Remember the spring and summer of 2016? Republicans beating each other up on (and off) debate stages? Dishing dirt on the front-runner and general unpleasantness emanating from every microphone? 

But on the Democratic side, it was a bit more subdued. In a very short time, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders emerged as the only two who mattered in the race for the nomination. Bernie garnered more than a few delegates to the National Convention, but it didn’t take long to realize nothing was going to stop the Hillary Train from arriving first.

Four years ago, a wide variety of journalistic pundits opined that “the fix was in” from the beginning. Conventional wisdom had it that there was no way the Democrat establishment was going to let Socialist Bernie get the nod as party standard-bearer. You may recall one shenanigan in particular: Super Delegates. There were over 700 such designations given to elected Democrats and party officials from around the country. The vast majority of them were pledged to Clinton. For Sanders, that had to be akin to starting a baseball game down 25-0 before the first pitch was thrown.

Fast forward to 2020. The more things change, the more they stay the same, at least according to many of the same previously mentioned pundits. There seems to be another move afoot this year to once again deny Bernie Sanders any shot at the party nomination to take on Donald Trump. Case in point: The Iowa Caucus fiasco. Sanders’ vote totals were supposedly just about dead even with Mayor Pete’s. But he (and Pete) were both denied the opportunity to gloat a bit and build on that momentum when somehow the process got messed up on caucus night. (Never mind Iowa has been doing this for 50 years.) As of this writing, I believe the vote counters have just now achieved 100%.

Sanders’ minions cry, “They keep changing the rules.” And perhaps they do. I just happened to get ahold of what seems to be a memorandum outlining a few ways Bernie might be stopped. Unfortunately, the masthead has been torn off, so I really don’t know if anything is actually official, or where it originated. But some of the proposed criteria going forward for new election rules for Democratic candidates are rather interesting.

For example, one item says if you want to be the Democratic nominee, “You can’t live in Vermont.” You see, that right there is quite a slam in Bernie’s face. And really doesn’t affect anyone else in the race.

Another says, “You have to be able to beat Joe Biden in a push-up contest.”

And there are more. “No curmudgeons allowed.” “Midwestern accents only.” “The cost of your healthcare proposals cannot exceed the combined wealth of all Americans.” 

Many of Bernie’s supporters are young voters. They apparently like his Free College, Free Medical, and Free Money platforms more than other demographics. But those people wouldn’t be an issue with this new proposed rule to stop Bernie: “Delegates under 35 years of age can’t vote.”

Under the new stipulations, you can’t be the nominee if, “You remember skinny Elvis and the British pop invasion; American Bandstand was ‘must-see TV’ when you were young; you actually saw Mickey Mantle play Center Field; and you don’t have to Google ‘Estes Kefauver’ to know who he was.” 

You’ll also be shut out as a candidate if a lot of your stories start off with, “Back in my day,” or “When I was a boy.” And you can’t have gone to Russia on your honeymoon.

But the biggest new rule going against The Bern is one he pretty much brought on himself. Sanders likes to talk about income redistribution in one form or another. As in, the rich should pay more. And more. And more. So, even if all the other rules didn’t keep him from the nomination, this one would: “The total number of delegates you’ve managed to accumulate by the time the Convention rolls around will be divided up equally among all other candidates. You can’t have any more or any less than anyone else. It’s the only fair thing to do.”

Now, as I’ve mentioned, this list might not be the real playbook. But there’s no doubt many establishment Democrats are a tad bit afraid of having to even feign support for Bernie and a few of his programs. It wouldn’t be surprising to see some version of these rules included here to be put into play before all is said and done. Which could very well leave Sanders out in the New England cold once again.

©MMXX. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer