Democrat Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently penned an open letter to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and he is pulling no punches. It’s refreshing to see this kind of rhetoric from a Democrat:
Throughout the modern era, the Democratic Party fought back against censorship, upheld civil liberties, resisted corporate influence, and sought to enfranchise as many voters as possible. The Democratic party truly lived up to its name — the party of democracy, the party of the people.
Unfortunately, in recent years our party leaders have succumbed to the siren of control. They have compromised the defining democratic principle of one person, one vote through repeated interference in the primary elections. They have hijacked the party machinery and, in recent years, directed the power of censorship onto their political opponents, raising political victory onto the altar in place of honest democracy.
Hint: He’s not just talking about himself. That second paragraph will resonate with many on the right, as well; journalists who have been denied access to public officials, even private parties who have had accounts canceled and shadow-banned, sometimes at the direct request of leftist politicians.
Equally disheartening is the DNC’s refusal to hold debates. The matter of precedent is spurious, as there has been no serious primary challenge to an incumbent in more than 40 years. (Although Al Gore, a sitting vice-president, did debate challengers in 2000.) Voters deserve — and democracy requires — a competitive process by which to determine nominees. It should be a party’s voters who choose a candidate, not party insiders who anoint one.
The DNC and the Joe Biden campaign have essentially merged into one unit, financially and strategically, despite the promise of neutrality in its charter and bylaws. The DNC is not supposed to favor one candidate over another. It is supposed to oversee a fair, democratic selection process, and then support the candidate that its voters choose.
Kennedy is correct in this; primary challenges to a sitting POTUS are rare on both sides. Ronald Reagan challenged Gerald Ford in 1976; in 1980, meanwhile, RFK Jr.’s uncle Ted Kennedy challenged Jimmy Carter for the Democrat nomination. Those were serious challenges, but in both, the incumbent walked away with the nomination. Most primary challenges in POTUS races have been pro forma, ending almost before they began.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s primary challenge to doddering old Joe Biden is more serious. Not only is President Biden increasingly infirm, his Presidency has been an economic disaster. He’s ripe for being booted out of office, but the DNC seems, as Mr. Kennedy points out, determined to keep him as the candidate in the 2024 race.
And, as I wrote earlier Sunday, things aren’t looking good for him in that contest.
RFK Jr. is perfectly correct to be calling the DNC on the carpet. We saw them try these same shenanigans on Bernie Sanders in 2016 and 2020, and it worked. The daffy old Bolshevik from Vermont proved to be conflict-adverse, especially after his sudden acquisition of a couple of lakefront estates. But Robert F. Kennedy Jr. seems to be pushing back harder; he’s clearly not going to go quietly into the night.
Mr. Kennedy concludes:
I write to you now in the hope that you hold the engine of democracy as sacred as I do. I pray that, at a time of public discontent, you cede more power to the public, not less, and thereby do right by yourselves, by the American people, and by the ideal of self-determination that inaugurated our great nation.
In service of a more perfect union.
It’s probably too late. It would be better for the electorate, of course, if the DNC was honest, fair, and above board. But it’s increasingly obvious that the ship has already sailed.