One of the biggest potential stories going into the most recent Democratic debate revolved around a data breach of the Democratic National Committee’s voter file by none other than the Bernie Sanders campaign. Some of his staffers combed through Hillary Clinton’s voter file to see which supporters they had a chance of swinging their way, which was feasible due to a glitch in the server at the time. The Sanders campaign has since fired at least one staffer who was responsible. Maybe this was a way for him to continue explaining what Democratic Socialism is to the American people, by saying that this voter data should be communal (although I doubt that).
Even though Sanders’s campaign was the one that was clearly stealing the data, his campaign went into overdrive after the DNC cut off his access to the voter file. He raised $1 million in a single day during the debacle (although Clinton probably isn’t too scared, given that she raised $8 million at a single dinner and concert). He also sued the DNC over his suspension to their voter file (and even though they made nice over the weekend, his lawsuit is still on the docket in a federal court).
In the runup to the debate, there was plenty of speculation that the feud between the staffs of the two candidates would be reflected by Hillary and Bernie. One of Sanders’s strategists, Tad Devine, tweeted “When I said a fired staffer made a “mistake,” I meant it in the same way @HillaryClinton did about the Iraq war.” However, the two candidates mostly ignored the issue (with Martin O’Malley trying to make an issue of how they discussed it, with minimal impact). Sanders apologized for the data breach, and Clinton accepted it. That was it.
What I find so interesting in this whole saga is that the Democrats used a server that was hacked by the Sanders campaign, and the DNC feels compelled to sanction his campaign. Imagine their outrage when they found out that Clinton’s email faced hacking from South Korea, Germany, and China!
Would you be surprised to hear that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz believes that Clinton’s emails shouldn’t be debated? What about at the fact that an MSNBC co-host pointed out that “There isn’t really a nomination fight, is there? The way this is set up.”
Given that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was one of the national co-chairs of Hillary’s 2008 campaign, it’s not too much of a stretch to believe that she is slightly biased in this case. After all, it’s more or less an open secret that the limited number of debates that Democrats have, as well as the fact that they are at times designed to minimize exposure is the case to benefit Hillary. Don’t believe me? Why was this most recent debate at 8:30 on the Saturday before Christmas? Why is the next one the Sunday before MLK Day?
This data breach is probably over, but the lessons are pretty clear. Journalist Ron Fournier summed it up well when he observed that “classified wasn’t marked on any of the documents that Bernie Sanders’ people [retrieved].”
For the DNC, our Hillary Clinton’s emails are fair game for hackers, but her campaign data is nothing short of sacrosanct.