And it goes all the way back to 2008.
So the hot new conspiracy theory floating around the interwebs this weekend, and one that Snopes was quick to jump in on in order to try and separate coincidental facts from conspiratorial conclusions, is that the Democratic Party ticket fix was in from 2008. Let me try to paint the timeline.
In 2008, when Hillary Clinton was in the process of getting kneecapped in the primaries to then-Senator Barack Obama, she had a national co-chair of her campaign – Debbie Wasserman Schultz, now exiled former chair of the Democratic National Committee. Once it became clear that Obama would indeed get the nomination, Wasserman-Schultz, along with the rest of the Democratic Party, save the birthers, who had their origins in the Hillary campaign, got on board the Obama train full-throated.
So we know the grand deal, or we at least think we know the grand deal. Obama needed reconciliation. He needed unity. The 2008 primary was brutal between the Obama and Clinton camps. So he offered her the Secretary of State position, a position she would eventually pilot like the captain of the Hindenburg. In return, Obama would support Hillary when it was her turn in 2016. But was there more to it? Did Hillary want more than just his endorsement? Was there the baseball equivalent of a player to be named later in the trade?
Hillary never stopped wanting to be president. She was just was going to have to wait for eight years. But how could she take the steps necessary and maneuver so she wouldn’t be faced with another loss in the primary in 2016? Well, the strategic thing would be to have a plant become the head of the DNC so that if a thumb on the scale had to take place, she’d at least own the thumb. That’s where Barack Obama and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz come in.
By 2011, when Hillary should have been thinking about growing security concerns in Benghazi that were coming in to her office, that were rejected every time, the DNC had a chairman who was doing just fine, having accepted the position at the request of President Obama in 2009. His name? Tim Kaine. You might have heard of him recently. He had no intention of stepping down, but the President called and changed his mind.
Virginia Senator James Webb was retiring as Senator, and Obama wanted to have Kaine run for that seat. Kaine originally declined, happy with the job he was doing, but the President can be very persuasive, and perhaps dangled a carrot down the road if he would take the assignment temporarily.
Donna Brazille was the interim chair of the DNC after Kaine stepped down, and was in line to become the permanent chair, until Barack Obama came out and recommended someone unexpected as chair – Hillary Clinton’s former campaign co-chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. That move had to certainly make Hillary happy, didn’t it? But now we get back to the carrot dangled to Tim Kaine to get him to reconsider and run for a Senate seat he didn’t want, and to step down from a job he was happy to have and didn’t want to leave so soon. What could that carrot be? Could it possibly be something like taking the Senate seat for four years and then parachuting onto the national ticket as Hillary’s Veep? That’s the conspiracy theory.
Snopes notes that the timeline is basically correct, that all these events did take place. As for proving the backroom deal between Obama and Hillary, with the players in the trade being Kaine and Wasserman-Schultz, Snopes can’t prove or disprove it. But that’s the fun about the innertubes. Speculation can run rampant, especially on a weekend after a political convention that was manipulated to make sure that the Bernie Sanders people got screwed over every which way possible.
When you look back at this chain of events, post-DNC hacking scandal, it sure is a lot easier to understand why there was a thumb, a fist, hell, a side of beef, on the scale against Bernie Sanders and his supports in the 2016 primary cycle.
Bernie voters, you sad saps, you never had a chance. Now, we can reasonably suspect that the chance you didn’t have goes back eight years. We can also deduce that the Democratic Party is a top-down organization, not a grassroots organization. They claim to be, of course, but the power at the top has nothing to do with the will of the people in its base. It’s a club where only the opinions of a couple of members count.