To all my friends who are Bernie supporters:
Please forgive me if I don’t share your outrage at the DNC emails made available by Wikileaks. Bernie was running an insurgency campaign; he joined the party for that express purpose after having been an Independent throughout his entire career. He criticized the party’s rules, he questioned the integrity of the party’s leaders, he railed against the party itself, claiming that it perpetuated a corrupt political system. Anyone who is surprised to learn that DNC officials favored Hillary Clinton either wasn’t paying attention or is spectacularly naïve. OF COURSE they favored her.
That doesn’t change the fact that Hillary received more votes than Bernie — than any other candidate running in either parties’ primaries. It doesn’t change the fact that she will be our nominee against a man so divisive, so uninformed, so egotistical as to be completely unfit for the office.
But I’ll tell you want this episode does do: It demonstrates the underlying worthlessness of all those polls that purported to show Bernie running stronger against Trump. Why? Because such polls don’t take into account all the GOP attacks that would have been leveled at him the moment he became the nominee. Hillary has been taking fire from the right for a quarter century. She has been called a murderer, a traitor, an agent of genocide (seriously). Over the years, conservatives and rabid Clinton-haters have questioned everything from her sexuality to her fitness as a mother. And she just soldiers on.
These emails that have Bernie’s supporters in such an uproar are something out of a high school class officers election. They’re nothing compared to what the Republican attack machine would gin up in the first week of a general election campaign. If this is enough to get Bernie supporters’ panties in a wad, think of what those real attacks would do. His campaign would wilt in no time. He’d be crushed.
We Americans love to hate politicians. They’re crooks, they’re liars, they’re driven by ego, they’re all in it for themselves. And a lot of that may be true. But it’s not a job I’d want. Politicians put up with grueling, cruel campaigns, putting themselves and their pride on the line every day. And ultimately they do it for a chance to serve the public — sometimes well, sometimes poorly — as our elected leaders. They have learned that sometimes they have to compromise their ideals for the greater good. They have learned that in an imperfect world, sometimes getting some of what they want is better than getting none, or worse, getting the antithesis. One need only look as far as Donald Trump to see the dangers in rejecting politicians for some other electoral solution.
Bernie Sanders, for all his progressive ideals and plain-spoken charm, is a politician. He’s not going to #Disavow because of this matter. He knows that when the alternative is Donald Trump, we can’t afford to let ideological purity or bruised ego obscure the big picture. Bernie, unlike many of his most ardent supporters, gets this.
Were the DNC emails revealed by Wikileaks disturbing? Yeah, sure. Do they reveal bias on the part of some in the party? Absolutely. Should anyone be surprised by this? No. Does it mean that those of us who voted for Hillary should now have our votes discounted? Of course not. She won the nomination; nothing revealed in the last 24 hours changes that. And she must win in November, because the alternative is unthinkable.