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.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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