If Not For President Putin, Bernie Sanders Would Be The U.S. President
Folks, this article to you this evening is obviously just my opinion but if I did not believe that it was correct I would not waste my time or your time with it. Last fall the American people really only had two choices that we were being allowed to have in our vote for our next President. We had the reality that we were either going to have as our next President “Crooked Hillary”, or we could have Donald “Fake News” Trump. During the campaign (DFNT) used as one of his slogans concerning “Crooked Hillary” was “lock her up.” This was even though he knew darn well that if he won that he was not going to pursue this venture, just as he knew that Mexico was not ever going to pay far any wall. If you are one of the few people in the world that didn’t know it before he stole the election from Hillary (because of Putin), he “the Donald” is and has always been, an habitual liar.
As I am sure you caught it, my statement about this Fraud in Chief steeling the election from Hillary, I do actually believe that is correct. Personally I believe that Russian hackers were able to infiltrate several of the State election systems thus taking a few of the States away from Hillary and giving them to Trump, thus swinging the election to him. I do believe that history will prove this as a fact but, what about now? What do we as the American public do about having a FRAUD President in the Oval Office? If he is impeached and imprisoned for the rest of his life as he should be, who takes his place, Mike Pence, the VP? But since Trump is illegally in office, Mike Pence is not legally the VP so it is unfair to allow him to be put into the Office of President, so now what? The next in line would Constitutionally have to be the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. But for how long? Personally the most honest answer would be to swear Bernie Sanders into Office for one seven-year term with that being a one time gig for him, no second term.
As I stated above, I totally believe that Trump and Putin stole the election from Hillary, but, and it is a big but, she stole the Democratic Nomination from Senator Bernie Sanders. Hillary illegally took over the controls of the DNC rigging the process so that only she could win the Nomination. By the events that I have been learning, Hillary is guilty of several frauds, tax evasions, among several other Felonies. So, it is my honest opinion that if President Putin had not interfered in our elections the Democratic Nominee would be our President right now. The only one of the three biggest candidates (Trump, Hillary, and Sanders) who are not guilty of mass felonies is Mr. Sanders. So, in my opinion Mr. Sanders should be awarded the Presidency ASAP. The other two pathetic egomaniacs should be put into Fort Leavenworth Prison for the rest of their lives. This is just a short oped, just wanted to tweak your thoughts to see what you think. Just think of all of the damage that Donald Trump has done to our country here and abroad in this 10 months he has been sitting in the White House. I do have to wonder how the world would be different if we didn’t have this idiot moron of a fool pretending to be the American President.
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Before I called Bernie Sanders, I lit a candle in my living room and put on some gospel music. I wanted to center myself for what I knew would be an emotional phone call.
I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested. I’d had my suspicions from the moment I walked in the door of the DNC a month or so earlier, based on the leaked emails. But who knew if some of them might have been forged? I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie.
So I followed the money. My predecessor, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had not been the most active chair in fundraising at a time when President Barack Obama’s neglect had left the party in significant debt. As Hillary’s campaign gained momentum, she resolved the party’s debt and put it on a starvation diet. It had become dependent on her campaign for survival, for which she expected to wield control of its operations.
Debbie was not a good manager. She hadn’t been very interested in controlling the party—she let Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn do as it desired so she didn’t have to inform the party officers how bad the situation was. How much control Brooklyn had and for how long was still something I had been trying to uncover for the last few weeks.
By September 7, the day I called Bernie, I had found my proof and it broke my heart.
The Saturday morning after the convention in July, I called Gary Gensler, the chief financial officer of Hillary’s campaign. He wasted no words. He told me the Democratic Party was broke and $2 million in debt.
“What?” I screamed. “I am an officer of the party and they’ve been telling us everything is fine and they were raising money with no problems.”
That wasn’t true, he said. Officials from Hillary’s campaign had taken a look at the DNC’s books. Obama left the party $24 million in debt—$15 million in bank debt and more than $8 million owed to vendors after the 2012 campaign—and had been paying that off very slowly. Obama’s campaign was not scheduled to pay it off until 2016. Hillary for America (the campaign) and the Hillary Victory Fund (its joint fundraising vehicle with the DNC) had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt in 2016, about $10 million, and had placed the party on an allowance.
If I didn’t know about this, I assumed that none of the other officers knew about it, either. That was just Debbie’s way. In my experience she didn’t come to the officers of the DNC for advice and counsel. She seemed to make decisions on her own and let us know at the last minute what she had decided, as she had done when she told us about the hacking only minutes before the Washington Post broke the news.
On the phone Gary told me the DNC had needed a $2 million loan, which the campaign had arranged.
“No! That can’t be true!” I said. “The party cannot take out a loan without the unanimous agreement of all of the officers.”
“Gary, how did they do this without me knowing?” I asked. “I don’t know how Debbie relates to the officers,” Gary said. He described the party as fully under the control of Hillary’s campaign, which seemed to confirm the suspicions of the Bernie camp. The campaign had the DNC on life support, giving it money every month to meet its basic expenses, while the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearinghouse. Under FEC law, an individual can contribute a maximum of $2,700 directly to a presidential campaign. But the limits are much higher for contributions to state parties and a party’s national committee.
Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund—that figure represented $10,000 to each of the 32 states’ parties who were part of the Victory Fund agreement—$320,000—and $33,400 to the DNC. The money would be deposited in the states first, and transferred to the DNC shortly after that. Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn.
“Wait,” I said. “That victory fund was supposed to be for whoever was the nominee, and the state party races. You’re telling me that Hillary has been controlling it since before she got the nomination?”
Gary said the campaign had to do it or the party would collapse.
“That was the deal that Robby struck with Debbie,” he explained, referring to campaign manager Robby Mook. “It was to sustain the DNC. We sent the party nearly $20 million from September until the convention, and more to prepare for the election.”
