his people to think that the system is rigged. The system he signed up for as an independent to run in a Democratic primary. This constant sort of whining and complaining about the process is just really the most harmful thing, in some ways, he could do because he’s encouraging his supporters to think that the process actually is cheating them, and they’re not. This is a very well-documented process that he signed up for.”