“They are rigging the election again against Bernie Sanders, just like last time, only even more obviously,” Trump tweeted on Friday.
“They are bringing him out of so important Iowa in order that, as a Senator, he sit through the Impeachment Hoax Trial,” he continued. “Crazy Nancy thereby gives the strong edge to Sleepy Joe Biden, and Bernie is shut out again. Very unfair, but that’s the way the Democrats play the game. Anyway, it’s a lot of fun to watch.”
Trump’s theory isn’t plucked entirely out of thin air. With the impeachment trial set to begin on Tuesday, Sanders will have to disrupt his campaign activity in Iowa and return to Washington DC to sit in the Senate, two weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses. Crucially for Sanders, the trial begins as he edges Biden out of the lead in the polls.
The caucuses are the first major contest in the presidential primary season, and eight out of the last 12 caucus winners went on to win the Democratic party’s nomination.
Sanders’ fellow 2020 frontrunner Elizabeth Warren will also return to DC to hear the case against Trump, while Biden, the former Vice President, will be free to stump for support with impunity.
Trump has savaged the case against him from multiple angles, alternately calling it “presidential harassment,” a “partisan hoax,” and a “witch hunt” led by the “Do Nothing Democrats.” Lately, however, the president has taken to stoking division among his opponents, talking up “Crazy Bernie Sanders” surge in the polls and amplifying a brewing feud between Sanders and Warren – two candidates representing the leftist, progressive wing of the Democratic party.
Friday’s tweet isn’t the first time Trump has accused the Democrats of stacking the cards against Sanders. Last April, he suggested that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was “again working its magic in its quest to destroy Crazy Bernie Sanders for the more traditional, but not very bright, Sleepy Joe Biden.”
The Democratic establishment is widely believed to have “rigged” the 2016 primaries in favor of Hillary Clinton, with an email leak from within the DNC revealing the extent of the bias. Clinton was notified of debate questions in advance, her foundation was allowed to staff and fund the DNC, and Sanders’ campaign strategy was secretly passed to the Clinton camp.
The rest is history, and whether the impeachment trial is an intentional move to muscle Sanders out of contention or not, The Democratic Party looks in danger of repeating the mistakes that cost it the White House in 2016.