The 2024 Democratic Primaries Are Looking Like 2016 All Over Again

May 4, 2023


The 2024 Democratic Primary will either be two things— the most talked about issue among progressives aside from simply ‘beating Trump at all costs’ or something virtually no one, especially the mainstream media, talks about.

President Biden appears to be, for a lack of better terms, the de facto nominee on account of his incumbency, despite the fact that leakers and the usual Beltway rumor mill indicate it’s more or less because they feel that if they ditch their incumbent, a Republican will surely will in 2024.

As of now, Biden is facing two competitors hoping to take their campaigns all the way to the DNC convention, weird crystal wine aunt Marianne Williamson, and anti-lockdown and health activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

According to recent polls, RFK Jr. is taking 19% of the Democratic vote away from Biden while Williamson barely registers. This is a big deal, especially this early on in the race since that also is a higher margin than DeSantis takes from Trump among Republican voters. For Biden to ignore this and avoid any debates as his campaign has announced goes against his own interest and strengthens his opponent’s arguments that he is not mentally cognizant enough to run and that he is also a weak leader.

However, an incumbent simply ignoring a competitor too also makes it hard for his opponents to be legitimized, even though it could harm Biden’s chances with the grassroots progressives come the general election.

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Despite not only saying he’ll ditch debates with RFK Jr. and Williamson, it’s also telling that the DNC changed their primary calendar to start with South Carolina first instead of New Hampshire, where Biden performed poorly against other Democrats in 2020.

Does his avoidance of his inner-party opponents remind you of anything? What about the DNC moving to make changes that appear to favor the frontrunner? Let us not forget the 2016 election which was only 7 years ago.

The 2016 Democratic Presidential Primaries between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders specifically were marked by controversy and allegations of unfairness. Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, ran on a progressive platform that called for universal healthcare, free college tuition, and breaking up big banks. Clinton, a former Secretary of State and Senator, ran as a more moderate candidate with a long record of public service.

Put this into comparison with pro-vaccine mandate Biden, who supported the lockdowns and is in the deep pocket of the corporate world and Big Pharma, compared to RFK Jr. who challenged the lockdowns publicly and is an advocate against the COVID vaccine and related mandates. They’re both progressive but on completely opposite sides on major issues the public at large cares about.

One of the main points of contention was the role of the DNC in the primary process. Leaked emails from DNC officials showed that they had favored Clinton over Sanders, which led to accusations of rigging the primary in her favor. Sanders and his supporters argued that the DNC had worked to limit his exposure to voters, and that they had set the debate schedule to favor Clinton. Turns out, the accusations were true.

There were also concerns about voter suppression and irregularities in the primary process itself. In states like Arizona and New York, voters reported long lines and closed polling stations, which made it difficult for them to vote. In addition, some Sanders supporters claimed that their votes had not been counted accurately, or that they had been disenfranchised in other ways.

The controversy surrounding the 2016 Democratic Presidential Primaries was a reflection of the deep divisions within the party at the time. While Clinton ultimately won the nomination and went on to face Donald Trump in the general election, the bitterness and resentment that characterized the primary race continued to simmer among Sanders supporters, some of whom refused to support Clinton in the general election.

Could RFK Jr. supporters end up backing Trump or whoever the Republican is in 2024 if the DNC gets up to their old tricks? We’ll have to wait and see.

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