PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA —They cheated.
Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mails, acknowledged as genuine, show that the Democratic Party itself worked to defeat Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and to win the party’s presidential nomination for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Last week, in his speech accepting the Republican nomination, Donald Trump said, “I have seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders–he never had a chance. Never had a chance.” At least with regard to Bernie Sanders, Trump has been proven correct.
The Democratic National Committee, which is the formal governing body of the Democratic Party, is obliged to remain neutral between serious candidates, and Sanders was certainly a serious candidate. Despite the best efforts of party operatives, Sanders ended up with roughly 12 million votes for the nomination. Clinton received 15 million, so Sanders got almost 45% of the vote between the two.
The DNC’s thumb-on-the-scale affected the contest in a number of ways. DNC communications resources were used to ridicule Sanders and downplay his chances of victory. DNC-sponsored debates were scheduled around holidays and on weekends in order to prevent Sanders from having a breakthrough performance. From the tone of these e-mails, it is reasonable to presume that the DNC provided inside information to the Clinton campaign. (Still to be investigated: whether federal election laws were violated in the coordination between the Clinton campaign and the DNC.)
The narrative of the campaign, set by the DNC as part of the Clinton machine, working through their agents and supporters in the major news media, was this: Bernie’s a grumpy old guy, kinda sweet, the sort of fellow who would be (and was) played by Larry David on Saturday Night Live—principled, but unrealistic—what a shame that he doesn’t stand a chance!
Perhaps most critically, the DNC ridiculed and downplayed concerns that the Clinton campaign stole the nation’s first nomination contest, the Iowa caucuses. The national party, which should have stepped in to ensure an honest voting procedure, diverted attention from the questions raised about Clinton’s narrow, apparent victory.
In the Iowa caucuses, Clinton was credited with a win, 49.8 percent to 49.6 percent, and 23 pledged (non-“super”) delegates to 21 for Sanders.
Clinton’s campaign may have stolen Iowa, just as the Romney campaign stole Iowa from Rick Santorum in the 2012 campaign. Santorum was eventually declared the winner, too late for him to take advantage of the momentum he would have received from an Iowa win. Indeed, GOP operative Karl Rove argued after the Iowa and New Hampshire votes that, since Romney had won the first two contests, the other candidates should drop out of the race. Based on the dual wins, many top operatives and donors moved behind Romney as the likely nominee. Santorum’s victory in Iowa, if reported at the time it occurred, might have changed the course of the 2012 GOP campaign.
Voting in Iowa is always chaotic, particularly in any campaign in which many new voters came into the process, inexperienced with the complicated rules of party caucuses. In Iowa in 2016, Clinton had huge advantages in the voting and in any possible recount process. The organization of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, governor from 1999-2007, was solidly in Clinton’s corner (one reason that Vilsack was a finalist as Clinton’s VP). The state Democratic chairman, who controlled the process (including the process for recounting votes), was a strong Clinton backer; she had an “HRC 2016” license plate on her Buick. And the state party made sure that no paper ballots were kept, so a full recount would have been impossible anyway.
How important was Clinton’s Iowa “win”? In retrospect, it saved her candidacy.
In the New Hampshire primary eight days after the Iowa caucuses, Sanders blew Clinton out of the water, 60.1 percent to 37.7 percent, winning the pledged delegates 15 to 9.
Remember that Clinton lost Iowa to Barack Obama in 2008, but made a comeback by winning the follow-up vote in New Hampshire, keeping her campaign alive to the end of the competition. Imagine if, in 2016, she had lost Iowa to Sanders, then lost New Hampshire as well? Chances are, other Democrats would have jumped into the race, and there’s a good chance that the Democratic Party would be nominating someone other than Clinton this week.
The DNC’s secret cheating comes on top of the cheating that was done in the open—the fact that unelected “superdelegates,” ranging from members of Congress to top Democratic donors, got convention seats without having to compete in primaries, caucuses, or other democratic processes related to their vote for president. The voters were cut out of the process.
At every point in the 2016 campaign, when it looked as if Sanders might pull past Clinton, the DNC gang pointed to the fact that the superdelegates’ support made it impossible for Sanders to win.
Without the cheating by the DNC and its chairman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, it’s entirely possible that the Democrats this week would be nominating someone other than Hillary Clinton.
The Bernie Sanders supporters here know this. I have encountered a number of them, and the ones with whom I’ve spoken are united in their contempt for Hillary Clinton and the corruption that, as they see it, she personifies.
“People need to understand that those e-mails were never meant to be made public,” explained Clinton operative Maria Cardona on CNN. (That’s for sure!) “We cannot let people think that the whole process was rigged. Hillary Clinton won fair and square.”
Wasserman Schultz yesterday announced that she’ll be leaving the chairmanship at the end of the convention. This morning, at a breakfast meeting of delegates, Wasserman Schultz was booed and jeered. Never letting a tragedy go to waste, she attempted to talk about last night’s deadly shooting in Fort Myers, but was met with shouts of “You rigged the election!” and “Shame on you!”
Commentator and Gore 2000 manager Donna Brazile will be the party’s acting chairman. She has warned that there may be more revelations coming from the e-mails, for which party officials might need to apologize. WikiLeaks, which released the e-mails, claims that Brazile is “implicated” in the scandal.
The announcement that Wasserman Schultz would continue to serve as a spokesman for the Clinton campaign was seen by Sanders supporters as evidence that no real punishment would be inflicted on the outgoing chairman.
Yesterday, protesters in downtown Philadelphia chanted, “Hell, no, DNC! We won’t vote for Hillary!”
A women who said she was 60 years old and had “been a Democrat all my life” said yesterday afternoon that “I’m looking at my choices [for November]. I’ll do whatever hurts Hillary. I might even vote for Trump.” I was in a hotel lobby with a group of Sanders supporters when Hillary Clinton’s picture, in the style of 1984’s Big Brother, came on the TV screen as part of a CNN ad. They mocked Clinton. “Why do they have to show her picture?” lamented a women wearing a delegate’s badge.
The Sanders people are justifiably angry. The question is, what are they going to do about it?
Hilariously, the Clinton campaign is suggesting that the revelation of the e-mails was done by Russian hackers in order to help Donald Trump. Right. The Clintons, who helped the Russians get control of 20 percent of the U.S. uranium supply in the crooked “Uranium One” deal (see http://www.breitbart.com/hillary-clinton/2016/05/01/one-year-silence-hillary-clinton-uranium-deal/ ), are being targeted by the Russians, who are backing Trump. The Russians, who presumably have thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of the 66,000+ State Department e-mails that Secretary Clinton stole and the 30,000+ she erased—e-mails full of incriminating information, or else she wouldn’t have put herself in legal jeopardy by stealing and erasing them—those Russians are pulling for Trump, rather than for Clinton, whom they are in a position to blackmail from now ’til doomsday.
Hey guys! Even conspiracy theories have to make some sense.