News & Politics

Brazile Effect: 47% of Americans Think Primary Was Rigged against Bernie

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during the CNN Democratic Presidential Primary Debate with Hillary Clinton at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Thursday, April 14, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Even after former Democratic National Committee (DNC) interim chair Donna Brazile’s powerful report in Politico revealing clear DNC collaboration with the Hillary Clinton campaign — even in the primary — most Democrats still believe Clinton beat Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) fair and square, according to a new poll.

A full 54 percent of Democrats said Clinton defeated Sanders fairly in the 2016 primary, according to a Rasmussen survey earlier this month after Brazile’s scathing report. Only 32 percent of American voters said the primary was fair.

At least 27 percent of Democrats said the primary was “rigged against challenger Bernie Sanders.” Almost a fifth (19 percent) remained undecided.

Among all likely voters, 47 percent said the Democratic primary was rigged against Sanders.

Brazile’s report in Politico teased her new book, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House. Her article revealed a secret agreement giving the Clinton campaign control of the DNC during the 2016 election.

While many Democrats have argued that the agreement only applied to the general election, the actual agreement specifically applied to at least one aspect of the primaries.

Furthermore, Brazile herself — who was a CNN contributor at the time — gave Clinton the questions before two Democratic primary events in March 2016.

Worse, a full 51 percent of Democrats opposed the superdelegate system in the primary — a structure which gave Hillary Clinton a clear lead from the beginning, no matter which primaries Sanders would go on to win. The superdelegates selected by the party can support any candidate, regardless of which candidate won their state’s popular vote.

Even so, more than half of Democrats still say Clinton won the primary fairly. Perhaps even more revealing, the poll showed that the Democratic Party has still not healed from the division between Clinton and Sanders in 2016.

Older, male, and black Democratic voters were more likely to believe Clinton won fairly. Interestingly, women were more conflicted.

Younger voters, central to Sanders’ coalition, were also more likely to say the system was “rigged” against the Democratic socialist. A full 42 percent of young Democrats complained the system was “rigged” against Sanders, while only 34 percent said Clinton won fairly.

This trust in the Democratic nomination process also seems remarkable considering that as late as April 2017, a majority of Democrats (61 percent) still did not believe Trump fairly won the presidential election. Unlike the Democratic primary, the deciding votes in the electoral college were determined by majority vote in the different states.

Tellingly, just after the 2016 election, 48 percent of Americans thought the results were more a vote against Hillary Clinton than for Donald Trump. Only 35 percent said the election represented a decision for Trump more than against Clinton.

Around the release of Clinton’s book What Happened in September, 61 percent of voters said it was time for Clinton to retire from public life. Republicans counting on the acute dislike many Americans still harbor Clinton need not fear, however. Earlier this month, Clinton dismissed any calls for her to retire from public life as “rank sexism.”