“What’s the burn rate, Gary?” I asked. “How much money do we need every month to fund the party?”
The burn rate was $3.5 million to $4 million a month, he said.
I gasped. I had a pretty good sense of the DNC’s operations after having served as interim chair five years earlier. Back then the monthly expenses were half that. What had happened? The party chair usually shrinks the staff between presidential election campaigns, but Debbie had chosen not to do that. She had stuck lots of consultants on the DNC payroll, and Obama’s consultants were being financed by the DNC, too.
When we hung up, I was livid. Not at Gary, but at this mess I had inherited. I knew that Debbie had outsourced a lot of the management of the party and had not been the greatest at fundraising. I would not be that kind of chair, even if I was only an interim chair. Did they think I would just be a surrogate for them, get on the road and rouse up the crowds? I was going to manage this party the best I could and try to make it better, even if Brooklyn did not like this. It would be weeks before I would fully understand the financial shenanigans that were keeping the party on life support.
Right around the time of the convention, the leaked emails revealed Hillary’s campaign was grabbing money from the state parties for its own purposes, leaving the states with very little to support down-ballot races. A Politicostory published on May 2, 2016, described the big fund-raising vehicle she had launched through the states the summer before, quoting a vow she had made to rebuild “the party from the ground up … when our state parties are strong, we win. That’s what will happen.”
Yet the states kept less than half of 1 percent of the $82 million they had amassed from the extravagant fund-raisers Hillary’s campaign was holding, just as Gary had described to me when he and I talked in August. When the Politicostory described this arrangement as “essentially … money laundering” for the Clinton campaign, Hillary’s people were outraged at being accused of doing something shady. Bernie’s people were angry for their own reasons, saying this was part of a calculated strategy to throw the nomination to Hillary.
I wanted to believe Hillary, who made campaign finance reform part of her platform, but I had made this pledge to Bernie and did not want to disappoint him. I kept asking the party lawyers and the DNC staff to show me the agreements that the party had made for sharing the money they raised, but there was a lot of shuffling of feet and looking the other way.
When I got back from a vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, I at last found the document that described it all: the Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America.
The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias—specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.
I had been wondering why it was that I couldn’t write a press release without passing it by Brooklyn. Well, here was the answer.
When the party chooses the nominee, the custom is that the candidate’s team starts to exercise more control over the party. If the party has an incumbent candidate, as was the case with Clinton in 1996 or Obama in 2012, this kind of arrangement is seamless because the party already is under the control of the president. When you have an open contest without an incumbent and competitive primaries, the party comes under the candidate’s control only after the nominee is certain. When I was manager of Al Gore’s campaign in 2000, we started inserting our people into the DNC in June. This victory fund agreement, however, had been signed in August 2015, just four months after Hillary announced her candidacy and nearly a year before she officially had the nomination.
I had tried to search out any other evidence of internal corruption that would show that the DNC was rigging the system to throw the primary to Hillary, but I could not find any in party affairs or among the staff. I had gone department by department, investigating individual conduct for evidence of skewed decisions, and I was happy to see that I had found none. Then I found this agreement.
The funding arrangement with HFA and the victory fund agreement was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical. If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity.
I had to keep my promise to Bernie. I was in agony as I dialed him. Keeping this secret was against everything that I stood for, all that I valued as a woman and as a public servant.
“Hello, senator. I’ve completed my review of the DNC and I did find the cancer,” I said. “But I will not kill the patient.”
I discussed the fundraising agreement that each of the candidates had signed. Bernie was familiar with it, but he and his staff ignored it. They had their own way of raising money through small donations. I described how Hillary’s campaign had taken it another step.
I told Bernie I had found Hillary’s Joint Fundraising Agreement. I explained that the cancer was that she had exerted this control of the party long before she became its nominee. Had I known this, I never would have accepted the interim chair position, but here we were with only weeks before the election.
Bernie took this stoically. He did not yell or express outrage. Instead he asked me what I thought Hillary’s chances were. The polls were unanimous in her winning but what, he wanted to know, was my own assessment?
I had to be frank with him. I did not trust the polls, I said. I told him I had visited states around the country and I found a lack of enthusiasm for her everywhere. I was concerned about the Obama coalition and about millennials.
I urged Bernie to work as hard as he could to bring his supporters into the fold with Hillary, and to campaign with all the heart and hope he could muster. He might find some of her positions too centrist, and her coziness with the financial elites distasteful, but he knew and I knew that the alternative was a person who would put the very future of the country in peril. I knew he heard me. I knew he agreed with me, but I never in my life had felt so tiny and powerless as I did making that call.
When I hung up the call to Bernie, I started to cry, not out of guilt, but out of anger. We would go forward. We had to.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she believes that the Democratic National Committee was “rigged” in favor of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the 2016 primary.
Asked Thursday by CNN’s Jake Tapper whether she believes that the Democratic campaign organization was tipped in favor of Clinton over her primary opponent, independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Warren responded without hesitation: “Yes.”
“We learned today from the former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile that the Clinton campaign in her view did rig the presidential nominating process by entering into an agreement to control day-to-day operations at the DNC,” Tapper said, continuing on to describe specific arms of the DNC the Clinton camp had a say over, including strategy and staffing, noting that the agreement was “entered into in August of 2015,” months before Clinton won the nomination.
Warren called that “a real problem.”
“But what we’ve got to do as Democrats now, is we’ve got to hold this party accountable,” Warren said.
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The Massachusetts Democrat is seen as a possible presidential contender in 2020 and beyond.
Tapper then asked, “Do you agree with the notion that it was rigged?” And Warren responded simply: “Yes.”
