Earlier today I noted that the hashtag #RiggedElection was trending on Twitter. The trend was significant enough that CNN’s Chris Cillizza wrote a piece about it. His conclusion? There wasn’t any rigging of anything. After digging through the tweets to find the alleged substance behind the hashtags, Cillizza basically boiled it down to three things: Confusing ballots, endorsements by candidates exiting the race, and long lines to vote. He pointed to this tweet as an example of some of these claims:
Here’s the thing: None of those pieces of evidence are proof of the process being rigged for Biden. Not even close.
Ballot order is determined differently in each state. Some states use alphabetical order. Others, like Texas, randomize it. So for there to be some sort of broad-scale, multi-state (remember that 14 states voted on Super Tuesday) conspiracy to hurt Sanders and help Biden is, um, far-fetched.
Citing long lines at a particular polling place as proof of some sort of conspiracy is a classic example of mistaking anecdotal evidence as statistically significant. Millions of votes were cast at thousands of polling places all over America on Tuesday. The fact that there was a big line — or it took a long time to vote — at one particular polling place simply doesn’t prove anything other than it took a long time to vote at that particular polling place…
And then finally is the idea that the endorsements of Buttigieg and Klobuchar (and, to a lesser extent, Beto O’Rourke) are somehow shining examples of how the process is being rigged against Sanders. They are shining examples — but not of rigged-ness. Rather, they are shining examples of Politics 101.
Cillizza concludes: “There is ZERO credible evidence that there was any rigging on Super Tuesday to help Biden and hurt Sanders.” On the contrary, he says what happened yesterday is “called democracy and party politics.” He pronounces the complaining about it not a “good look.”
One thing I notice is that Cillizza has skipped over one of the complaints made in that tweet above. He doesn’t say anything about the complaint that the media is “curating a very specific & biased narrative.” That’s odd to me because that thread of the complaint is pretty clearly coming from the top. Earlier today, Sanders tore into the media:
A day after Joe Biden’s Super Tuesday victory, Sanders told reporters that his own campaign has had to face “venom by some in corporate media” – and he used the Matthews gaffe as an example.
Although not mentioning the now-retired Hardball host by name, Sanders said today that “there has not been a campaign that has been having to deal with the venom by some in the corporate media. This campaign has been compared to the coronavirus on television. We have been described as the Nazi army marching across France.”
He went on to dismiss the last debate as a “food fight” which was “about who could yell the loudest.” Even if you think his criticism of Chris Matthews is fair, this is hardly the first time that Sanders has complained the media was against him. Last August Sanders suggested that he wasn’t getting positive coverage from the Washington Post because owner Jeff Bezos was worried about Sanders raising corporate taxes. Sanders backed away from that but as NBC News pointed out, his complaints about the corporate media go back to at least the 1980s.
Given how often the media hits Trump for his own media criticism (in particular of CNN) it’s odd that CNN didn’t notice this might be part of what is driving the Bernie Bros outrage about yesterday’s results. My guess is the media will have several more opportunities to call Sanders out on this before the primary is over.