Until the latest Podesta leaks created turbulence for the Clinton campaign, Wikileaks; most recent accomplishment was getting former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Shultz to resign following revelations the DNC had rigged the primary campaign in favor of Hillary Clinton and against her primary challenger, Bernie Sanders.
However, in a leaked document from the latest round of Podesta emails, we learn that the Clinton campaign may have been strategizing how to “rig” the primaries as early as 2014.
In a March 2014 email from Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook to Cheryl Mills, David Plouffe and John Podesta, the democrat recounts a conversation he had with Jeffery Berman, Barack Obama’s 2008 delegate guru, who would later be hired by the Clinton campaign to run the math for her primary campaign.
A quick reminder on Jeffrey Berman: as Mother Jones wrote in July 2015, when news of his hire by Clinton first emerged, “Berman brings expertise on the byzantine rules of caucus delegate counting, but he’s also known as a prominent lobbyist for a project fiercely opposed by environmentalists: the Keystone pipeline.”
“Hillary Clinton has hired a former lobbyist for the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline,” The New Republic’s Rebecca Leber wrote, “further upsetting environmentalists who have long been wary of her commitment to fighting climate change.” As the Huffington Post noted, the firm Berman worked for, Bryan Cave, received $980,000 from TransCanada for lobbying work from 2009 to 2011. Berman was part of the team lobbying for the pipeline, and TransCanada paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for his share of the work.
Berman worked for a host of other corporate clients during his years at Bryan Cave, which he left earlier this year to set up his own public affairs shop. According to the Senate’s lobbying disclosure database, Berman influence-peddled for SeaWorld, Gogo (the inflight wifi company formerly known as Aircell), the GEO Group (America’s second-largest private prison corporation), and FedEx.
In the Podesta email, Mook explains how Berman planned to coordinate the schedule for Democratic primaries to maximize benefit for Hillary Clinton “if she gets a significant primary challenger.” In such a case, Mook writes, “we need to consider changing course and getting N.Y., N.J. and maybe others to move their dates earlier to give her hefty early wins,” Mook wrote.
And the punchline of the proposed strategy:
“We may need allies to help in this process but we’re going to look at each state one step at a time, limiting as much as possible the perception of direct intervention by the principals.”
As a reminder, accusations of “principal intervention” by his challenger, was one of Bernie Sanders’ recurring laments during this primary campaign. As such, this email provides additional evidence that the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign colluded to rig the primaries for Hillary Clinton.
As the Observer further notes, other emails released by WikiLeaks confirmed the debate schedule was coordinated to the Clinton campaign’s preference. A recent thread revealed then-DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was directed to hold phony meetings with other Democratic candidates to provide the Clinton campaign and DNC with plausible deniability that they were coordinating with one another.
Ultimately, Bernie Sanders, who was written off as a fringe candidate due to his tenure as an Independent, managed to energize progressive Democrats and Independent voters by the millions. Yet despite his surging popularity, he had no chance from the beginning, as the last few months of email revelations has shown.