Project Wonderful

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Bernie Sanders' Campaign Manager is Gaslighting the Democratic Party

Photo credit: @JustinConley

Headline: White male politician declining in the polls and caught in a scandal makes desperate attempt at dead cat politics by suing the DNC.

No it's not a Republican, though it's barely a Democrat either; It's Bernie Sanders.

When we last left our hero, the DNC had temporarily suspended his campaign's access to Votebuilder until they could confirm that his campaign had not exploited a glitch in the system. It is important to point out that this action was not punitive, as has been wrongly reported, but temporary while they figured out the extent of the breach and what to do about it. Then, in the height of political ass clownery, the Sanders campaign FREAKED OUT, decided it was being persecuted and sued the DNC to restore VAN access, accusing the DNC of ..."actively attempting to undermine [their] campaign."

Before I get to the meat of this post, let me say I would really like to see their contract. As many have pointed out, legally it may not have been "their" data, it may have been the DNC's data. There must be an acceptable terms of use policy which one would imagine they violated, but maybe not. I don't know that they had a legal leg to stand on here, which turned out to be moot because they eventually complied with the investigation (as they should have done quietly in the first place) and their access was restored.

But here's the real rub, the point that so enraged me that it delayed me from writing this blog last night because I nearly broke my computer attempting to punch Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver in the face: In a presidential election that is increasingly about the tenuous grasp of white male power, this move on the part of the Sanders campaign is privileged, entitled, status quo politics at its best. Bernie Sanders claims to be a man of the people, to be somehow more ethical, more equitable, and yet his campaign expects different and preferential treatment; he expects the system to bend to him.

I will absolutely concede that the Democratic Party infrastructure is more partial to Clinton than Sanders. And why shouldn't they be? As I wrote yesterday, Sanders has spent his career making a point of NOT being a member of the Democratic party only to run for its nomination when it was politically expedient. Then he flaunted the rules. His campaign continued to make this a story far longer and louder than was necessary, hurling invective and conspiracy theories at both NGP/VAN and the DNC, rather than complying and letting it die, embarrassing the party while still running to be its nominee. Gee, why wouldn't we love that guy?

But at the end of they day they still broke the rules. No one made them save those lists. They got caught. And now suddenly it's everybody's fault but theirs? It's a page out of the Republican playbook. It smacks of white male privilege. You're not winning so the game must be rigged? As one friend put it, you don't get to steal something from my house because the door is unlocked, blame the alarm company and then sue the police for arresting you. (By the way, if the campaign did not intend to "steal" the data and only to prove there was a problem then they didn't need to save it. You can read the Votebuilder logs of the four staffers involved here. )

Check out this clip of abusive- husband-in-an-episode-of-Law-and-Order/Bernie Rights Activist, Jeff Weaver. In it, he suggests that the Clinton campaign stole Sanders data during a security malfunction back in October then quickly backtracks when pressed and admits he made it up and just "assumed." (Because that's how things work in his paranoid, narcissistic world.) In another clip Weaver calls the DNC's decision to temporarily suspend access an "inappropriate overreaction." Hmm does that scenario sound familiar? Every woman reading this has had the experience of being wronged by a man in some way only to have him turn it around and accuse her of "overacting." Bernie Sanders' Campaign Manager is gaslighting the Democratic party.

Finally, didn't they see that episode of West Wing where the President calls Rob Ritchie stupid? Why didn't they let the story die? My only guesses are that a) they knew they messed up and they were trying for a misdirection Hail Mary b) they are so entitled/delusional that they really can't conceive of a world in which they are not victims c) Sanders is considering a third party run for the presidency. The case of c would be disastrous for those of us who above all don't want another right wing nut job running the country. Unless of course Trump also runs as a third party candidate in which case it would be equal parts terrifying and engrossing and have the opportunity to crack the politics of our country wide open.

Should be an interesting debate tonight. God bless the poor organizers on Sanders' campaign.

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