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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"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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