The question came up after Brazile’s book excerpts were released this week, detailing the DNC’s financial turmoil during the election and the role that the Clinton campaign played in aiding it financially.
“Debbie (Wasserman Schultz) was not a good manager,” Brazile wrote in excerpts released in Politico on Thursday. “She hadn’t been very interested in controlling the party — she let Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn do as it desired so she didn’t have to inform the party officers how bad the situation was.”
(Opinion: How is it that this is not a major case of FRAUD against the American people? We are digging into the case of Moscow committing FRAUD against the American voters, so, then what the heck is this if not BLATANT FRAUD against the voting American public? Why are there not legal charges against Mrs. Clinton and the DNC Chair?)
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(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT)
By David Catanese, Senior Politics Writer | Sept. 15, 2017, at 6:00 a.m.
As Bernie Sanders deliberated his 2016 run for the presidency, he understood that his odds of toppling Hillary Clinton were low.
But winning was never the lone goal for the gruff independent from Vermont.
Despite more than two decades toiling in Congress, Sanders remained a backbench player, he confided to a top adviser at the time, according to “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign.” He sought a higher profile in the U.S. Senate for the liberal causes he had built his career around. A well-run White House campaign, win or lose, would do the trick.
Fast-forward more than two years and Sanders is seeing that notion bear fruit.
While his former primary opponent, Hillary Clinton, is relitigating the last war, an emboldened Sanders is already making moves to shape the next one. Clinton may technically be right, as she continues to assert in interviews, that Sanders “is not even a Democrat.” But it’s Democrats who are increasingly gravitating to Sanders, as 16 did this week by joining his legislation calling for a Medicare-for-all health care system.
Clinton is indicating she wants to remain active in politics by backing Democratic candidates in 2018 who can help flip Congress. But in a striking role reversal, it’s the 76-year-old Sanders who now wields more power among the next line of budding aspirants in Democratic politics.
“This week looks like a moment where it’s crystallizing in a lot of people’s minds that Bernie Sanders is the future of the Democratic Party,” says Mark Longabaugh, a Democratic consultant and aide to Sanders’ presidential bid. “There’s an assumption within the Democratic Party that a progressive candidate is a weakness. That’s not a weakness, that’s a strength. We have to lose some of the timidity that the party has had for too long on policy issues. How did Donald Trump end up as president? The public is restless and extremely unsatisfied with the performance of government. You have to make an argument. Put big bold ideas on the table. The public may not agree with every aspect, but they’re going to give you credit for trying to do something. Bernie Sanders put it on the table and argued for it.”
Just look at some of the names who stood next to him Wednesday to roll-out his universal health care pitch: Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey.
All are prospective candidates for the presidency in 2020 – and 10 months following the party’s harrowing 2016 defeat, they found themselves moving towards Sanders ideologically and physically, as each waited for his call Wednesday to make remarks at a Capitol Hill podium.
“I want to say thank you to Bernie for all that you have done,” Warren gushed.
Their embrace of a single-payer position comes even as Clinton continues to tar the plan as unrealistic. But if that remains the majority position among Democrats, liberal activists don’t think it will be for long.
“If you look at the list who are co-sponsoring this and those who are rumored to be interested in [the presidency], you see some alignment. I don’t think that’s a coincidence,” says Kenneth Zinn, the political director of National Nurses United, a staunch supporter of the Sanders legislation. “This is how change happens. Grassroots action, bottom-up pressure. I think anyone who wants to be considered a progressive has to sign on to this bill. This is indeed becoming a litmus test for the movement.”
When Sanders began crafting the bill back in the spring, his office reached out to senators they considered to be natural allies, as well as those with higher ambitions. After weeks of behind-the-scenes haggling over exact details, Harris, the freshman senator, endorsed the bill at the close of the summer congressional recess during a town hall in Oakland, California, dubbing it “a nonpartisan issue.” The fact that her home state legislature wrestled with an ultimately unsuccessful universal health care endeavor helped move the needle.
Warren followed a week later, citing the GOP’s persistent efforts to repeal the existing Obamacare program. “We owe a huge debt to President Obama,” she wrote in an email to supporters. “But there’s so much more we could do right now to bring down the costs of quality health care for every American.”
Then came Gillibrand who said she’d be “fighting with Bernie”, following her broad support for the concept during a Facebook Live event in June and Booker, who told a New Jersey television station on Monday “this is something that’s got to happen,” billing it as the next civil rights battle.
Even some alumni of the Clinton campaign acknowledge the winds are blowing in Sanders’ direction.
“During the 2016 primary, Hillary Clinton understandably felt that she owed it to voters to only promise what she honestly felt she could deliver as president. But as Democrats engage in this post-2016 rebuilding, progressives appropriately believe it is important to make a statement on principle in favor of a Medicare-for-all system, regardless of the practical hurdles,” says Brian Fallon, the national press secretary for Clinton’s 2016 campaign. “I would bet many Democratic candidates running in the midterms may, for now, hew towards some of the on-ramp style proposals, such as those offered by Sens. [Brian] Schatz and [Chris] Murphy, but anyone seeking to lead the party in 2020 should probably be wary of rejecting the aspiration behind Sen. Sanders’ plan.”
And Sanders’ diehard supporters are watching – and they are keenly aware of who isn’t on board.
Winnie Wong, a co-founder of People For Bernie and an aggressive internet activist, targeted Democrats on Twitter who steered clear of the Sanders bill.
“If @ChrisMurphyCT is smart, he’ll wake up in the AM, tell his staffer to draft a press release saying he’ll be going with Bernie’s bill,” she wrote, targeting the Connecticut Democrat.
“Baby we got your number,” she fired off to the account of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, including a link meant to pressure those not on board.
