On Thursday, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) signaled once and for all that the Democratic Party does have a leader: an ancient, bedraggled socialist from Vermont who has never sponsored a major piece of legislation, but who allegedly loves pudding. In the aftermath of former Democratic National Committee head Donna Brazile’s piece at Politico stating that the party had been effectively run by the Clinton campaign since mid-2015, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Warren whether she agreed that the process had been rigged for Hillary in 2016.
Here’s what ensued:
And here’s the transcript:
TAPPER: “I want to ask you one other question, Senator. We learned today from former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile that the Clinton campaign, in her view, did rig the presidential nominating process by entering into an agreement to control day-to-day operations at the DNC. The Clinton Campaign controlling the party’s staffing, strategy, finances, communications, and that agreement was entered into in August 2015, a year before she defeated Senator Bernie Sanders. This must shock you.”
WARREN: “Look, this is a real problem. But what we’ve got to do as Democrats now is we’ve got to hold this party accountable. When Tom Perriello was first—Tom Perez—was first elected chair of the DNC, the very first conversation I had with him is to say you have got to put together a Democratic Party in which everybody can have confidence that the party is working for Democrats rather than Democrats are working for the party. And he’s being tested now. This is a test for Tom Perez. And either he’s going to succeed by bringing Bernie Sanders and Bernie Sanders’ representatives into this process and they’re going to say it’s fair, it works, we all believe it. Or he’s going to fail. And I very much hope he succeeds. I hope for Democrats everywhere. I hope for Bernie and for all of Bernie’s supporters that he’s going to succeed.”
TAPPER: “Very--very quickly, Senator, do you agree with the notion it was rigged?”
Now, Warren waited forever in the 2016 primaries before endorsing Hillary Clinton, but she endorsed Clinton nonetheless. Warren praised Sanders at the time, too: “I take my cue on every part of this from Bernie himself and what he said right at the beginning … what this is about, what we’re doing here is about millions of people across this country, millions of people who work hard every day and just keep getting slammed.”
But one thing is now clear: this is Bernie’s party. That’s why Brazile is bowing before him. That’s why Warren is endorsing the line that Sanders was the rightful nominee.
All of which leaves one question: does Bernie want to run again?
If Sanders runs again in 2020, there’s a high probability that he wins the nomination, particularly since the Bernie Bros will be twice as likely to show up to vote as they were in 2016, given their ire against the Democratic establishment. But Bernie could be even more powerful sitting it out and becoming the Grand Old Man of the Democratic left. He could withhold his endorsement for months and force Democratic candidates to pay homage to him. He could push his policy recommendations into the Democratic platform. He could become the shadow Democratic president without firing a shot.
Whatever Sanders decides to do, he’s sitting pretty. And the fact that a geriatric socialist with no sense of reality is now the de facto head of the Democratic Party should scare anyone in their right mind.