Supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ candidacy for the White House fear the Democratic Party may try to sabotage him again, but Sanders did himself no favors by some of his own decisions that propped up the Clinton on the campaign trail.
The Sanders 2016 run for the presidency began as a challenge against the party establishment when he found himself questioning the Democratic National Committee’s fairness towards his campaign.
This included, The New York Times reported, scheduling debates on weekends so few people would see them and then Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s poor treatment of Sanders.
In December 2015, the DNC disciplined his campaign claiming Sanders’ staff had improperly reviewed Hillary Clinton campaign data, Politico reported.
The Sanders camp, as a result, could no longer gain access to the DNC’s national voter database for a temporary period but weeks before voters were to go to the polls in New Hampshire and Iowa.
These national voter databases are crucial for campaign volunteers to organize on the ground and get out their supporters to the polls. Sanders managed to win the New Hampshire primary with 60 percent of the vote but Clinton went on to beat Sanders in the Iowa caucuses by a quarter of a percentage point.
The Sanders camp, however, filed a lawsuit to regain access to the DNC voter database. By April of 2016, the campaign withdrew that lawsuit after the DNC concluded that the four Sanders staffers who accessed the database and were terminated from their posts when the incident came to the forefront.
“An independent investigation of the firewall failures in the DNC’s shared voter file database has definitively confirmed that the original claims by the DNC and the Clinton campaign were wholly inaccurate — the Sanders campaign never ‘stole’ any voter file data,” the campaign said in a statement.
Sanders confirmed to CNN at this point he had a “narrow path” to the nomination, and Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley, Sanders’ only supporter in the upper chamber at the time, said that the Vermont senator should consider dropping out if his campaign could not pick steam by the end of primary season.
This was not the first-time Sanders appeased Clinton during the 2016 campaign. In October 2015, during a CNN primary debate, Sanders threw her a lifeline when the subject of her using a private e-mail server to handle classified information came up.
“Let me say something that may not be great politics. But I think the secretary is right and that is the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails,” Sanders said as the audience roared with support.
Clinton laughed approvingly and nodded saying, “Thank you! Me too, me too!”
By the time the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia rolled around in July of 2016, Democrats were prepared to unite around Clinton until Wikileaks posted around 20,000 hacked DNC emails.
The emails show senior DNC officials deriding Sanders and his campaign despite attempting to show a neutral stance. The revelations included Wasserman Schultz and other officials favoring Clinton over Sanders.
Wasserman Schultz resigned her position as chair and did not speak at the convention. However, following the release of the emails, the DNC asked Sanders to call for unity from his supporters at the Convention.
He obliged but his supporters booed loudly as he pled, “We have got to defeat Donald Trump. And we have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.” Sanders supporters stomped off the convention floor in protest.
Presently, Sanders finds himself 18 points behind front runner former vice president Joe Biden. Sanders. Sanders’ supporters already suspect something is up with the new rules on super delegates.
THE PICKET LINE:
What is Sanders really running for anyway, though? When he gets to the debate stage and faces Biden will he pull his punches again and hand over his supporters to the establishment by the time Democratic Convention happens? That does not seem like a revolution. That seems like a cop-out.