But in a sign of how far the debate had moved, even Sen. Joe Manchin, who faces a potentially competitive re-election challenge this year in increasingly conservative West Virginia, paid tribute to the legislation’s concept if not its particulars.
“It should be explored,” he told Bloomberg, later issuing a statement clarifying his skepticism about the merits of single-payer.
But Sanders’ team is betting that the concept will gradually gain popularity as he crisscrosses the country in the coming months to promote it.
“I’m aware of at least one meeting in West Virginia of Trump supporters, people who voted for Trump, and when asked if they supported single payer, half the hands went up,” says Jeff Weaver, a political adviser who ran Sanders’ presidential campaign. “This approach has broad-based support among working class, middle class people, small business people, medical professionals, really across partisan lines.”
Center-left think tank Third Way on Tuesday urged the Democratic Party to rebrand itself as “the jobs party” in a report that warns of the risks of adopting the policies and rhetoric of the far left.
Landing as the left wing of the party claims ascendancy, the report wades into some of the philosophical disagreements now dividing the party, which is further from power than it has been in decades. Based on extensive, three-day online focus groups with battleground-state voters, the publication aims to diagnose Democrats’ current problem. But it also knocks the kind of economic populism often pushed by prominent figures like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
The study, conducted by polling firm Global Strategy Group, involved interviews with persuadable voters who backed Barack Obama and then Donald Trump, as well as with persuadable African-American, Latino and millennial voters. Third Way’s resulting document warns that key voters believe Democrats prioritize poor citizens and some rich ones — but not the middle class.
It says voters intuitively see the Democratic Party as standing against business, and it urges party leaders to put less emphasis on social issues and “recognize that voters want to see a rebalancing of the Party’s priorities.”
“Even as the economy approaches full employment, there remains a real economic anxiety, and people will always aspire to new and better job opportunities. Trump spoke to this — and voters responded,” the report reads. “To rebuild the Party and regain the power to enact their priorities, Democrats need to craft a broad path that’s inclusive of a diverse coalition and sustainable across election cycles. Reclaiming its status as the party of jobs is a unifying way to do just that.”
Voters in the focus groups repeatedly insisted that Trump was focused on jobs after his rhectoric on the campaign trail about securing more, better jobs for Americans, write authors Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, Third Way’s vice president for social policy and politics, and Ryan Pougiales, the group’s senior political analyst. “Almost without fail, focus group participants in both groups identified the issue as Trump’s top priority. There’s a lesson in this for Democrats,” the report states.
To remedy that situation and the related belief that Democrats work for “somebody else,” the report recommends that party officials avoid proposals that can be branded as “handouts,” in addition to staying away from attacking business.
“Rallying around proposals like free college or universal basic income just exacerbate[s] this resentment,” the authors warn, referring to the education policy pitch at the center of Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. “Effective policy solutions to bolster economic security are vital, but they must begin with job creation and be tethered to the values of hard work and earning your way that underscore America’s economic compact.”
(CNN)It’s one week until Hillary Clinton’s 2016 memoir “What Happened” is officially released. But, in an excerpt that made the rounds today, Clinton writes critically about her 2016 primary opponent Bernie Sanders. Clinton makes the case that Sanders damaged her chances of winning with his pie-in-the-sky proposals that pleased liberals but could never actually become law.
So, is she right? CNN’s Greg Krieg and I spent the afternoon exchanging emails about that very question. Our conversation — edited only lightly for flow — is below.
Cillizza: All right, Greg, We’re getting bits and pieces of Hillary Clinton’s book about the 2016 election as we get closer to it hitting bookstores (are they even a thing anymore?) next week. The new nugget features Clinton running down Bernie Sanders for his primary challenge in 2016.
The part I cared about was where Clinton compares Sanders to a one-upper. That no matter what she proposed, he would propose something even more appealing to the party’s liberal base — entirely without any consequence.
Recollects Clinton: “We would promise a bold infrastructure investment plan or an ambitious new apprenticeship program for young people, and then Bernie would announce basically the same thing, but bigger. On issue after issue, it was like he kept promising four-minute abs, or even no-minutes abs. Magic abs!”
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To my mind, she’s not wrong!
Clinton was forced to be mindful of how the positions staked out in a primary would impact her in a general election. Sanders, who no one — including him! — thought could or would win, had no such constraint. He could propose whatever he wanted in a largely consequence-free environment while she lived in an all-consequences, all-the-time environment.
Sanders was running a cause. Clinton was running a campaign.
Tell me how I’m wrong.
Krieg: Let me start by saying, the timing of this book is truly remarkable. I know these things are set way in advance and wouldn’t be shocked if Clinton herself — despite all the frustrations we’ve read about in just these few pages — might wish this debate, both ours and the one now blazing on Twitter, could be put off a bit.
Anyway, I’m struck right off the bat by how little nuance there is in Clinton’s assessment. For such a smart, savvy and accomplished person, she comes off as weirdly blinkered. These paragraphs are pretty narrowly composed and make no real account for why Sanders was so popular. Perhaps it’s comforting to dismiss his popularity and, implicitly, the desires/frustrations of his supporters, as being rooted in the desire for free ponies or “magic abs.” But that really undersells the issue at the heart of this.
Sanders was, of course, coming at this campaign from a very different angle. By his and his aides’ own admission, they were surprised at how quickly a movement-based candidacy turned into an electorally viable one. But even then, he was pitching a fundamentally different view of politics. Now, you can dismiss that as unreasonable or unlikely to happen, but it’s a losing strategy, in broad terms, to quit the conversation there.
Did America want a pony? Perhaps. Though I’d say Americans were and are frustrated by their debt and economic inequality and medical bills, etc. Essentially saying that their desire for relief was wishful (and frankly, silly) puts a pretty fine point on her shortcomings a candidate.
