FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Undermining Bernie Sanders: the DNC Campaign, WikiLeaks and Russia

Two aspects of Hillary Clinton’s response to the Bernie Sanders campaign have been notable in 2016. One has involved her attempts to “adjust” to his views to make tactical gains. (Mixed mutterings of scepticism, for instance, about the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership.)

Of more interest is the undermining effort made by the Clinton camp, which has certainly veered well beyond Queensberry Rules. This might seem as ordinary as any statement about the prolific variety of cheese in France. We expect a political scrap in such primaries, and even the odd flash of indecent behaviour.

Nonetheless, it is always good to get incontrovertible evidence of such a tendency, showing the extent Sanders proved threatening to an individual who considers the White House her variant of political real estate.

WikiLeaks has again provided another list of items as part of its new series of releases on Hillary Clinton (the so-called “Hillary Leaks series”). The retort from the Clinton campaign team is that the source of the release did not necessarily come from a bleeding heart in the Democratic camp, some questioning spirit who had fallen on hard times and wished for a Sanders salvation. In all likelihood, suggested Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, Moscow played a role.

According to Mook, unspecified experts, always dangerously assumed to be such in the political business, were “telling us Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, and other experts are now saying that the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump.”[1] Those pesky Russians – again.

The accounts of seven figures of the Democratic National Congress feature in the WikiLeaks trove: Luis Miranda, Communications Director; National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan; Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer; Finance Director of Data and Strategic Initiatives Daniel Parrish, Finance Director Allen Zachary, Senior Advisor Andrew Wright, and Northern California Finance Director Robert Stowe.

The political insight offered by the emails is also one of tactical outlines on how best to neutralise opponents. Little surprise that Trump features heavily, with one strategy document insisting on emphasizing important themes designed to make the GOP candidate look like a mad dog: “Trump is dangerous and divisive, undermining our values and putting our security at risk.” He is “insulting” and violent”; he “undermines security” (highlight, goes a pointer, the danger of putting him in control of “nuclear codes”) and he is “untrustworthy”.

But the most interesting matter remains the effort against Sanders. One email exchange between Western Regional Communication Director for the Democratic Party Walter Garcia, and Miranda, involves the latter asking for an article to be freely distributed “without attribution” (May 18, 2016).[2]

Naturally, it has to be a wholly negative one. Authored by political reporter Jon Ralston, Garcia notes it as being a “good read”, rich in its attack on the Sanders group as “small-picture people” that presumably frustrate the efforts of big-picture Clintonites. Delicious to him is the pro-Establishment line. If the Sanders revolution entails directed obscenities at Senator Barbara Boxer, calling a state party chair corrupt and insist on being cheated out of something not theirs, then “give me the Establishment.”

A month prior, Jeremy Brinster reflects on aspects connected with the Panel on the Democratic path forward. Admissions are made about the Super PAC “paying young voters to push back online on Sanders supporters.” There is a prevailing irritation that Clinton finds herself having “to appeal to young liberals as opposed to pivoting back to the center.”[3]

One of the spiciest catches in the whole effort came from DNC chief financial officer, Brad Marshall. Ever open to that dirty swollen tactic in US politics of sniffing out the atheist (Freedom’s land is also God’s in exclusive ownership), Marshall suggested to Miranda in an email charmingly titled “No Shit” that the Clinton campaign focus on Sanders’ belief system.

While it might have made “no difference”, asking Sanders about his belief might have been relevant in the context of the contest in Kentucky and West Virginia. Poke the Bern, feel the result. “My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”[4] It was all a matter, he explained, of the “Jesus thing.” Following on from the trail, Amy K. Dacey, Chief Executive Officer of the DNC, spouted one word: “AMEN.”[5]

The email revelations have already claimed their first notable scalp. Chair of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, announced her resignation ahead of the Democratic Party convention. At best, this is mere patchwork stuff.

Sanders’ response might have been more vigorous, suggesting that the smallest of doors had been opened about throwing his hat into the presidential ring as a separate candidate. He already had a mountain to move on: Clinton’s patchy record, her genuine problems as a candidate. Instead, he returned to themes of an artificial unity that does not wash with many of his supporters. “Debbie Wasserman Schultz has made the right decision for the future of the Democratic Party.”

Her departure meant that the party had a chance to have “new leadership that will open the doors of the party and welcome in working people and young people.”[6] Unfortunately, such a cleansing could do with vigorous scrubbing of the very leadership itself, something which Sanders has exempted himself. The scouring devices have been set aside. “What is most important is defeating the worst candidate for president that I have seen in my lifetime.”

Notes.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/24/clinton-campaign-blames-russia-wikileaks-sanders-dnc-emails

[2] https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/9423

[3] https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/8351

[4] https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/7643

[5] https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/11508

[6] https://berniesanders.com/press-release/sanders-statement-dnc-chair-resignation/

More articles by:

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?
Franklin Lamb
Could “Tough Love” Salvage Lebanon?
George Ochenski
Why Wild Horse Island is Still Wild
Ann Garrison
Nikki Haley: Damn the UNHRC and the Rest of You Too
Jonah Raskin
What’s Hippie Food? A Culinary Quest for the Real Deal
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Brian Wakamo
We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture
Patrick Higgins
Children in Cages Create Glimmers of the Moral Reserve
Patrick Bobilin
What Does Optimism Look Like Now?
Don Qaswa
A Reduction of Economic Warfare and Bombing Might Help 
Robin Carver
Why We Still Need Pride Parades
Jill Richardson
Immigrant Kids are Suffering From Trauma That Will Last for Years
Thomas Mountain
USA’s “Soft” Coup in Ethiopia?
Jim Hightower
Big Oil’s Man in Foreign Policy
Louis Proyect
Civilization and Its Absence
David Yearsley
Midsummer Music Even the Nazis Couldn’t Stamp Out
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail