Top DNC Official Wanted to Use Bernie Sanders’s Religious Beliefs Against Him

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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48 Responses

  1. Burt Likko says:

    Well, I’m one of the more prominent of the disproportionate number of atheists here in our community so I guess I need to be the one to signal outrage and jump up and down to say that this proves atheists are still the most despised minority anywhere look see even in the Democratic party, the more tolerant of the two parties, you still can’t be an atheist.

    Only it didn’t happen. Someone suggested it, which I guess is a thing, and then it didn’t happen because someone else said something like “Hang on, we don’t need to go there in order to have the candidate we want to win but aren’t supposed to prefer win, win. Just hold on and have some faith in your voters, and have some faith in our system, and it’ll all work out,” and it did.

    And, what? Hillary Clinton is nominally a Methodist, and Donald Trump is nominally a Presbyterian, but as a practical matter does anyone believe that either of them have voluntarily entered a church or consulted a cleric or for that matter cracked open a Bible in the past three decades? Both of them are to all appearances completely secular in their lifestyles and day-to-day activities — to my estimation, they make whatever noises they do about religion and belief strictly for the purpose of pandering for votes. So if my top priority were electing a secular American as President, I’ve already won, I won when Cruz dropped out. And I didn’t even need Bernie Sanders.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Obviously I come at it from a different perspective but it wasn’t the “atheist” part that caught my attention as much as the four email addresses discussing what strategy they might use to undermine a candidate.Report

      • Kimmi in reply to Will Truman says:

        And people wondered why I said the thing was rigged. *eyeroll*
        Russians weren’t the first to put a man on the moon, either.Report

      • Mo in reply to Will Truman says:

        Isn’t this what people wanted the RNC to do to Trump? And to play devil’s advocate, it’s not like Sanders was a Democrat in good standing. He was running in the D primary out of convenience.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Mo says:

          Quite so. It’s nonetheless newsworthy when it happens. Or, in this case, is confirmed.

          I also think the threshold for non-transparent intervention is high. Trump meets that standard. I think the argument for Bernie could go either way.

          Anyway, my response on Twitter was noting which party did this (or talked about it) and which party didn’t. My thesis all along has been that one party failed to exert any influence while the other perhaps exerted too much.Report

      • Alan Scott in reply to Will Truman says:

        Will Truman:
        Obviously I come at it from a different perspective but it wasn’t the “atheist” part that caught my attention as much as the four email addresses discussing what strategy they might use to undermine a candidate.

        Frankly, that’s a bullshit charge. I think this one email from Marshall is unconscionable for its attack on Bernie’s religion, but every other “smoking gun” email I’ve seen so far in regards to this has been not an attack on the Sanders campaign, but a response to attacks made by the Sanders campaign against the DNC–and they’ve all also been from late April or May, when Sanders was out of the race as a practical matter.

        In terms of DNC bias against the Sanders campaign, there’s no “there” there. Or at least whatever’s there hasn’t come out yet.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Alan Scott says:

          I don’t believe Sanders had a chance at any point in the process. But if in May they were feeling out potential vulnerabilities against one of their candidates… what might they have been doing earlier in the process and how much benefit of the doubt should they receive?

          As I say above, I think there’s an argument to be made for party (and party elite) intervention in the process. I think the RNC did too little, and the DNC did too much. But they have no obligation not to do this, especially given Sanders’ tenuous relationship with the party, just as they don’t have an obligation to schedule debates when people might actually watch them.

          But if I were a Sanders person, I’d be kind of pissed about this. Because it doesn’t really look like a bullshit charge to me.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

            I recall quite a bit of grumbling regarding Bernie’s religion when he was surging. Even so-called Liberals (backing someone else!) view being Jewish as a political liability, apparently.Report

    • Kimmi in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Clinton talks about her faith chains, and about having prayer meetings with Republican members of Congress. Dailykos had the story ages ago, but it was well cited.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Burt Likko says:

      but as a practical matter does anyone believe that either of them have voluntarily entered a church or consulted a cleric or for that matter cracked open a Bible in the past three decades?

      Probably because they’ll start noticeably smoking, or get struck by lightning?

      (Says one the militant apathetic agnostic…)Report

    • greginak in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Do either of them go to church or believe??? Beats me. I don’t care. Why should anyone doubt they truly believe. If it isn’t the frickin God botherers doubting the morality of atheists/agnostics, like myself, its agnostic/atheists doubting whether believers really believe. Who am i to judge if they really believe. For all i know they do. Plenty of people with questionable behaviors seem to believe so why not. Leave the judging their interior thoughts to the know it alls. Judge them on their behaviors not what we think lays in their hearts and private thoughts.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Burt Likko: Someone suggested it, which I guess is a thing,

      Advocacy of appealing to a group’s base bigotries for electoral gain is indeed a thing

      Especially when someone else is doing it more prominently, and your overall strategy has always been ‘look at that guy appealing to people’s base bigotries. That’s un Presidential and un American’

      Also, why is the finance guy talking about what is communications strategy. Don’t people in the DNC know how to stay in their own lane?Report

  2. Kazzy says:

    Who is Marshall? Why does his email have a different structure?Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    I’m sure that if you look at the Republican emails, you’ll see worse.

    There. That oughtta hold the S.O.B.s.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

      The The National Republican Senatorial Committee has officially announced that it opposes the candidacy of David Duke for the open Senate seat in Louisiana. What’s up with that? Aren’t they supposed to support whomever the people choose?Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Louisiana lacks the type of primary system wherein there’s a single defined party nominee for statewide office.