Cillizza: Look. I love a free pony as much as the next guy, but you make a fair point.
I think one of Clinton’s biggest problems in the race was that she never understood that Sanders’ appeal wasn’t totally about his proposals — which weren’t radically different than hers — it was about his tone and willingness to confront Republicans at all times and on all fronts.
Her political background was forged in the 1980s and 1990s — when bipartisanship was something to be aimed at. That wasn’t the mindset of the Democratic Party, whose nomination Clinton was seeking. They wanted confrontation. They viewed the GOP worldview as not just wrong but immoral. They didn’t want carefully poll-tested policies designed to barely keep them on board while also peeling off moderate Republicans.
Sanders intuitively understood that because he has made charging at GOP-constructed windmills his life’s work. All the way to the end, Clinton never grasped what Democrats really wanted from her.
I think the tendency to dismiss Sanders in the book is representative of the fact that she still doesn’t get that reality.
ALL of that said: I still think running a campaign against a candidate running a cause is really, really hard. I would be fascinated by what would have happened if, after his New Hampshire victory, Sanders had been able to score a few more wins in big important states over that next six weeks. It might have changed the perception of the race — and forced Sanders and the Democratic Party to come face-to-face with the real possibility that he might be the nominee.
Krieg: Last things first. I agree entirely — with you and Clinton — that Sanders did not have as fully developed of a policy portfolio. During the debates and in some interviews during his early 2016 surge, his lack of clearly defined foreign policy ideas sometimes made plain his shortcomings. As it happens, part of the reason he didn’t win much in those post-New Hampshire weeks was that he didn’t have the infrastructure or the time to develop a compelling enough message to win down South. (And even with more time, winning there was certainly no guarantee.)
I also agree that, on balance, Sanders’ proposals weren’t too far from Clinton’s. The debate over higher ed is a great example. Clinton wanted debt-free college. Sanders went a bit further, suggesting a tuition-free approach. They eventually hashed out a compromise plan. This is why so many progressives, in the days before the election, were confident of having a seat at the table in a Clinton administration.
But again, the fundamental issue here — as you note — is that Clinton didn’t then, nor does she now, seem to accept the legitimacy of the Sanders wing’s underlying argument. Which is, (overly) simply stated, that the country has — over the last 30 or 40 years and with the Democratic Party’s acquiescence — been moving away from public control of public goods. For example: Those “market-based solutions” that seem to do more for the market than those looking for solutions.
This was always tough and clearly annoying to Clinton. She’s been in the arena; Sanders was a mayor in Vermont, then a back-bencher in Congress. But — and look to the UK and Jeremy Corbyn for further evidence here — that is not enough of an argument for many voters. In fact, lots of Sanders supporters will tell you that his unwillingness to play ball and make compromises they view as having damaged the working class is not a bug, but a feature piece of his appeal.
Here’s a question: Where are you on the “his attacks caused lasting damage” argument? A lot of Sanders people will say that, if anything, he pulled punches.
Cillizza: Absolutely not!
I agree with Sanders’ people who say he pulled punches. He refused to ever talk about her email server which was, literally, a hanging curveball that he could smash out of the park. And, on her speech-giving to massive corporations — including Goldman Sachs — Sanders went WAY easier than he could have if he wanted to portray Clinton as a corporate shill.
Hillary Clinton lost because she was never the “heart” candidate of the activist base, because she never grasped what the email server really meant to people (that the Clintons think the rules don’t apply, that the Clintons think they are deserve different treatment), because of James Comey announcing the re-opening of the email investigation, because of WikiLeaks/Russia and mostly because she was the status quo candidate in a change election. But, she definitely didn’t lose because of Bernie Sanders.
One last thing that this conversation has got me to wondering about: Is there going to be a candidate from the “Clinton wing” of the Democratic party in 2020? Joe Biden? Can he qualify? He never loved or ascribed to Clinton’s sort of politics — and is much more willing to speak out than she ever was. But, if it’s not Biden, then who is that candidate?
Krieg: One other thing on the Clinton-Sanders dynamic before I get to the (fun) 2020 stuff. Clinton here notes — correctly! — that she had better fleshed-out policy positions. But I think what frustrated people on the left, and certainly some of her most ardent supporters, is that she did not always center them during her campaign. These things are visceral, and always have been, so when you reply to some questions with, “Go look on my website,” that’s going to frustrate people.
Ironically, what was on Clinton’s website would have appealed — tweak here, tweak there — to a whole lot of Sanders supporters. Obviously there was an element within his support that, on a personality level (heightened in some cases by very real sexism), was never going to give her a look. But there were others, I think, who had/have room in their hearts for both Bernie and Hillary! (In fact, I’d say that’s the majority of Democrats.)
As for 2020… oy. A few months ago I’d have said this primary is 100% going to boil down to a Clinton winger vs. a Berniecrat. Though I think some people will see it that way no matter what, as we go forward, I’m thinking the Democratic Party is going to square this stuff away before then. Maybe not in terms of its larger message, but as it relates to a national candidate. (See Kamala Harris, and surely others, co-sponsoring Sanders’ single-payer test bill. Or Elizabeth Warren, who basically everyone in the party and on its left could rally behind right now.)
So, could it be Biden? I doubt it. People who tout him, I think, believe that Clinton’s loss was mostly about personality and that Ol’ Joe could run on about the same policy and win over the working class voters she lost. My bet is that a group of younger candidates with fewer attachments to the ’80s and ’90s will emerge.
One caveat: Sanders himself. If he runs, which I personally don’t think he will do, it upends all of the above. The 2016 scars come right back out. And maybe Biden does get drawn back in.
