Ed Note: This was originally several blog posts, which I have smooshed into one blog post.
On Day One of the DNC & Those “Leaked” Emails. (July 26, 2016)
Yesterday was a bit of a mess for the Democrats. They’d been looking forward to swinging into their convention after the weird little RNC the Republicans threw. They planned on being organized, unified, and ready to present themselves as the party that had all their ducks in a row.
Then Wikileaks came along, dumped their 20,000 DNC emails, and crapped all over the party.
Come Monday Sanders supporters still had their knickers all in a knot over the “leaked” emails and spent much of Monday basically making everyone, including themselves, look bad.
Here’s some reading material:
- Vox: DNC email leaks, explained
- Vox: Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigns as Democratic National Committee chair
Here’s the thing about the stolen emails: there’s nothing particularly special about them. There’s no “smoking gun” pointing to some illegal activity. There’s no grand conspiracy. It’s just business as usual in politics. The RNC does the same thing, I’m certain, and so do your third party candidates. Shoot, the third party guys, being a smaller organization, probably do it worse.
This is just the way organizations work – and not just political organizations. Any organization does this kind of social/power structure insider trading. It’s the way we organize things amongst ourselves. Is it fair? Eh, maybe, maybe not. It’s definitely human nature, though. It’s how we monkeys do.
Here’s the important bit: did it cross into something illegal? Nope. Not so far.
Here’s the other important bit: The Russians stole and leaked those emails, probably specifically to make Hillary Clinton and the Democrats look bad, because Vladimir Putin thinks Donald Trump would make an excellent stooge.
I know, it sounds like conspiracy theory bullshit. But it’s true.
Here’s some more reading material:
- Motherboard: All Signs Point to Russia Being Behind the DNC Hack
- NPR: Why Would Vladimir Putin Want To Leak The DNC Emails?
- FiveThirtyEight: Were Russian Email Hackers Trying To Help Trump?
- Foreign Policy: Is Trump a Russian Stooge?
Much of yesterday’s “mainstream media” reporting was spent breathlessly discussing Sanders supporters and their booing and chanting – including, notably, the RNC’s favorite “lock her up” chant.
Go ahead. Ask me if I think the Sanders folk also include a small-to-medium-sized contingent of altright people trying to sabotage the whole mess. I bet you can guess what I’m going to answer.
Sanders was never going to win, for many, many reasons. Despite that, Sanders’ efforts shouldn’t be viewed as a loss. He got into this for one reason: to pull the Dems left. And he did, by a lot. Sanders efforts were a win for everyone. He didn’t lose. He accomplished exactly what he set out to do.
So at this point, the only thing his supporters’ behavior is accomplishing is making him and their movement look bad – particularly when they spend a significant portion of their day chanting over speakers who are people of color, after all the accusations they’ve faced of not supporting the causes of black people, Latino people, etc.
That’s not just me saying that, by the way. A lot of people of Twitter were upset about that. That was probably the second most common complaint I saw, after the email stuff.
Anyway, despite the disruptions and the media’s reporting, the DNC’s first day finished off pretty well. Michelle Obama brought the house down, followed by Bernie Sanders’ glowing support for Clinton and gentle admonishments to his supporters. I hear Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren kicked a bunch of ass, too, but I haven’t had a chance to catch up with their speeches.
Here’s some DNC resources:
- DNC Schedule and Speakers for Day Two
- CSPAN, which I recommend for livestreaming the convention, because that way you don’t have to listen to the media talking heads.
- Twitter hashtags and accounts to keep an eye on: #DNCinPHL | #DemsInPhilly| #DemConvention | @DemConvention
And finally, to wrap things up, here’s CNN talking about how the Clinton and Sanders camps are in talks for Sanders to nominate Clinton, in a further bid to restore unity. I’m pretty sure if it comes to pass, it’ll be an effort in vain.
Those calling themselves Sanders supporters who are refusing to back Clinton at this point, who are talking about 3rd party candidates or even about voting for Trump, are not actually interested in participating in the political process. They just want to burn the whole system down. This is not how you effect change in the process. This is just how you pour gas on the garbage fire that will be a Trump presidency.
Hillary Clinton nominated for president of the US in historical moment: Day 2 of the DNC & the Bernie die-hards. (July 27, 2016)
In an historical moment, the DNC nominated Hillary Clinton for president of the United States. This is the first time a woman has ever been nominated for president by a major political party. As Joe Biden once said, “It’s a big fucking deal.”
