It’s absolutely true that the recent DNC e-mail hack by Russian “state actors” revealed that Democratic National Committee staffers favored Hillary Clinton.
But, hey, Bernie Sanders and his supporters (like me) knew that going in. We knew the odds were stacked against us, just like they are any time anyone tries to change a hidebound, inherently cautious organization like the Democratic Party.
Frankly, political pessimist that I am, I’m amazed that the progressives in the Democratic Party have accomplished as much as they have, and believe me, they accomplished a lot.
They proved that you don’t have to run away from liberal values — the party platform reflects that. They proved that you can raise serious cash from small contributions, if you have a populist message that appeals to people other than millionaires and billionaires.
It is also true that ousted DNC chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was awful as a party leader. I’ve been saying that for years. She should have been canned after the debacle of the 2014 midterms.
It’s true as well that giving Wasserman Schultz any position, even an “honorary” one with no staff, no budget, and no defined duties, sent a terrible message. The only thing Debbie Wasserman Schultz should have gotten was a coach class plane ticket back to Florida and a handshake, and I’m being generous with the handshake.
Hillary Clinton’s opponents are always looking for ammunition to use against her; she doesn’t have to back the ammo truck up to the RNC and offer to unload it for them.
But you know what? I’m voting for Clinton anyway, and so should you. Here are some reasons why.
First, the hackers who hit the DNC were almost certainly Russian. As one U.S. official told CBS News, they left “all kinds of fingerprints” on their work that were common to other hacks and attempted hacks by the Russian government. The Russians didn’t do the same to the Republicans.
Now, consider this: Do we want to elect as U.S. president the candidate whom Vladimir Putin prefers?
Tuesday, Comrade Trump even called on his new besties in the Russian intelligence services to find Hillary Clinton’s “missing” e-mails. He now claims he was joking — after denying that on Twitter for two days. Say what you like about Clinton (and I have), I don’t recall her ever inviting the Russians to commit cyber attacks on Americans, even in jest.
Then there’s the matter of the two parties’ conventions.
It may surprise you that, back in 1992, I was on the fence between voting Republican and Democrat. I thought Bush the Elder had made the right call in the first Gulf War, and I had my doubts about this Clinton guy. Two things knocked me off that fence: the Republican and Democratic conventions.
The Republican convention took the politics of resentment, suspicion, and divisiveness and cranked the volume to 11. Featured speakers included RNC Chairman Rich Bond, telling the attendees, “We are America; they are not America,” and Pat Buchanan railing about “culture war.” I quickly decided I wanted nothing to do with these people.
The Democrats, on the other hand, were uplifting, upbeat, and focused on the future. When their convention ended with a packed arena dancing to “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,” I was sold.
And so it is again this year. The Republican Convention was one speaker after another delivering the message, “OMG! WE’RE ALL GONNA DIEEEEEE!” and that only one man can save us — Fearless Leader Donald J. Trump.
That final speech, with Trump raging at us for 73 minutes under his own name in letters 20 feet high, proved once again that, for all the problems I might have with Hillary Clinton, this man can never be allowed to get his stubby little fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes or the Supreme Court.
As for the Democrats, they started off in such a fractious mood that Bernie Sanders supporters actually booed Bernie himself. But by the end, absolutely amazing speeches by, among others, First Lady Michelle Obama, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, and of course, Sanders himself had everyone cheering (and some of us wishing Booker or Mrs. Obama were running).
Then the convention pivoted to the kind of positive message that history has showed wins elections. We’ve seen it before: “Morning in America.” “A Shining City on a Hill.” “I believe in a place called Hope.” “Yes We Can.”
Now, we have “America is already great, America is already strong” and “Let’s be stronger together, and look forward with courage and confidence.”
For all my misgivings about Hillary Clinton, that’s a vision I can get behind a lot more than I can one of a grim, dystopian America that only an angry Russian-backed authoritarian can fix — if only we’ll give him absolute power.
No thanks, Comrade Trump.