        If the RSCC were smart, they’d throw that Louisiana money at Sanchez in California.Report

        • scott the mediocre in reply to Kolohe says:


          1) Do you really think there’s enough money to move the needle that far away from Harris? I’m guessing you’re thinking GOTV efforts for Sanchez-leaning demographics, or maybe messaging for the California Trumpkins – 37% of LV per 538’s nowcast – to vote [for the daughter of two Mexican immigrants rather than the daughter of an Indian immigrant and a Jamaican immigrant] rather than, I dunno, writing in a Real American, or whatever frustrated Trumpkins do under those circumstances.

          2) Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend the money on a race where it might avoid (or cause) a party switch? If the RSCC is trying to bring about low probability event, how about Wisconsin?Report

          • I don’t know, sounds like Sanchez is Trump’s kind of gal:

            Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez, in an interview with Univision 19 that aired this weekend, suggested that President Barack Obama’s endorsement of U.S. Senate rival Kamala Harris was in part based on race.


            • scott the mediocre in reply to Mike Schilling says:

              Ah, didn’t see that one. I was one of her constituents for a few years, until the 2000 redistricting. Compared to B-1 Bob (or Rohrbacher, who picked up my census tract for 2003) she was not bad, but something of a loose canon.

              She’s also more Trump’s kinda gal in terms of the visuals – I forgot about that in writing to Kolohe.

              But certainly not a starburst-inspiratrix like Palin (Ghod willing, we’ll never see another one like that, although that’s a pretty forlorn hope).Report

              • Honestly, the only think I know about her is that she beat B-1 Bob. I didn’t even know she was still in Congress until she showed up on the senatorial ballot.

                Irrelevant story about Dornan. Ii spite of their political differences, he and Al Franken were friends. One time, he called Franken on the phone, quite irate.

                “I heard you told a really rough joke about me!”

                “All I said was that having Al D’Amato leading an ethics investigation is like getting you to head up a mental health task force.”

                “Oh,no, that’s fine.”Report

      • That’s the thing Pontius Priebus either never understood or didn’t care about.

        The party doesn’t have to be neutral.Report

        • Agreed. The dumbest thing about the current email brouhaha is the number of people attacking the DNC for suggesting things that they wish the RNC had actually done.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            I just saw a commercial for an interview with Hillary on the TV in which she was asked about the leaked emails revealing that the DNC thought about targeting Bernie’s religion. Her answer struck me as yet another example of why she’s just really bad at politics: her response (and it may be that she explained things in more detail later in the interview) was that freedom of religion is a protected constitutional right and has no place in our politics. Which is fine as far as it goes. Unfortunately, it goes a lot further: the complaint about Marshall’s email is that the DNC was taking an activist role in determining the eventual winner of the primary, something it is not allowed (by sacrosanct laws!) to engage in.

            I’ll refrain from commenting more until I see or read the actual interview, but if THAT’S the entirety of her response, then she’s either clueless or deliberately dishonest.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

      God help us all if our, or at least, my work email is ever hacked.

      I’m gonna have to rethink this whole email thing.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

        “Jaybird, that thing we told you to do yesterday, stop doing it and start doing the thing we told you to stop doing and never do again on the day before.”

        The stock price would hit negative numbers.Report

  4. “I am not a member of any organized religion. I’m Jewish.”Report

  5. Kolohe says:

    Yeah, people let’s blame this on the Russians.

    The same Russians with whom Hillary Clinton made warmer and closer relations the touchstone of her Secretary of State tenure.Report

  6. Jaybird says:

    Hey, remember the Journolist?

    Good times.Report

  7. dexter says:

    @guy, Hey, Hank Greenberg was coordinated.Report

  8. Tod Kelly says:

    [Trying to jam in all of the comments from his previous post into one that fits here]

    Actually, this is really good for Hilary and the Party! It shows that everyone was behind her from the beginning, even all of the voters, which is why emails like this got sent in the first place, because everyone in the DNC was just doing the voters bidding.

    This is the way it’s supposed to work!Report

    • Yup, now I have no choice but to vote for Trump.Report

      • Yes, because those are the only two options: Vote for Trump, or refuse to change or even acknowledge that anything about your team might be less than perfect.

        Even after the election if HRC wins! Because questioning the DNC will be a retroactively counted as a vote for Trump, is the way I’m pretty sure that works.Report

        • Does anyone have anything good to say about Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s DNC? She’s complacent as well as incompetent as both a strategist and an administrator, and any victories that might take place this year will be in spite of her. But let’s not treat this like it’s a violation of the Hatch Act.

          Breaking: she’s resigned because of this. Best result it could have had.Report

          • A lot of Republicans are finding nice things to say about it. Usually some variation of:
            1) She was blissfully bad at her job and we’re going to miss her. Or
            2) Basically that thing you said in the above comment… “Hey, she only did what I wish Priebus had done.” (One went beyond that to say she was actually otherwise good.

            I’ve read a few Democratic defenses, but not many. I’d have to look at my post about poor management of the House races, but I do seem to recall some defenses there. Nothing full-throated, though.Report

  9. Burt Likko: And, what? Hillary Clinton is nominally a Methodist, and Donald Trump is nominally a Presbyterian, but as a practical matter does anyone believe that either of them have voluntarily entered a church or consulted a cleric or for that matter cracked open a Bible in the past three decades?

    Well, if the slacktivist’s friend-of-a-friend story is at all true, Hillary Clinton was in church at least once in the last 30 years. So you’re basically doomed here.Report