Let’s Not Overreact About the Leaked DNC Emails

Just when I thought the Democrats would have a nice, dull, choreographed convention, Wikileaks leaked a bunch of not-so-flattering emails between the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and media outlets. Anti-Hillary Sanders supporters immediately seized on these emails as evidence that the nomination was stolen from Sanders and the primary process was rigged.

These are serious accusations that demand definitive proof. But at this point, these emails don’t provide that proof.

There are a lot of inflammatory headlines, to be sure. But what do the emails actually say? Nothing, really, that we didn’t already know.

The emails seem to indicate an animosity toward Sanders and his campaign. However, if you take a closer look at the situation, this is completely unsurprising. You have a candidate that changed party affiliation just to run for president, for a long time refused to do any campaigning for down-ballot races, and bad-mouthed the party. Whether you agree with Sanders or not, it’s not inconceivable that maybe the people who work for that party might not feel a lot of warm fuzzies for the guy.

None of this means that the DNC actually stole the election from Bernie Sanders. You can not agree with someone and still not sabotage them. There is, in fact, no evidence that any particular primary or caucus was tampered with. Not in the emails, and not in the aftermath of the primaries and caucuses themselves.

I am not saying the emails are devoid of anything we should get upset about. That anyone even considered going after Sanders’ religion (or lack thereof) is reprehensible, and I’m glad that cooler heads prevailed. However, the emails were so candid, so obviously not built to ever see the light of day, that I would be surprised if there was actual election-stealing going on and not one email in almost 20,000 referenced it.

I do have sympathy for Sanders and his supporters. It can’t be great to lose an election and find out – in no uncertain terms – that party leaders hate your guts. But that doesn’t mean that the result of the election in which you lost by almost 3.8 million votes is illegitimate. It just means that things suck sometimes.

It should be noted, however, that Bernie Sanders and his supporters only lost if you measure winning and losing as strict binary. There are other ways to measure success. According to NBC News, the 2016 Democratic Party platform is its most progressive, ever, with Sanders’ policy director saying that they got 80 percent of what they wanted. That’s amazing! Of course, it’s up to us to hold Democrats responsible, but it’s always been that way. The important work doesn’t begin or end with presidential elections. It’s one flashy show, but the real work comes in off-year elections and local races and staying informed throughout the process. This has been true since the first election and it remains true today.

Even so, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for Bernie supporters to be miffed by these emails. He wasn’t taken seriously as a candidate by the DNC (which, I think, was a pretty common stance to take if you’re a Beltway Dem). That stings. However, I do think it’s important to not only consider the content of the emails, but also the source.

It is suspected at this point that Russia played a role in the release of these emails just before the Democratic National Convention. There is no doubt that a Trump presidency is in Russia’s national interest. According to NPR,

A central tenet of the North Atlantic treaty is that member states view an attack against one of them as an attack against the entire alliance. But in an interview with the New York Times last week, Trump said he didn’t necessarily view NATO that way.

Asked about Russia’s threatening activities, which have unnerved the small Baltic States that are among the more recent entrants into NATO, Trump said that if Russia attacked them, he would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing if those nations have “fulfilled their obligations to us.”

“If they fulfill their obligations to us,” he added, “the answer is yes.”

Trump has repeatedly criticized other NATO countries for not “paying their fair share.”

The NATO skepticism plays into a much broader isolationist view that Trump has taken during his campaign, a view that would undoubtedly benefit internationally proactive countries like Russia, if it were carried out by a President Trump.

We should probably be thinking long and hard about why someone like Vladimir Putin would prefer a Trump presidency over a Clinton presidency.

I implore everyone to take a beat. No one needs anyone’s permission to be angry or hurt. But it’s crucial that these emails not be used to prove something they don’t. Namely, that Bernie Sanders had the nomination stolen from him. That didn’t happen, and the emails aren’t a smoking gun.

This election offers us a stark choice: a reasonable policy wonk or a literal fascist who is apparently supported by a brutal authoritarian. Be angry, but don’t blow it.

Photo Credit: Medill DC

190 comments

John B
John B8 months ago

Thanks Mindy for sharing your perspective.

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ERIKA S
ERIKA S9 months ago

noted

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ERIKA S
ERIKA S9 months ago

noted

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ERIKA S
ERIKA S9 months ago

noted

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william Miller
william Millerabout a year ago

thanks

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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JT Smith
JT Smithabout a year ago

The leaked DNC emails uncovered and shined a light on how corrupt the DNC is. Yes, the RNC is worse, but that's not really saying much. Trying to say anything that basically equates to "oh, it's not so bad" in relation to the DNC is only kidding themselves.

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Marie W.
Marie Wabout a year ago

REAL DEBT FACTS-As of June 2, 2016, the official debt of the United States government is $19.2 trillion .
At the close of the federal government’s 2015 fiscal year (September 30, 2015), the federal government had roughly:

$8.3 trillion in liabilities that are not accounted for in the publicly held national debt, such as federal employee retirement benefits, accounts payable, and environmental/disposal liabilities.
$26.7 trillion in obligations for current Social Security participants above and beyond projected revenues from their payroll and benefit taxes, certain transfers from the general fund of the U.S. Treasury, and assets of the Social Security trust fund.
$28.5 trillion in obligations for current Medicare participants above and beyond projected revenues from their payroll taxes, benefit taxes, premium payments, and assets of the Medicare trust fund.

George W. Bush’s major policies increased the debt by more than $5 trillion during his presidency. Obama has increased the debt by less than $1 trillion. When Obama came into office, the deficit was already $1.3 trillion.

Expenses continued to increase because of Afghanistan and Iraqi war, debt going up. Then the employment went down so tax revenue decreased while expenses stayed same. President George W. Bush's tax cuts decreased revenues while increasing spending did little to help the nation's debt,reducing revenues by $1.8 trillion between 2002 and 2009.

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chris B.
chris Babout a year ago

Sorry David - Bush screwed us. In cahoots with big oil, left us with a huge deficit, basically caused the 2008 mini-crash, and in my opinion is a . . . . nevermind. I hate name-calling.

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chris B.
chris Babout a year ago

People - just watch what you email and 'tweet' (I hate that term) and photograph. We are hacked all day by everyone. From China, to N. Korea, to Russia to wikiped, and we haven't learned out lessons. Rep are trying to take down Hillary and Dems are trying to take down the Trumpster (which is ok by me). Can't believe a thing you read. Only what comes out of their own mouths. Jeez, I hate this election year and our candidates. Neither are worthy of this job.

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