The Chutzpah of the Sanders Campaign

Illustration and Painting
Illustration and Painting

The Urban dictionary definition of chutzpah is unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall. That is exactly the appropriate definition for what the Bernie Sanders campaign did when they decided to attack the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for the activities of their own staffers. I am not saying Bernie Sanders himself knew anything about this, but clearly his campaign manager Jeff Weaver and senior campaign advisor Tad Devine did.

They went on-air after they fired Josh Uretsky and denied they did anything wrong and blamed it on the DNC and their contractor NGP-VAN who left a firewall down on the DNC data site. If you compare a firewall to a lock on a door, the Sanders people said because the lock was broken it was ok to go in, look around, and even take a few things.

The DNC has voter files for the Democratic Party. This makes sense since not every Democratic campaign has to spend the money to develop their own list which would be a waste of time and money. Instead they make an agreement, a memorandum of understanding (MOU), that they will use the list fairly and only access their own files not any other candidate's information.

I am not a technical person and my understanding of technology is limited. What I do understand is an agreement that you won't cheat. That is much of the basis for the MOU. So the right thing to do when you found the firewall was down, and you could access someone else's information, would have been to call the DNC and tell them and instruct any of your own staff to make sure they didn't violate the agreement and breach anyone else's information. Apparently that happened about a month ago and a contractor fixed it. However when the firewall went down this time up to four of Sanders campaign staff actually went into the Clinton campaign's section and viewed data there and in some cases even downloaded it to their own accounts. Whether or not this is illegal/criminal I have no idea, but it is clearly unethical. In response to this the DNC shut down access for the Sanders campaign even to their own data for a time.

Whether or not this was the right thing to do or an overreaction remains open to question. What wasn't the right thing to do was the Sanders campaign's unmitigated chutzpah claiming the DNC was hurting them and colluding with the Clinton campaign after it was the Sanders people who were unethical and went on a fishing expedition in Clinton's data.

Can anyone imagine what the Sanders campaign reaction would have been had the shoe been on the other foot? They would have gone wild and or course claimed the same thing that the DNC was colluding with the Clinton campaign. That would have actually been believable in that situation.

But let's take a moment to think rationally. Hillary Clinton is nearly thirty points ahead of Bernie Sanders in every national poll. She is between fourteen to twenty points ahead of him in Iowa and polling from even to ten points behind in New Hampshire. She is nearly thirty points ahead in Nevada and nearly fifty points ahead in South Carolina. She is preparing for the third Democratic primary debate and according to nearly everyone, except some online polls, she handily won the first two. What does the Clinton campaign gain by having the DNC get into a fight with the Sanders campaign? If the Sanders campaign is right and Wasserman-Schultz is trying to help Clinton she has a funny way of doing it.

There are people in the DNC who are friendly to Clinton and that shouldn't surprise anyone. They know Hillary for years and she has raised millions of dollars for the DNC. She has worked with many of them on her campaigns and on campaigns for Democrats across the nation including for Barack Obama. We must remember Bernie Sanders isn't a Democrat. That being said it behooves the DNC to be as fair as humanly possible. There was a charge they limited debates for her. Well based on how well she does in debates that wasn't a great move if it's true.

Bernie Sanders himself has run a good campaign. I never heard much about him before he began this campaign but he has hit a nerve with a lot of young people who like the idea of free college and others who like the idea of a single payer healthcare system. Others including myself agree with him and with Hillary the deck is stacked against those not at the top. Up to now Sanders has run a clean campaign and contrary to some of his supporters has said openly if he loses he will support Hillary who in his words; "On her worst day, Hillary Clinton will be an infinitely better candidate and president than the Republican candidate on his best day." I agree but then I think Hillary will be one of the best Presidents we have ever had, bar none.

So now that access to their data has been restored to the Sanders campaign they should cooperate in an investigation and see who in their campaign did the unethical thing of looking at Clinton's data and fire them. I don't care if they are twenty years old or eighty years old; being young isn't an excuse and it falls on the campaign manager to train staff they hire on what is proper behavior. Sanders should apologize for what the campaign did in his name; Hillary should accept that apology; and we should move on. The DNC needs to get their house in order and ensure there are no more screw-ups either in-house or by their contractors.

There is only one goal we as Democrats must have and that is to ensure no Republican ends up in the White House. There are many reasons including who nominates the next Supreme Court Justices. None of the policies Clinton and Sanders are espousing and fighting for will have a chance of being accomplished if one of the current 'clown car' of Republican candidates wins.

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