Did you guys know that someone filed a class-action suit against the Democratic National Committee on behalf of Bernie Sanders supporters? It’s like Twitter in lawsuit form. You may remember last summer, when leaked emails appeared to show pro-Clinton bias among high-ranking members of the DNC—including Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who resigned as a result. That’s about as contrite as the party was willing to get. When it comes to shelling out actual compensatory damages to Sanders donors—who, Miami law firm Beck & Lee argues, were defrauded by a national committee that gave them to believe the nominating process would be fair—the DNC draws a line. That line runs right through Article V, Section 4 of the DNC charter, which instructs the chair and staff to, as the Observer puts it, “ensure neutrality in the Democratic presidential primaries.” But that’s more of a guideline than a rule, DNC attorneys argued. The neutrality provision is “a discretionary rule that [the committee] didn’t need to adopt to begin with.”
What’s fun about this argument is that no one is contesting that the primaries were unfair. You’d think there might be some legal case to be made that, despite the emails, Wasserman Schultz and the rest of the committee acted impartially. But apparently they thought that wouldn’t work, and they’d have a better chance arguing that no one expected them to act according to the charter.
This is not the argument the committee has presented to Democratic primary voters. Wasserman Schultz did not send out an email suggesting that the party should agree ahead of time whether to follow the charter in the next election, to avoid this kind of misunderstanding. She resigned, because she and the committee appeared to have been unfair when everyone expected fairness. It’s weird that the money version of this argument takes issue with the expectation, when what went wrong was clearly the unfairness.
But that’s probably just a legal calculation. The weird expectations argument stood a better chance of working, and would therefore lead to a smaller settlement down the line. Still, this reads as an admission from the DNC that it’d be easier to argue no one expected the party to follow its charter than to say the nominating process was fair.
Who cares, right? Bernie is going to die peacefully in his sleep before the next election, and Hillary is going to rise up into the air on silvery wings she’ll use to decapitate the former President Trump as soon as he admits treason, resigns and becomes a private citizen.1 Or he’ll win again in 2020, because Biden croaked, Elizabeth Warren is Hillary without the banks, and Corey Booker is the banks. Trump will still be in office at age 77, likeRonald Reagan without a middle-class childhood to soften his dementia.
All this would have been okay if she had won. If the DNC had set up a coronation for Clinton while hapless sophomores wasted bong money on Sanders and then she kept Trump from becoming president, that would have been cool. But to hand-pick your candidate and lose! It contravenes our sole request of the modern political party. Cheat to our advantage. Cheat in a way that makes our lives better.