The recent release of hacked DNC emails revealed plenty of impropriety, but — contrary to the crazed assertions of innumerable headlines — still no evidence that the Democratic primary was rigged in any material way.
Here is what we have learned:
I. The emails confirm DNC bias for Clinton & against Sanders
This should shock no one.
Clinton’s close ties to the Democratic National Committee stretch back into the 20th century. However, those ties did not prove decisive against Barack Obama in 2008, nor did they slow the Sanders insurgency in 2016.
Nevertheless, the Sanders camp alleged unequal treatment throughout the present campaign. Since at least last fall, the Bern Unit has demanded the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
It is remarkable, however, how little actual wrongdoing has been found to date among the 20,000 hacked emails.
II. There is little evidence of improper DNC action against Sanders
Rarely have so many made so much out of so little.
In the emails, DNC operatives type a lot of smack about Sanders and generate some ideas to discredit him. But there is little evidence of follow-through. Most of these schemes apparently withered on the vine like the fruit of most brainstorms. In some cases, superiors explicitly rejected the feeble sabotage plans mooted.
For example, everyone seems scandalized by the idea of getting someone to ask Sanders if he believed in God during visits to Bible Belt states like Kentucky or West Virginia, but “there is no evidence that the plan was actually carried out.”
Of course, there should be appropriate discipline for everyone at the DNC who committed any actual wrongdoing.
III. Debbie Wasserman Schultz needed to go
If you are doing your job as party chair, then only political junkies should know your name. Through her bias, incompetence and unseemly lust for the spotlight, Wasserman Schultz thoroughly discredited herself long before the publication of the hacked emails; the new evidence merely gilded the lily of her notoriety. She did a few good things during her tenure, but given the unfair climate she created and permitted, her resignation was appropriate and long overdue.
Hillary Clinton erred by promptly recruiting the disgraced DNC Chair to her campaign staff. Wasserman Schultz already has a job in Congress; she should go back to her district to salvage that gig instead of continuing to discredit her party. Her disappearance from the national scene would give the Bernie Bros one less scapegoat for their mommy issues and misogynist frustrations.
IV. Putin’s dictatorship is tampering with our presidential election
Substantial evidence points to Russia as the source of the hack. Putin expresses hostility to our country by sheltering Edward Snowden, a traitor and “a narcissist who belongs in prison.” WikiLeaks is not a righteous band of idealistic hackers; they are tools of the Kremlin and sworn enemies of US national security.
The Russian dictator’s hostility to Clinton is a badge of honor for her and constitutes yet another excellent reason to support her. Conversely, the burgeoning Trump-Putin bromance is an extremely damning indictment of her opponent.
V. Stories on the email leaks are clinics in unsubstantiated assertions
The first wave of news coverage led with sensationalist headlines, which the supporting articles completely failed to support.
For example, the New York Post screamed, “Leaked emails show how Democrats screwed Sanders,” but the article just recounts the same familiar emails — all talk, no X-rated action.
Right wing sites go farther — making preposterous claims entirely unsupported by the emails.
One site — ironically called Truthfeed — shrieks “Hacked Democrat Emails Show Disgusting Disregard of Hispanic Voters.” Evidently, the site depends on its readers to believe its deranged assertions without reading the emails it cites as evidence, because there is literally no support in the emails for any of the claims in the headline, the article text, or the accompanying illustration — a hateful meme, ready for sharing on social media:
Another right wing site screeches, “DNC Email Shows Racist Outreach to Latinos Called Taco Bowl Engagement.”
In fact, if you read the email in question, then it becomes clear that the staffer is discussing DNC Latino outreach in response to Trump’s infamous taco bowl tweet:
VI. This is what electoral rigging really looks like
Students of American history can cite several actual examples of electoral fraud. Common rigging methods included:
- Paying people to vote, or bribing them with food and booze — usually whiskey and barbecue
- “Vote early and often” (i.e., the same people voting repeatedly in the same election under different names)
- Voting from beyond the grave (keeping dead voters on the rolls)
- Stuffing ballot boxes (and possible digital equivalents)
- Poll taxes (must pay a fee in order to vote)
- Exclusion/denial of access (Byzantine voter registration, Jim Crow laws, literacy tests, the Florida shenanigans in 2000, Arizona Republicans restricted Democratic primary polling places in 2016, etc.)