John blogged about this last night, but it’s worth a deeper look — because this attack on Bernie Sanders’ religion goes higher than the first reports show. The Intercept’s Sam Biddle found this nugget in a trove of hacked DNC emails released yesterday by Wikileaks from Brad Marshall, the party’s chief financial officer, from early May. As primaries in Kentucky and West Virginia approached, Marshall proposed getting “someone” — presumably from the media — to press Bernie on just how Jewish he really is. But it’s the follow-up that should really raise eyebrows:
To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Date: 2016-05-05 03:31
Subject: No shit
It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.
In case readers can’t get exactly what Marshall was aiming to do to Sanders, he sent this follow-up two minutes later:
It’s these [sic] Jesus thing.
Marshall seems to be aiming at more than just insinuating that Sanders is a Godless heathen to the voters in the Bible Belt. He wants to highlight Sanders’ Jewishness, apparently figuring that his “Southern Baptist peeps” will reject Sanders either way. Five days later, Sanders clobbered Hillary Clinton in West Virginia, and nearly won in Kentucky a week after that. It seems that Marshall didn’t know his “Southern Baptist peeps” as well as he thinks he does — and those Southern Baptist peeps might be wondering why Marshall and the DNC thinks so little of them, too.
So what was the official response to Marshall’s plan within the DNC? One of the addressees on Marshall’s proposal was his boss, DNC chief executive officer Amy Dacey. Did she rebuke Marshall, rejecting the use of religious belief to attack a candidate running in the primaries they ran as supposedly independent arbiters? Not at all:
Amy K. Dacey | Chief Executive Officer
Democratic National Committee
Sanders complained a lot about the DNC rigging the primary system to make sure he had no chance of beating Hillary Clinton. This e-mail exchange certainly makes it clear that the DNC at its top echelon had conspired to kneecap his campaign. Even if the plan never came to fruition, the hostility toward Sanders and the intent to ensure his defeat is plain to see. And it seems few if any ethical lines were uncrossable in their pursuit of victory for Hillary in the primaries.
Donald Trump seized on the story this morning:
Leaked e-mails of DNC show plans to destroy Bernie Sanders. Mock his heritage and much more. On-line from Wikileakes, really vicious. RIGGED
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2016
This puts a different spin on the upcoming convention, and on the choice of Tim Kaine for Hillary’s VP. That choice indicated that Team Hillary was sure that Sanders’ supporters would fall in line next week, and that Sanders would as well. Now, however, Sanders has a pretty good reason to bail out if he wants and take his followers with him.
Sanders at one time demanded the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz as DNC chair. Now, he can add Amy Dacey and Brad Marshall to his list of rolling heads as the price of his cooperation — if he wants. But Democrats should give both of them the heave-ho just on principle for this exchange and the abrogation of their roles as independent arbiters of presidential primaries … if they have any ethical lines that are still uncrossable at all.