Top DNC Official Wanted to Use Bernie Sanders’s Religious Beliefs Against Him

Among the 20,000 internal emails from the Democratic National Committee, released Friday by Wikileaks and presumably provided by the hacker “Guccifer 2.0,” is a May 2016 message from DNC CFO Brad Marshall. In it, he suggested that the party should “get someone to ask” Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders about his religious beliefs.

Source: New Leak: Top DNC Official Wanted to Use Bernie Sanders’s Religious Beliefs Against Him

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48 thoughts on “Top DNC Official Wanted to Use Bernie Sanders’s Religious Beliefs Against Him

  1. Well, I’m one of the more prominent of the disproportionate number of atheists here in our community so I guess I need to be the one to signal outrage and jump up and down to say that this proves atheists are still the most despised minority anywhere look see even in the Democratic party, the more tolerant of the two parties, you still can’t be an atheist.

    Only it didn’t happen. Someone suggested it, which I guess is a thing, and then it didn’t happen because someone else said something like “Hang on, we don’t need to go there in order to have the candidate we want to win but aren’t supposed to prefer win, win. Just hold on and have some faith in your voters, and have some faith in our system, and it’ll all work out,” and it did.

    And, what? Hillary Clinton is nominally a Methodist, and Donald Trump is nominally a Presbyterian, but as a practical matter does anyone believe that either of them have voluntarily entered a church or consulted a cleric or for that matter cracked open a Bible in the past three decades? Both of them are to all appearances completely secular in their lifestyles and day-to-day activities — to my estimation, they make whatever noises they do about religion and belief strictly for the purpose of pandering for votes. So if my top priority were electing a secular American as President, I’ve already won, I won when Cruz dropped out. And I didn’t even need Bernie Sanders.

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        • Quite so. It’s nonetheless newsworthy when it happens. Or, in this case, is confirmed.

          I also think the threshold for non-transparent intervention is high. Trump meets that standard. I think the argument for Bernie could go either way.

          Anyway, my response on Twitter was noting which party did this (or talked about it) and which party didn’t. My thesis all along has been that one party failed to exert any influence while the other perhaps exerted too much.

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      • Will Truman:
        Obviously I come at it from a different perspective but it wasn’t the “atheist” part that caught my attention as much as the four DNC.org email addresses discussing what strategy they might use to undermine a candidate.

        Frankly, that’s a bullshit charge. I think this one email from Marshall is unconscionable for its attack on Bernie’s religion, but every other “smoking gun” email I’ve seen so far in regards to this has been not an attack on the Sanders campaign, but a response to attacks made by the Sanders campaign against the DNC–and they’ve all also been from late April or May, when Sanders was out of the race as a practical matter.

        In terms of DNC bias against the Sanders campaign, there’s no “there” there. Or at least whatever’s there hasn’t come out yet.

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        • I don’t believe Sanders had a chance at any point in the process. But if in May they were feeling out potential vulnerabilities against one of their candidates… what might they have been doing earlier in the process and how much benefit of the doubt should they receive?

          As I say above, I think there’s an argument to be made for party (and party elite) intervention in the process. I think the RNC did too little, and the DNC did too much. But they have no obligation not to do this, especially given Sanders’ tenuous relationship with the party, just as they don’t have an obligation to schedule debates when people might actually watch them.

          But if I were a Sanders person, I’d be kind of pissed about this. Because it doesn’t really look like a bullshit charge to me.

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    • but as a practical matter does anyone believe that either of them have voluntarily entered a church or consulted a cleric or for that matter cracked open a Bible in the past three decades?

      Probably because they’ll start noticeably smoking, or get struck by lightning?

