Did Democrats “Clear the Field” for Hillary Clinton in 2016?

Dennis Van Tine/UPPA via ZUMA

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There are pros and cons to being a blogger. One of the cons is that when you ask a question that shows off your ignorance, the entire world gets to see it. Let’s do it anyway.

Question: What exactly do people mean when they say that the Democratic establishment “cleared the field” for Hillary Clinton in 2016? I can think of various definitions of this, ranked from least to most objectionable:

  1. HRC had lots of money and lots of support, and that scared everyone else away.
  2. Democratic bigwigs actively lobbied prospective candidates to stand down.
  3. HRC made various promises to superdelegates, but only if they’d support her and make sure that everyone knew they wouldn’t switch.
  4. The establishment threatened prospective candidates in concrete ways if they showed interest in running.

#1 is meaningless. Someone is always the frontrunner. #2 is more active, but also a nothingburger. #3 is worse, depending on what kind of promises were made. #4 would be clearly beyond the pale.

So what is it? I’m not plugged into the gossip circuit, but I was paying attention during 2015 when candidates were thinking about running. I don’t recall hearing about anything untoward during that time. In fact, what I mostly heard were laments about how thin the Democratic bench was. Anyone care to help out here? I especially want to hear from Bernie supporters who feel like the Democratic establishment screwed them.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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