Though the Democratic National Convention has expounded its neutral stance throughout the primary process, new emails reveal this may not truly be the case.
Following Romanian hacker Guccifer’s confession he hacked Hillary Clinton’s private email server multiple times, a hacker calling himself Guccifer 2.0 claimed to have hacked the DNC’s servers. At first, his leaked documents were about the party’s research on opposition Donald Trump, but recent emails reveal the DNC may have been working toward a Clinton nomination since as early as May 2015.
Strategy emails regarding the approach toward 2016 GOP candidates refer to “HRC”, obviously meaning Hillary Rodham Clinton, while making no mention of any other presumptive nominees. Indeed, one document leaked was titled “HRC election plans”, containing a two-page list of talking points Clinton has repeated near verbatim throughout her campaign. One statement, “Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times but the deck is still stacked for those at the top,” was pulled directly from Clinton’s campaign announcement video.
Further suspicious emails point toward possible collusion with media outlets to push Clinton as the Democratic nominee, and it appears news networks’ anchors may have been parroting talking points handed to them by the DNC. Under “Reporter Outreach”, the email suggests utilizing “off-the-record conversations and oppo pitches to help pitch stories with no fingerprints and utilize reporters to drive a message.” This could be indicative of DNC meddling in the media to curate a pro-Clinton, anti-Sanders message, a bias Bernie Sanders’ supporters have insisted has been consistent across major news networks despite Sanders’ surging popularity.
DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has had to answer to allegations of bias multiple times, but has always insisted the DNC has done nothing to push one candidate over another. What may be the most poignant suggestion of bias lies in the debate schedule, set by the DNC: many have accused the DNC of purposefully scheduling few debates, most at inopportune times where low viewership was all but guaranteed, choosing late time slots or ones that coincided with NFL football games. Democratic candidates had only six debates; Clinton’s campaign lobbied against a proposal to increase that number to eight. There are a number of constituents who feel this was a strategic move to cover Clinton’s shortcomings while denying Sanders and O’Malley the chance to highlight their strengths. This would seem to fall in line with polls showing Clinton’s favorability ratings drop the more she is seen by the public.
The DNC is further accused of rigging debate audiences in Clinton’s favor. Tom Fiegen, a Senate candidate running in Iowa, told The Washington Times: “People are frustrated at how small the [debate] venue was and the lack of transparency from the DNC of how it was handled — the allocation of tickets was a total secret.”
These allegations have contributed to a tight primary race between Wasserman Schultz and her challenger Tim Canova, who has hammered Wasserman Schultz on her policy stances. The primary is coming up in August, and Canova’s rocket from virtually unknown to million dollar challenger spells an uncertain future for Wasserman Schultz.