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After Bernie’s Win in Iowa, the Democratic Party Is Shitting Its Pants

Democratic Party leaders like Tom Perez have long dismissed the threat posed by Bernie Sanders. With their meltdown in Iowa after Bernie’s victory, we’re witnessing the final crumbling of that delusion — and they have no one to blame but themselves.

DES MOINES, IA — Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks to the media after boarding the plane at the Des Moines International Airport on February 4. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The mask is off now.

Earlier today, Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, announced via Twitter that he was calling for a complete “recanvassing” of Monday’s Iowa Democratic Caucus — a contest Sanders handily won by popular vote and was likely to win by even the party’s own deeply confusing and arbitrary official metric known as “state delegate equivalents.”

For those who want to give Perez the benefit of the doubt, CNN reported that the DNC Chair made the call specifically due to the method in which delegates were being awarded to the satellite caucus sites — places where Sanders crushed his competition, particularly in those that were disproportionately working class and nonwhite. At the Ottumwa site, Ethopian immigrant workers at an Iowa pork facility handed overwhelming victory to Sanders, with only a single Warren supporter — a staffer for her campaign — preventing a complete Sanders blowout.

These were the satellites that were to hand Sanders a third metric of victory in Iowa — this one by the arcane and confusing “State Delegate Equivalents” metric which few, even in the Iowa Democratic Party, seem to understand. Wednesday night, just before that group of satellites was to be counted, the Iowa Democratic Party abruptly announced they were breaking for the night. Just a few hours later, Perez attempted to invalidate the election.

You might remember Perez from the 2016 Wikileaks hack of the DNC, in which he made it clear that the DNC and the Clinton campaign were one in the same: “I also look forward to my appearance on Telemundo tomorrow where I can trumpet [Hillary Clinton’s] strong support among Latinos and put a fork once and for all in the false narrative about Bernie and Latinos.”

I feel almost a little sorry for Perez — he’s been tasked with saving a party elite and a status quo that cannot and should not be saved. But Democratic Party leaders like him have dismissed the Sanders threat for years now at their peril. What you’re witnessing this week is the final crumbling of that delusion. And they have no one to blame but themselves.

Had they taken Sanders and his coalition seriously, they probably could have stopped him by now. But they didn’t — they simply couldn’t believe an old socialist with a funny regional accent could rally millions to such off-the-wall causes as Medicare-for-All and full employment, two former planks of the supposed workers party which they curiously never got around to implementing.

And for once, we might have to thank the US Constitution for this turn of events. If we lived under a Westminster system, Trump’s election might very well have seen Sanders taking over as the official leader of a deeply divided opposition party way back in 2017, giving our ruling class years to take him down as they finally did with Jeremy Corbyn in the UK.

Thankfully, the sheer arrogance of our elites kept them from ever considering the possibility that Sanders, despite being loathed by DC politicos, was already in effect the leader of the Democratic Party as determined by its voters who, unlike the party elite, always liked the guy. And now it’s only a few months until the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, after which — if Sanders does indeed win the nomination — it will be only a few months more until the general election.

Our ruling class can do a lot of damage in that time, but not as much as they could’ve done in the past three years. They couldn’t even find an anti-Sanders champion to rally around. In fact, they’re still looking for one, falling in love with a new politico only to dump them for the next hot young thing. We’ve watched as the media puffed up Beto O’Rourke, then Kamala Harris, then Pete Buttigieg, then Elizabeth Warren, now cycling back to Buttigieg and perhaps Michael Bloomberg. Like desperate, miserable Tinder users, they want somebody worth a swipe-right, but their heart is forcing them to swipe left.

Whatever happens between now and Milwaukee, they failed to put out the flame that has spread like wildfire across the country. But that doesn’t mean that shit isn’t about to get totally insane. It definitely is. And it’s far too late to turn back now. Simply by demanding basic working-class policies like Medicare for All, full employment, and a reform of our anti-democratic political institutions, we have collectively picked a fight. And it’s going to be the fight of our lives, starting right now.

Perez and the “Stop Bernie!” clown car that is the Democratic Party are only the first line of defense for the American ruling class. We’ve got a long road ahead of us and we’re not even close to the final boss. So just take a deep breath. It’s going to get a lot uglier soon.