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Folks, this is not an article that pleases me to have to write about, yet pretty much everyone in the ‘wired world’ will know that what I am going to say is the truth. Most everyone knows that it is a trait of almost all (I’m being nice) American politicians to have a forked tongue. Last November in the elections the American people were basically given a choice between two people that were well known for being very crooked and habitual liar’s. There really was no way to win if the voter was looking for an honest, non-habitual liar to be our leader. The DNC rigs their side of elections via using the so-called ‘Super Delegates’ to make sure that who they want and only whom their party leaders want will be their Candidate for President. I honestly believe that if the DNC leadership had acted in a Constitutional manner that Bernie Sanders would have not only beaten out Ms. Hillary, he would have quite easily beaten out Mr. Trump last November. So, in a sense I do blame the DNC for Mr. Trump sitting in Our Oval Office.
Today’s New York Times headline says that Mr. Trump will testify under oath that he is not a liar but that former FBI Director James Comey is. I personally believe that it is Mr. Trump who tells everyone, not just the people that he has surrounding him, but everyone, so many lies everyday that he has proven over and over again that he can’t remember what he lies about one day to the next. I am simply a person who would like to have all people in every government in the world to be honest with the people they govern, yet I think we all know that is just a fantasy. I personally believe that Mr. Trump is the most clueless, ignorant, lying, egomaniac’s that has ever set foot in Our Oval Office. I know that statement is really saying a lot, I never really thought that we could ever have a bigger idiot than George W. Bush as our President but then up steps Mr. Trump. To me it is still a debate which family is more crooked though, the Bush family, the Clinton family, or the Trump family.
I have no doubt that if Mr. Trump does go through with testifying under oath before the Senate Intelligence Committee (if he isn’t also lying about doing it) that he will lie many times during that event. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Democrat or a Republican, but I am a voter. I like everyone else, under our current two-party system we voters can either not vote, or we can vote for one of the two main party candidates, or they can do like I did last November and vote for a third-party candidate whom we know in advance has no chance of winning. So, ‘We The People’ are put into the position of choosing which habitual liar we want as our ‘Leader.’ Over the last year or so I have been closely watching Mr. James Comey the now former Director of the FBI and I have found him to be one of the most honest, sincere and intelligent people I have ever come across. Mr. Trump on the other hand has totally proven to the whole world that he is basically clueless of real world realities which in part has shined a huge spotlight on his lack of basic knowledge and on his continues lying.
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Bernie Sanders with Northern Cheyenne President L. Jace Killsback
Published May 22, 2017
BILLINGS, MONTANA — A delegation of Northern Cheyenne Nation traveled to Billings to attend the campaign rally for Montana Democratic Candidate Rob Quist, who is seeking to fill the lone House of Representative seat in the United States Congress left vacant when Ryan Zinke resigned to become secretary the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Candidate Rob Quist was joined in Billings by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and for a one-on-one consultation with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe that included, Northern Cheyenne President L. Jace Killsback, Vice-President Conrad Fisher, Executive Assistant Brandon Woodenlegs and Tribal Councilman Waylon Rogers.
Senator Bernie Sanders listens to concerns of Northern Cheyenne tirbal leaders.
During the meeting with Quist and Senator Sanders the Northern Cheyenne Delegation was able to address topics that have impacted the day-today life on the reservation such as public safety on U.S. Highway 212, healthcare and the failing Indian Health Service system on our reservation, education funding and the economy. Also during the one-on-one consultation, Vice-President Fisher was able to discuss cultural resource management issues such as preservation and protection of historic sites such as the Rosebud Battlefield, National Park Service Little Bighorn Battlefield, Wolf Mountain Battlefield and other sites important to the tribe.
Councilman Rogers was able to share his concerns in regards to the meth epidemic, related drug abuse on our reservation. He also included the lack of proper mental health services for our Northern Cheyenne People to be able to utilize the program to help improve the quality of life for our Northern Cheyenne People.
During a speech given by President L. Jace Killsback, he expressed how important it was for Montana to get Rob Quist to D.C. “We have to ensure that not just the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, but all the other tribes in Montana stand in solidarity, because this Republican Administration cannot continue to divide and conquer our people” and “Our tribe has never been to the table with this administration, and we believe that Rob will lead us there.” Prior to leaving the stage, the Northern Cheyenne President and other leaders present, announced that the tribe officially endorses Candidate Rob Quist for U.S. Congress.
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July 28, 2016: Pro-Bernie Sanders protesters demonstrate outside the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (Fox News)
The 2016 presidential campaign is still being litigated – literally.
As Trump administration controversies command media attention, a little-noticed set of lawsuits against the Democratic Party continues to play out in the courts – including one claiming coordination with the Clinton campaign against Bernie Sanders amounted to election fraud.
The case being heard in a Florida courtroom dates back to last summer, when the Democrats were thrown into turmoil following the leak of documents that appeared to show some DNC officials sought to undermine Sanders in the party primary. Jared Beck, a Harvard law expert, shortly afterward filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of residents of 45 states against the DNC and former chairwomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
The DNC has been trying for months to have the case dismissed, and scored a temporary victory last year when it was decided the plaintiffs had improperly filed paperwork.
Beck has been fighting the DNC every step of the way, and is demanding the party repay individuals and Sanders supporters for contributions made during the election, alleging misappropriation of funds.
“If we can’t trust the two political parties to run an election in a fair manner, who can we trust?” Beck told Fox News.
During the most recent hearing on April 25 before a judge in the southern district of Florida, the DNC made a strictly legal argument – one that surely would have rankled Sanders supporters.
Bruce Spiva, a lawyer for the DNC, argued in its motion to dismiss that the party holds the right to select its candidate any way it chooses and is not bound by pledges of fairness.
“We could have voluntarily decided that, ‘Look, we’re gonna go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way.’ That’s not the way it was done. But they could have. And that would have also been their right,” Spiva argued.
