So the Bernie Sanders campaign is mad as hell and not taking it anymore. “It” being the alleged pro-Clinton bias of the Democratic National Committee. And they have a point: the DNC has made some decisions that favor the front-runner. But c’mon, what do you expect from a party that believes it has a strong, electable candidate with deep roots in the party versus a self-described political insurgent?
Of course the party is going to favor the “stronger” candidate. For that matter, it’s unseemly for the vanguard of a “political revolution” to start whining about the unfairness of the establishment. That’s what you expect from the establishment, and that’s why you’re fighting them.
Besides, it’s not like the DNC has done anything horrendous. Yes, the debate schedule is too limited, which has turned out to be a tactical error, ceding the spotlight to the Republican circus. But the truth is, debates don’t swing elections unless a candidate makes an absolute fool of him- or herself.
Beyond all that, two points:
— The Sanders camp is in the wrong on the data-breach issue, and is trying to change the subject.
— This is the worst possible time to pick a fight.
Details after the jump.
Point 1. The Sanders camp has acknowledged that they trespassed on Clinton’s proprietary database, but they’re deflecting blame to the software vendor for creating the security breach. Which, yes, the vendor left the door open — but that doesn’t make it all right to go inside and take some stuff. It’s still theft.
Josh Uretsky, the fired Sanders staffer, admits that he tiptoed through the Clinton tulips, but offered a curious take on the home-invasion metaphor:
Uretsky said the situation was as if, “Somebody leaves the front door open and you left a note inside the front door saying, ‘You left the door open.’ And then maybe you went and checked the side door, too, to make sure that door was closed.”
Nice story, but no.
Audit logs show that during a 40-minute span that began at 10:40 a.m., four Sanders staffers sifted through the Clinton campaign’s data and conducted 25 specialized searches, according to a person familiar with the breach. The most valuable information obtained, the source said, were lists of individuals the Clinton campaign has identified as its most hardcore supporters across 10 states, as well as lists of those individuals whose support for Clinton is wavering, and could therefore be convinced to support Sanders instead. …The source estimated that the data was worth millions of dollars of investment by the Clinton campaign.
Sorry, but that’t not my idea of “check[ing] the side door.” That’s my idea of stealing stuff.
Point 2. The campaign season is seriously heating up. After the holidays, there will be a scant month left before the primary season begins. The Sanders campaign seems to be sputtering a bit, in part because the candidate has maintained an oddly limited schedule in recent months. There are valid reasons for this: Sanders had minor surgery in early November, and he is actually trying to fulfill his duties as a Senator. But this campaign is fueled by Sanders’ personal appeal. He’s the one who fires up the crowds and attracts the millions of small donors.
But I digress. The main point is, the Sanders campaign doesn’t have time to dick around. It needs to settle with the DNC and regain access to the party’s voter database. The last thing they should do is enflame the situation with talk of a lawsuit.
And the DNC has offered a simple, reasonable way to end the affair: show that the stolen Clinton data has been deleted from Sanders’ files. That should be painless, especially since the campaign continues to insist it didn’t take anything of value.
The Sanders campaign needs to step back, take a pill, and make nice with the umpire — even if they think the ump’s been squeezing them on balls and strikes. To paraphrase Bernie’s most memorable debate lines, “The American people don’t give a damn about our relationship with the DNC. So let’s put this behind us and get back to discussing the real issues we face.”
Was that so hard?