The big news over the weekend, of course, was the DNC leaks. If you weren’t paying attention, I’ll explain:
A little over a month ago, it was reported that Russian hackers penetrated the DNC e-mail database and stole a bunch of e-mails, as well as the opposition research on Donald Trump. The e-mails eventually made their way to Wikileaks. The e-mails were then leaked and people who already didn’t like Hillary Clinton chose to use this as an opportunity to express their outrage at Hillary Clinton.
Despite that reporting by The Washington Post, we’ve now gone to other news outlets saying that Russians are just suspected of hacking. Others are more definitive and are saying it was definitely the Russians. Of course, this won’t matter to some. As people have noted, it doesn’t matter how the e-mails were leaked but rather what they say.
The e-mails themselves are mostly innocuous and as Chris Hayes has noted in the past, “with Hillary Clinton, you can’t convince anybody of anything.” The worst ones include an e-mail about potentially swiftboating Bernie Sanders’s religion as showing him as an atheist (he is jewish) to potentially help Hillary Clinton in more Christian states. A strategy, it should be noted, that didn’t even happen. Other than that, the real problems were that Wikileaks would not redact social security numbers and credit card information from their posts. This is something that they claim was intentional. It’s also problematic that the people at the DNC were sharing this information.
To people who think that the primary was rigged, this was a goldmine that ended up full of pyrite. The head of the DNC Debbie Wasserman Schultz has resigned amid the news of the e-mail hack. Of course, this was going to happen after the convention regardless of the news of the hack. Wasserman Schultz did such a good job at rigging the primaries that Hillary Clinton and her team wanted her gone:
John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman – and a former top adviser to Barack Obama – broached the idea of replacing Wasserman Schultz as early as last fall, only to be rebuffed by the president’s team, according to two people with direct knowledge of the conversation.
“It came down to the fact that the president didn’t want the hassle of getting rid of Debbie,” said a former top Obama adviser. “It’s been a huge problem for the Clintons, but the president just didn’t want the headache of Debbie bad-mouthing him… It was a huge pain in the ass.”
But to Sanders’s more ardent supporters, it doesn’t mean much. They already wanted Wasserman Schultz gone, as did Bernie. Sanders spent some of his newfound political capital to endorse her primary opponent and raised money for him, Tim Canova. All in all, Clinton was going to name a person from her campaign team or someone she was very close to as the new head of the DNC.
But if you think the primary was rigged, you do have to address a few questions. The first of which is that Wikileaks has had most of these documents for a while. Are they only highlighting the e-mails that they find most damaging for Hillary and the DNC? We have only the word of Wikileaks that they are being transparent. They’ve highlighted quite a few e-mails that when context actually comes in, they are not nearly as bad as reported. One of the e-mails highlighted is someone quoting a Fox News commentator in a recap of the Sunday shows. This e-mail was supposed to show that Hillary was lying about being a progressive.
While a number of people are saying that the debates were scheduled to help Hillary, it’s important to know that the first Democratic debate attracted over 15 million viewers. There was a lag in viewers for one of the debates on MSNBC. This debate took place on Thursday, February 4. In 2016, there were 9 debates with 72.03 million viewers in total. In 2008, there were 16 debates with 75.22 million total viewers. There were another 10 debates that were not rated. Despite the claim that the debates were scheduled to limit the number of people who viewed them, there’s not very much evidence to back up. I will note that there were only 6 originally scheduled debates that garnered 48 million viewers.
Finally, you would need to find actual evidence of the DNC trying to rig the primary elections for Hillary. I haven’t seen any evidence. Most of the e-mails are dated at the end of April or early May when we all knew the primary was over outside of the most hard-core Bernie Sanders supporters.