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The ridiculous idea that Super Tuesday was ‘rigged’ for Joe Biden

In the wake of Joe Biden‘s sweeping victories on Super Tuesday, a very odd pushback began among online forces supportive of Bernie Sanders (and fomented by President Donald Trump and his loyal allies) that the whole process has somehow been “rigged” against him.

Hashtags like “#RiggedDNC” and “#RiggedPrimary” were trending on Twitter throughout the early morning hours of Wednesday as it became more and more clear that the former vice president had won in places like Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas that were presumed to be Sanders strongholds.

Looking through the tweets collected under those hashtags, the main evidence of this alleged rigging seems to be:

a) confusing ballots in various states where Sanders’ name was not easily found

b) the series of establishment endorsements by people like Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar of Biden on Monday.

c) long lines to vote in areas where Sanders ran strongest

Here’s a single tweet — from “Hayley Nobody” whose Twitter handle identifies her as “founder of #localberniecrats Denver” — that captures all of these ideas:

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.

As for allegations that the big lines and long waits disproportionately came in areas where there were large numbers of non-white voters, well that would seem to hurt Biden as much if not more than Sanders. Biden’s strength was built on support from black voters. He was much more dependent on their support than Sanders was on Hispanics.

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.

Remember back to last fall. Sanders, after spending several weeks off the campaign trail following a heart attack, returned to the campaign with a splash: The endorsement of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Do you think AOC just happened to decide to endorse Sanders right as he was seeking to reassure people that his health was just fine and that he was up to the task of running for president? Give me a break!

The Sanders campaign had the AOC endorsement in their pocket — and were simply waiting for the right time to deploy it and her. Because this is how politics works!

Biden’s legwork to not only get the endorsements of Buttigieg and Klobuchar but also do so before the critical Super Tuesday votes is evidence of a highly skilled campaign, not of rigging.

Put plainly: There is ZERO credible evidence that there was any rigging on Super Tuesday to help Biden and hurt Sanders. What did happen is that the party establishment, concerned of what nominating Sanders, an avowed democratic socialist, might mean for the party’s chances against Trump, worked to offer their strongest alternative to Super Tuesday voters. And voters in nine states chose Biden over Sanders.

That’s called democracy and party politics. And complaining about it just because your preferred candidate didn’t win as much as you thought he might or should isn’t a good look.

Article Topic Follows: Politics

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