Okay, I mean, it wasn’t a big surprise. We knew they were going to do that. Also, the big historical moment will come if we can get her elected. But still, it’s nice to take a second and bask in the glow of accomplishing something that’ll end up in history books someday.
The Internet is littered with articles and think-pieces about Bill Clinton’s speech. Here’s a few to check out:
- Vox: The one sentence in Bill Clinton’s DNC speech that really irked racial justice activists
- NPR: Bill Clinton Counters The Greatest Criticisms Of His Wife In DNC Speech
- Vox: Bill Clinton explained Hillary’s political style perfectly — but disguised it as a love story
- Vox: Bill Clinton’s speech sold Hillary’s legacy with a speech only he could deliver
- The Atlantic: Bill Clinton Repays His Debt
- The Atlantic: Bill Clinton Gets It Right
- The Atlantic: Bill Clinton’s Lapse Into Trumpism
I generally try not to inundate you with stuff all from the same source – Vox, The Atlantic, above – but they had some good writing on the speech last night.
Of course, the big, titillating drama of yesterday was the Bernie supporters’ walk out and street protest. Depending on which sources you read, it was either a massive, massive street protest or, y’know, a few dozen cranky, disillusioned kids.
I lean further towards the “few dozen cranky kids” side, myself, because if it had been some kind of gigantic screaming protest, we’d be wall-to-wall with it, and we aren’t. The only places I can find that are describing the protest as being large, energetic, or any kind of meaningful are wildly untrustworthy and/or seriously partisan.
- Buzzfeed: Spokesperson For Pro-Sanders Walkout Group Compares Protest To March On Washington
- Slate: Democrats Aren’t in Disarray. A Minority of Bernie Supporters Are in a Snit.
- US News & World Report: American Flags Burn Outside DNC After Anti-Hillary March
- Breitbart: Bernie Sanders Delegates Allege Spying, Suppression by DNC
Whatever else happened yesterday evening in Philly, I can guarantee that it was absolutely nothing like the March on Washington. Also, ick. Breitbart. Look what I do for you people.
Okay, to wrap things up, more Wikileaks junk. Over at OpenSecrets they’re reporting that the leaks reveal that if you give a crapton of money to a political party, they’ll try to reward you with a seat on some crappy commission somewhere. Be shocked. Also, no Bernie Sanders supporters were offered seats on crappy commissions. Gasp! Quelle surprise!
That wouldn’t be because Bernie Sanders supporters mostly didn’t give massive lump sums of money, would it? I mean, his $27 thing was kind of a big deal. Just saying. Might have something to do with it. Welcome back to the real world, folks.
And finally, Donald Trump, the GOP candidate for president of the United States, just called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton and the US government. Live. On camera. In front of reporters. On purpose. No, really.
Which, okay, may well be more of the man’s propensity towards off-the-cuff asinine bloviating, sure. But also he just asked a foreign power to hack the US government.
Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo has a thoughtful and well-written editorial on the subject of Trump and Russia that you should go read.
DNC, Day 3: On Having a Woman President (July 28, 2016)
So, I’m sitting at home last night catching up on the DNC speeches. (There’s a Mindcrack UHC running concurrent with the DNC, so I had to watch that first. I mean, obviously.)
Anyway, I’m playing catch-up with the speeches, watching them on CSPAN. They got Michael Bloomberg up there to confirm that Trump is bad at businessing (“He says he’s going to run this country like he runs his businesses. God help us!”). Joe Biden took the stage to the Rocky theme song, which was a delightful and hilarious moment. Tim Kaine gave a pretty good speech. That was the first time I’d ever heard anything from him, and by the time he got to his Trump impression, I was sold.
Then we watched President Obama’s speech, and damn, people. If you managed to miss seeing Obama speak last night, then go do so now. In a career full of exceptional speeches, last night may have been the best one he ever gave.
As I watched him give his speech last night I was thinking – like a lot of us, probably – that I was going to miss the hell out of that guy as our president.
I thought about all the times he’d been the guy who spoke to us during emergencies, tragedies, happier announcements. I thought about how good Obama had been as a leader, how reassuring he always was. He was funny and cool, grave and sober, sometimes angry, always calm, level-headed, sure.
I thought about other presidents I’ve seen in similar circumstances. I have vague memories of Ronald Reagan during the Beirut attacks, Pan Am Flight 73, the bombing of Libya. I remember George Bush Sr. when the Berlin Wall came down and when we invaded Panama, but mostly during the Gulf War. Bill Clinton I mostly remember for Monica Lewinski and his impeachment hearings, but to be fair to him, I was pretty busy with my own stuff then. I remember George W. Bush during 9/11, how scared and uncertain he seemed to me. I remember him during Katrina, when he didn’t seem to have the first clue what was happening or how to deal with it.