Although the Article 5, Section 4 of the Democratic Party charter stipulates that it will function with total neutrality during Democratic primaries, the DNC lawyer argued the promise was non-binding.
“And there’s no right to not have your candidate disadvantaged or have another candidate advantaged. There’s no contractual obligation here,” he said.
“This lawsuit has nothing to do with politics or political disagreements within the DNC. This case should concern everyone because it goes to the heart of the country’s democratic institutions,” Beck told Fox News.
A victory by Beck could have a profound impact on how the Democratic Party conducts business in 2020 and beyond. However, those familiar with election law say he faces an uphill climb.
“I don’t think it is going to amount to much,” said Michael Toner, a lawyer with the Wiley-Rein and a former legal counsel for the Republican National Committee.
“Courts don’t typically get in the middle of intraparty disputes and while I am sure the DNC does not appreciate having to fight this lawsuit, judges are very reluctant to exercise their jurisdiction over politics,” Toner said.
The DNC attorneys also contend the suit is meritless, arguing most Sanders donors do not even support the lawsuit.
“The vast majority of whom almost certainly do not share Plaintiffs’ political views—have no realistic means of disassociating from this action, brought in their name against the political party they likely support,” the DNC lawyers wrote in their motion.
Toner said the danger to the DNC would come if the lawsuit entered the discovery phase, which is why an affiliated case alleging the DNC failed to pay overtime wages poses a potentially greater threat.
The DNC this week filed a motion to dismiss in the second class-action lawsuit, which alleged workers at the Democratic National Convention and through the election were not paid a minimum wage, while others were refused overtime compensation guaranteed by federal and state law.
The 2016 Democratic platform characterized the current federal minimum of $7.25 per hour as “a starvation wage and must be increased to a living wage. No one who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty.”
The suit also names the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and others involved in the party’s 2016 national convention in the lawsuit. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party did not return calls for comment.
“While the DNC was not the employer in this case, the DNC follows all employment and wage laws to make sure that everyone who works a full time job receives a fair wage,” DNC spokesman Michael Tyler said in a statement to Fox News.
Although the individuals participated in party-building activities, such as voter registration, soliciting volunteers and knocking on doors, the national party argues they were not officially DNC staff.
Justin Swidler, the lawyer behind the suit, told Fox News, “We believe in fair pay for fair work. The lawsuit seeks only that. We believe these ideals are consistent with the platform of the DNC.”
According to individuals familiar with the case, the DNC filed another motion to dismiss this week, but neither side anticipates a prompt resolution of the case given the court’s full docket.
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WASHINGTON — When Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation called the Democratic National Committee in September 2015 to pass along some troubling news about its computer network, he was transferred, naturally, to the help desk.
His message was brief, if alarming. At least one computer system belonging to the D.N.C. had been compromised by hackers federal investigators had named “the Dukes,” a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government.
The F.B.I. knew it well: The bureau had spent the last few years trying to kick the Dukes out of the unclassified email systems of the White House, the State Department and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the government’s best-protected networks.
Yared Tamene, the tech-support contractor at the D.N.C. who fielded the call, was no expert in cyberattacks. His first moves were to check Google for “the Dukes” and conduct a cursory search of the D.N.C. computer system logs to look for hints of such a cyberintrusion. By his own account, he did not look too hard even after Special Agent Hawkins called back repeatedly over the next several weeks — in part because he wasn’t certain the caller was a real F.B.I. agent and not an impostor.
“I had no way of differentiating the call I just received from a prank call,” Mr. Tamene wrote in an internal memo, obtained by The New York Times, that detailed his contact with the F.B.I.
It was the cryptic first sign of a cyberespionage and information-warfare campaign devised to disrupt the 2016 presidential election, the first such attempt by a foreign power in American history. What started as an information-gathering operation, intelligence officials believe, ultimately morphed into an effort to harm one candidate, Hillary Clinton, and tip the election to her opponent, Donald J. Trump.
Like another famous American election scandal, it started with a break-in at the D.N.C. The first time, 44 years ago at the committee’s old offices in the Watergate complex, the burglars planted listening devices and jimmied a filing cabinet. This time, the burglary was conducted from afar, directed by the Kremlin, with spear-phishing emails and zeros and ones.
An examination by The Times of the Russian operation — based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response — reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.
The D.N.C.’s fumbling encounter with the F.B.I. meant the best chance to halt the Russian intrusion was lost. The failure to grasp the scope of the attacks undercut efforts to minimize their impact. And the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.
The low-key approach of the F.B.I. meant that Russian hackers could roam freely through the committee’s network for nearly seven months before top D.N.C. officials were alerted to the attack and hired cyberexperts to protect their systems. In the meantime, the hackers moved on to targets outside the D.N.C., including Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta, whose private email account was hacked months later.
By last summer, Democrats watched in helpless fury as their private emails and confidential documents appeared online day after day — procured by Russian intelligence agents, posted on WikiLeaks and other websites, then eagerly reported on by the American media, including The Times. Mr. Trump gleefully cited many of the purloined emails on the campaign trail.
Many of Mrs. Clinton’s closest aides believe that the Russian assault had a profound impact on the election, while conceding that other factors — Mrs. Clinton’s weaknesses as a candidate; her private email server; the public statements of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, about her handling of classified information — were also important.
While there’s no way to be certain of the ultimate impact of the hack, this much is clear: A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.
“There shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s mind,” Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and commander of United States Cyber Command, said at a postelection conference. “This was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily,” he said. “This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”
“It was just a sucker punch to the gut every day,” Ms. Tanden said. “It was the worst professional experience of my life.”
