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2016’s Ratfucking Today

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Kevin McCarthy and other Republican luminaries are running the “the Democrat Party is trying to RIG the primaries against candidates we TOTALLY have the utmost respect for” routine again:

On Monday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called on former Vice President Joe Biden to suspend his campaign during the Senate impeachment trial of Trump — but not for Trump’s sake. Instead, McCarthy claims, he should do so to avoid taking unfair advantage over Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who will be required to remain in Washington and off the campaign trail in the immediate run-up to the New Hampshire primary. Other Republican leaders have echoed these sentiments.

But let’s be clear: Republicans’ crocodile tears for the two most left-leaning candidates remaining in the Democratic primary have nothing to do with procedural fairness or the political fortunes of the two viable Democratic candidates Republicans would least like to be president. The real implication of McCarthy’s remarks is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (and other establishment Democrats) are trying to use the timing of impeachment to rig the primaries and damage the Sanders campaign (and, to a lesser degree, Warren’s as well). The point of McCarthy’s message is to try to convince Sanders’ supporters (and Warren’s, if necessary) that if Biden — or, in a much less likely scenario, Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana — wins the nomination, he is an illegitimate candidate.

There is a Nixon-era political term that describes what they’re doing: ratf——. Nobody supporting a Democratic candidate should take this bait.

If the idea that a Sanders’ loss can only happen if someone else rigs the system seems familiar, it should. Throughout 2016, Trump cynically pretended to show solidarity with Sanders, the alleged victim of a “rigged” primary. Trump’s pandering to Sanders supporters was supported on social media by pro-Trump Russian hackers and their allies in WikiLeaks, as seen in the wake of the election. Hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee were released for maximum negative impact right before the Democratic convention in 2016; the contents of John Podesta’s inbox were released less than half an hour after footage of Trump boasting about his propensity for sexually assaulting women on a live mic surfaced and threatened to derail his campaign.

The idea that impeachment was a clever ruse to kneecap Bernie, Warren, ands Amy Klobuch…whoops, forget I said the last one, because she actually has the most to lose here, which is not good for the narrative — is even dumbed than it was in 2016. But that doesn’t mean it won’t get traction, because We Must Pretend Republicans Are Acting In Good Faith and The Dems Are In Disarray But the DNC is the Most Ruthlessly Effective Political and Paramilitary Origanization the World Has Ever Known are both among the hardest of Hard Pundit Laws.

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