All the presidents I remember have been men, and almost all white men, and last night, as I watched Obama speak, it suddenly occurred to me that there was a better than average chance that the next time I watched a president speak during a crisis, it might be a woman.
I mean, on one hand, that’s something we knew was going to happen eventually. It hadn’t happened yet, but sooner or later we were going to get a lady into the Oval Office. It was just a matter of time.
It’s one thing to know something academically. It’s another thing to suddenly realize it, understand it,feel it. For the first time, I might see a woman, like me, leading the country. Suddenly, it was personal.
I was excited when we elected a black man, but it wasn’t personal. I’m a white woman – I can be pleased and proud and happy, but electing a black man president isn’t going to hit me the same way it does another black person.
This does. This time next year, a woman might be the leader of the free world. For a moment I had this sudden little pang in my chest like, holy shit, we made it, this moment of validation, a second of awe at the awesomeness of history finally coming around our way.
I wonder if the reason why women and people of color face so much wrath and harassment from the Angry White Dude contingent is because they don’t – can’t – understand that awed feeling of validation and history. I’m not sure if they ever have the opportunity to experience it. I mean, I never really did, until now.
Anyway. Tonight Hillary Clinton speaks at the convention and the DNC wraps things up. Here’s a bit of reading about yesterday’s events.
- Lawfare: Yet More Thoughts on the DNC Hack: Attribution and Precedent
- Lawfare: Is Trump a Russian Agent? A Legal Analysis
- TPM Editorial: Defining the Moment
- John Scalzi: Hillary Clinton, Considered in Herself
- Vox: Understanding Hillary: Why the Clinton America Sees Isn’t the Clinton Colleagues Know
- Vox: Democrats have stolen the GOP’s best rhetoric — and Republicans have noticed
- FiveThirtyEight: Election Update: Why Our Model Is Bullish On Trump, For Now
So, about that DNC… (July 29, 2016)
Last week we were treated to what was objectively a really weird RNC. Hardly any of the big GOP stars showed up – no former presidents, hardly any big-name senators, representatives or governors. We were instead treated to multiple speeches from random-seeming Trump employees, and when we did get a bigger name – Paul Ryan, Chris Christie – they seemed like they were only there because someone was holding a gun on their favorite kitten.
The RNC’s crowd of delegates were contentious, and whenever the camera panned over them they looked angry. Maybe a little scared. As well they should, because the picture painted at the RNC was terrifying: America the terrorist- and rapist-filled apocalyptic wasteland.
This week we got a DNC that looked good on the surface, but was almost as odd as the RNC if you were paying attention. The DNC brought out all their rockstars – the Obamas, Bill Clinton – a bunch of their biggest names, and a lot of great secondary speakers. They had themes, inspiring themes, and they stuck with them, each speaker working hard to advance and build a case for them.
The DNC crowd was occasionally just as contentious, but the view from the CSPAN cameras showed me an audience full of genuinely thrilled and pleased people, mostly. They came by it honest, since the DNC was busy making American history, expounding American exceptionalism, preaching family values, and talking national security and fiscal restraint.
It was odd to hear Democrats speaking the language usually reserved for their counterparts, and using that language to make the case for being the very best we can be, human rights, security, opportunity, and prosperity for all. But it worked. Wow, did it work.
I have to imagine there are a lot of old school Republicans nursing incredible hangovers today as they woefully consider what’s been done to their party under the Trump brand. I’d feel bad for them but, honestly, the Republicans have been building up to this incredible fiasco for years.
If we were smart, we’d pay sharp attention to the dividends the Republicans have reaped by pandering to the craziest, most racist parts of their base, particularly since we seem to be sprouting our own liberal version of the Tea Party. *suspiciously eyes up those Sanders fanatics*
Anyway, it’s Friday, and it’s been a long week. Here’s some reading material.
- FiveThirtyEight: Where The Election Goes From Here
- Vox: Democrats don’t have a foreign policy vision other than “not Trump”
- Vox: Michael Bloomberg’s DNC speech really got under Trump’s skin
- USA Today: Nervous about Trump? Wait until he has nukes: Max Boot
- The Rude Pundit: DNC Day 4: Hillary Clinton Is Not Here to Entertain You
- Politifact: Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech, annotated
- NPR: FACT CHECK: Hillary Clinton’s Speech To The Democratic Convention, Annotated
(Edited to fix teh stoopid. Can’t words anymore, too tired.)