So it looks like once again some brave souls (or Russia) have come forward to expose the darker truths about the American political process. Wikileaks’ release of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) emails speaks to a deeper truth about the state of our politics.
For one, the immediate damage-control reaction by the media and the Democratic Party is appalling. Post-scandal, much of the news was focused on the identity of the perpetrators and Russia. And after Trump’s comments came along, the media had entirely set sail from the possibility of any deeper introspection and off into the sea of sensationalism and free Trump exposure. Some, like the New York Times’ Timothy Egan blew it off, saying, “On cue, [reporters and the media] decry the fact that politics is going on inside a major political party. The horror—Democratic hacks saying nasty things about Senator Bernie Sanders.” But the leaks weren’t just office gossip—they were evidence of real collusion between the media and the DNC in order to de-emphasize and minimize the potential of Sanders winning the primary. The following are just a few examples:
DNC National Communications Director Luis Miranda was seen in an email briefing Politico’s Daniel Strauss on “some of the issues” with Sanders’ DNC committee appointments “off the record” to help Miranda help him write his story. In another email, Strauss asked for Miranda to send a list of the appointments over “with no fingerprints attached.”
In another email, Politico’s Ken Vogel sent a story about the Hillary Victory Fund scandal to Mark Paustenbach, the DNC National Press Secretary and Deputy Communications Director, to have it edited and checked over before sending it to his (Vogel’s) editors.
The senders of another email thread from April 24, 2016 subtly acknowledged their foul play when they deliberately avoided having Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairman, in any news segment with Bernie Sanders, saying “She can’t take Sanders on directly, it would turn into a fight. […] Any time it’s DNC Chair vs. Sanders, DNC Chair is going to lose.”
Finally, a damning email exchange hinted that the Democratic Party may have had “spies” inside the Sanders campaign. In an exchange between Luis Miranda and DNC staffer Kate Houghton, both stated that Alaska Democratic Party executive director Kay Brown “has friends inside the Bernie organization who may be able to provide some more information.”
What’s troubling is Sanders’ reaction: “It’s outrageous, but it’s not a great shock to me.” Indeed, it probably shouldn’t be shocking to anyone that our politics is tainted with foul play. Sanders has been fighting the system for 40 years to emerge as the leader of a once-in-a-generation movement that was, and is still being, stifled by the very same forces that he devoted his career to overcoming.
As we move forward, we’ll be forced to make a choice between a hateful proto-fascist authoritarian and a woman who has vowed her unconditional support for Israel and contributed to the deaths of thousands of Muslims during her political career. End to Middle Eastern conflict? Not with Clinton. End to drone strikes? Not with Clinton. End to Israeli occupation? Not with Clinton. I’m not saying Clinton is a politically bad choice for President—in fact, by any normal standard, she is one of, if not the most, qualified candidate to be sitting in the Oval Office. But by any moral standard, Clinton’s support for interventionist policies that ultimately kills and oppresses Muslims is inexcusable. In the same vein, by any moral standard, our entire political system, which disregards the voices of the weak and less privileged and benefits those with money, influence and power is also inexcusable. And the crux of it is that this “lesser of two evils” choice, Clinton, Israeli occupation, oppression against blacks, Latinos, and other underrepresented groups is a product of the same forces that create the political system. The same forces that Bernie Sanders threw his career against. The same forces that the new “revolution” needs to counter.
As a people that stand for the principles of equality and justice, we have a moral obligation past Election Day to make sure that the same political system that conspired against Sanders, produced Clinton, and forces us into another cycle of excruciatingly slow progress is laid to rest once and for all.