CNN’s Van Jones called on the Democratic Party to “let our voters vote” and not try to “derail” Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2020 race for the White House.
Recalling the 2016 election, Jones spoke with comedian and talk show host Bill Maher about the possibility of the Vermont senator becoming the Democratic presidential nominee, urging party leaders to stay clear of manipulating the process.
“Democrats at the top of the party thought they were smarter than the voters and obviously put their finger on the scale,” Jones said.
“Let our voters vote,” the CNN political commentator and former President Obama’s green jobs adviser added. “If the Democratic higher-ups step in and try to derail Bernie Sanders, it’s impossible to put this thing back together.”
Though he believes the Democratic party was “not neutral” in 2016 when Sanders battled Hillary Clinton for the nomination, Jones didn’t think the democratic socialist would have won anyway.
“Trust the party, trust democracy,” he told Maher.
Trump called out the “rigged system” in a tweet Friday, seeming to defend Sanders from the scheming of the Democrats.
It is happening again to Crazy Bernie, just like last time, only far more obvious. They are taking the Democrat Nomination away from him, and there’s very little he can do. A Rigged System!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2020
Sanders edged out former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary on Tuesday, and his rise in popularity has some members of the party worried that his progressive agenda will not win over moderates in swing states.
The disastrous Iowa caucuses last week raised questions from many of Sanders’ supporters about whether the party was intervening somehow as a panic set in over his rising support and as his campaign planned to ask for a “partial recanvass” of some Iowa precincts.
Results from Iowa showed Buttigieg leading with 14 pledged delegates over Sanders who received 12 following the voting debacle due to technical issues, a new app used to report results and often questionable practices which roiled the caucuses, delayed results and ultimately undermined faith in the entire process.
Iowa releases final delegate totals with Buttigieg in lead, Bernie demands recanvass https://t.co/AKIOji8UGw
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 10, 2020
“They screwed it up badly, is what the Iowa Democratic Party did,” Sanders had said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
In some locations, tied caucus votes that were too close to call were broken with an actual flip of a coin and one precinct gave more state delegates than it even had.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez came under fire as the Iowa mess unfolded, with Rep. Marcia Fudge, the chairwoman of the House Administration Committee’s subpanel on elections, joining a growing list of Democratic voices calling him out for showing “no leadership” in the Iowa vote-counting fiasco.
Perez seemed to distance himself from the imploding disaster while using lower-ranking party leaders in Des Moines as scapegoats. Troy Price, the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, resigned this week following the fallout but new documents revealed that the DNC was apparently pretty involved in the development of the vote tabulation app that malfunctioned.
CNN’s Erin Burnett spoke with Perez after a discussion with a caucus site leader in Nevada where caucuses are scheduled for next week. Seth Morrison told the CNN host on “OutFront with Erin Burnett” on Friday that they were going to be using an online tool that they had “never seen or been trained on.”
Burnett confronted Perez about the app which he said was not the same as the one used in Iowa.
“Our goal is to have a caucus that is as low-tech as humanly possible while preserving efficiency,” he said, assuring Burnett that they have learned lessons from Iowa and have a back-up plan in place.
“Everybody else who needs to be trained will be trained and there will be people in caucus sites or readily available on a phone,” Perez said. “If you have a question, you will feel free to call those people. Again, I have great confidence in the leadership team in Nevada.”
“How much responsibility do you take for what happened in Iowa?” Burnett asked Perez later, bringing up the document which showed that “DNC officials played extensive roles in the development of the app that was used in Iowa.”
“We all succeed together. We all fall short together. And the language you’re referring to is language that we have put in place in contracts to make sure that we are paying attention to cybersecurity,” Perez replied. “That contract was entered into between the Iowa Democratic Party and shadow. But the language that you’re referring to is something we include because we care about cybersecurity.”
Perez also defended recent changes in Democrat primary debate rules that many criticized for giving billionaire and 2020 hopeful Michael Bloomberg an advantage.
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