      (Says one the militant apathetic agnostic…)

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    • Do either of them go to church or believe??? Beats me. I don’t care. Why should anyone doubt they truly believe. If it isn’t the frickin God botherers doubting the morality of atheists/agnostics, like myself, its agnostic/atheists doubting whether believers really believe. Who am i to judge if they really believe. For all i know they do. Plenty of people with questionable behaviors seem to believe so why not. Leave the judging their interior thoughts to the know it alls. Judge them on their behaviors not what we think lays in their hearts and private thoughts.

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    • Burt Likko: Someone suggested it, which I guess is a thing,

      Advocacy of appealing to a group’s base bigotries for electoral gain is indeed a thing

      Especially when someone else is doing it more prominently, and your overall strategy has always been ‘look at that guy appealing to people’s base bigotries. That’s un Presidential and un American’

      Also, why is the finance guy talking about what is communications strategy. Don’t people in the DNC know how to stay in their own lane?

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        • Huh?

          1) Do you really think there’s enough money to move the needle that far away from Harris? I’m guessing you’re thinking GOTV efforts for Sanchez-leaning demographics, or maybe messaging for the California Trumpkins – 37% of LV per 538’s nowcast – to vote [for the daughter of two Mexican immigrants rather than the daughter of an Indian immigrant and a Jamaican immigrant] rather than, I dunno, writing in a Real American, or whatever frustrated Trumpkins do under those circumstances.

          2) Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend the money on a race where it might avoid (or cause) a party switch? If the RSCC is trying to bring about low probability event, how about Wisconsin?

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            • Ah, didn’t see that one. I was one of her constituents for a few years, until the 2000 redistricting. Compared to B-1 Bob (or Rohrbacher, who picked up my census tract for 2003) she was not bad, but something of a loose canon.

              She’s also more Trump’s kinda gal in terms of the visuals – I forgot about that in writing to Kolohe.

              But certainly not a starburst-inspiratrix like Palin (Ghod willing, we’ll never see another one like that, although that’s a pretty forlorn hope).

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              • Honestly, the only think I know about her is that she beat B-1 Bob. I didn’t even know she was still in Congress until she showed up on the senatorial ballot.

                Irrelevant story about Dornan. Ii spite of their political differences, he and Al Franken were friends. One time, he called Franken on the phone, quite irate.

                “I heard you told a really rough joke about me!”

                “All I said was that having Al D’Amato leading an ethics investigation is like getting you to head up a mental health task force.”

                “Oh,no, that’s fine.”

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          • I just saw a commercial for an interview with Hillary on the TV in which she was asked about the leaked emails revealing that the DNC thought about targeting Bernie’s religion. Her answer struck me as yet another example of why she’s just really bad at politics: her response (and it may be that she explained things in more detail later in the interview) was that freedom of religion is a protected constitutional right and has no place in our politics. Which is fine as far as it goes. Unfortunately, it goes a lot further: the complaint about Marshall’s email is that the DNC was taking an activist role in determining the eventual winner of the primary, something it is not allowed (by sacrosanct laws!) to engage in.

            I’ll refrain from commenting more until I see or read the actual interview, but if THAT’S the entirety of her response, then she’s either clueless or deliberately dishonest.

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  2. Yeah, people let’s blame this on the Russians.

    The same Russians with whom Hillary Clinton made warmer and closer relations the touchstone of her Secretary of State tenure.

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  3. [Trying to jam in all of the comments from his previous post into one that fits here]

    Actually, this is really good for Hilary and the Party! It shows that everyone was behind her from the beginning, even all of the voters, which is why emails like this got sent in the first place, because everyone in the DNC was just doing the voters bidding.

    This is the way it’s supposed to work!

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  4. Burt Likko: And, what? Hillary Clinton is nominally a Methodist, and Donald Trump is nominally a Presbyterian, but as a practical matter does anyone believe that either of them have voluntarily entered a church or consulted a cleric or for that matter cracked open a Bible in the past three decades?

    Well, if the slacktivist’s friend-of-a-friend story is at all true, Hillary Clinton was in church at least once in the last 30 years. So you’re basically doomed here.

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