PHILADELPHIA — A leak of thousands of internal party emails has cast a shadow over the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
On Friday, WikiLeaks released 20,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee, apparently hacked from internal servers, although claims that the Russian government was involved remain unproven. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been hired by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign following her resignation as party chairwoman in the wake of the leak.
MintPress News interviewed Bernie Sanders supporters at Philadelphia City Hall on Tuesday evening about their reaction to the leaks. For many in the pro-Sanders camp, the emails confirm something many had long suspected: that the Democratic Party actively helped Clinton secure the party’s nomination.
“The emails basically just confirm what a lot of us thought all along,” said Jeremy Kaplan, a protester from Brooklyn, New York. “And it’s so frustrating because for so many months people were calling Bernie people conspiracy theorists and all this kind of stuff. Then this comes out and confirms everything that we knew.”
Like many activists we spoke with, Kaplan plans to vote for Jill Stein now that his favored candidate, Sanders, has endorsed Clinton.
“[Stein’s platform is] the closest to the kind of socialist platform I’d like to see,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t think she’s the best candidate, but I believe in a lot of her ideas.”
Dale Axelrod, a self-described progressive Democrat and Occupy activist from Petaluma, California, said the emails highlight corruption throughout the American political system:
“I’m kind of puzzled by why Julian Assange waited to the last minute to release those things, but it just kind of points out [that] even though Hillary might have won overall because of the complete head start that she had in this campaign, this really just once again points to the level of corruption, not only through our whole corporate media but [that] the Democratic Party is just as corrupt as the Republicans in many senses.”
Erica Chatlin, one of the few Clinton supporters at the week’s protests, told MintPress that she came to City Hall to speak with Sanders backers in the hopes of building bridges across a political divide that’s grown increasingly tense throughout the convention. But even she was dismayed at the email leaks, which she deemed “shameful, but not damning.”
Noting that the emails “clearly reveal bias,” she continued:
“I think they reveal some inappropriate banter in a professional email environment. I also think that since Sanders came in as an independent into the Democratic Party right before he ran, he did come in, to a certain extent, as an outsider, and if there’s some bias for that, I can understand where people are coming from.”
In terms of who should be held accountable, Chatlin said: “I think it’s shameful and embarrassing, and I think Wasserman Schultz needs to go down for that. I don’t think it in any way undermines Clinton’s election, though.”
Another Sanders supporter, who gave her name as Gwen, said the emails cast doubt on Clinton’s ability to lead.
“I’m really tired of [Clinton saying] ‘I made a mistake.’ You want to be president of the United States, but you made a mistake?” Gwen said.
“How come you are making so many mistakes that are clearly a mistake of judgment, and we’re going to let you run the free world?”