The United States, too, has carried out cyberattacks, and in decades past the C.I.A. tried to subvert foreign elections. But the Russian attack is increasingly understood across the political spectrum as an ominous historic landmark — with one notable exception: Mr. Trump has rejected the findings of the intelligence agencies he will soon oversee as “ridiculous,” insisting that the hacker may be American, or Chinese, but that “they have no idea.”
Mr. Trump cited the reported disagreements between the agencies about whether Mr. Putin intended to help elect him. On Tuesday, a Russian government spokesman echoed Mr. Trump’s scorn.
“This tale of ‘hacks’ resembles a banal brawl between American security officials over spheres of influence,” Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, wrote on Facebook.
Over the weekend, four prominent senators — two Republicans and two Democrats — joined forces to pledge an investigation while pointedly ignoring Mr. Trump’s skeptical claims.
“Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks,” said Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer and Jack Reed.
“This cannot become a partisan issue,” they said. “The stakes are too high for our country.”
A Target for Break-Ins
Sitting in the basement of the Democratic National Committee headquarters, below a wall-size 2012 portrait of a smiling Barack Obama, is a 1960s-era filing cabinet missing the handle on the bottom drawer. Only a framed newspaper story hanging on the wall hints at the importance of this aged piece of office furniture.
Andrew Brown, 37, the technology director at the D.N.C., was born after that famous break-in. But as he began to plan for this year’s election cycle, he was well aware that the D.N.C. could become a break-in target again.
There were aspirations to ensure that the D.N.C. was well protected against cyberintruders — and then there was the reality, Mr. Brown and his bosses at the organization acknowledged: The D.N.C. was a nonprofit group, dependent on donations, with a fraction of the security budget that a corporation its size would have.
“There was never enough money to do everything we needed to do,” Mr. Brown said.
The D.N.C. had a standard email spam-filtering service, intended to block phishing attacks and malware created to resemble legitimate email. But when Russian hackers started in on the D.N.C., the committee did not have the most advanced systems in place to track suspicious traffic, internal D.N.C. memos show.
Mr. Tamene, who reports to Mr. Brown and fielded the call from the F.B.I. agent, was not a full-time D.N.C. employee; he works for a Chicago-based contracting firm called The MIS Department. He was left to figure out, largely on his own, how to respond — and even whether the man who had called in to the D.N.C. switchboard was really an F.B.I. agent.
“The F.B.I. thinks the D.N.C. has at least one compromised computer on its network and the F.B.I. wanted to know if the D.N.C. is aware, and if so, what the D.N.C. is doing about it,” Mr. Tamene wrote in an internal memo about his contacts with the F.B.I. He added that “the Special Agent told me to look for a specific type of malware dubbed ‘Dukes’ by the U.S. intelligence community and in cybersecurity circles.”
Part of the problem was that Special Agent Hawkins did not show up in person at the D.N.C. Nor could he email anyone there, as that risked alerting the hackers that the F.B.I. knew they were in the system.
Mr. Tamene’s initial scan of the D.N.C. system — using his less-than-optimal tools and incomplete targeting information from the F.B.I. — found nothing. So when Special Agent Hawkins called repeatedly in October, leaving voice mail messages for Mr. Tamene, urging him to call back, “I did not return his calls, as I had nothing to report,” Mr. Tamene explained in his memo.
In November, Special Agent Hawkins called with more ominous news. A D.N.C. computer was “calling home, where home meant Russia,” Mr. Tamene’s memo says, referring to software sending information to Moscow. “SA Hawkins added that the F.B.I. thinks that this calling home behavior could be the result of a state-sponsored attack.”
Mr. Brown knew that Mr. Tamene, who declined to comment, was fielding calls from the F.B.I. But he was tied up on a different problem: evidence suggesting that the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Mrs. Clinton’s main Democratic opponent, had improperly gained access to her campaign data.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz, then the D.N.C.’s chairwoman, and Amy Dacey, then its chief executive, said in interviews that neither of them was notified about the early reports that the committee’s system had likely been compromised.
Shawn Henry, who once led the F.B.I.’s cyber division and is now president of CrowdStrike Services, the cybersecurity firm retained by the D.N.C. in April, said he was baffled that the F.B.I. did not call a more senior official at the D.N.C. or send an agent in person to the party headquarters to try to force a more vigorous response.
“We are not talking about an office that is in the middle of the woods of Montana,” Mr. Henry said. “We are talking about an office that is half a mile from the F.B.I. office that is getting the notification.”
“This is not a mom-and-pop delicatessen or a local library. This is a critical piece of the U.S. infrastructure because it relates to our electoral process, our elected officials, our legislative process, our executive process,” he added. “To me it is a high-level, serious issue, and if after a couple of months you don’t see any results, somebody ought to raise that to a higher level.”
The F.B.I. declined to comment on the agency’s handling of the hack. “The F.B.I. takes very seriously any compromise of public and private sector systems,” it said in a statement, adding that agents “will continue to share information” to help targets “safeguard their systems against the actions of persistent cybercriminals.”
By March, Mr. Tamene and his team had met at least twice in person with the F.B.I. and concluded that Agent Hawkins was really a federal employee. But then the situation took a dire turn.
A second team of Russian-affiliated hackers began to target the D.N.C. and other players in the political world, particularly Democrats. Billy Rinehart, a former D.N.C. regional field director who was then working for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, got an odd email warning from Google.
“Someone just used your password to try to sign into your Google account,” the March 22 email said, adding that the sign-in attempt had occurred in Ukraine. “Google stopped this sign-in attempt. You should change your password immediately.”
Mr. Rinehart was in Hawaii at the time. He remembers checking his email at 4 a.m. for messages from East Coast associates. Without thinking much about the notification, he clicked on the “change password” button and half asleep, as best he can remember, he typed in a new password.
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