Was what the DNC did during the primaries childish? Yes.
Was what the DNC did during the primaries stupid? Yes
Was what the DNC did during the primaries incredibly tone deaf? Yes.
Was what the DNC did during the primaries unprofessional? Yes.
Was what the DNC did during the primaries criminal? No, not even close.
First, let’s examine the context. We all have to remember that Bernie Sanders was not a Democrat. There was no reason why the DNC HAD to allow Bernie to participate other than as a courtesy to a lawmaker who had, for the most part, caucused and voted with the Democrats. Bernie, as an independent, had no base for fundraising, no infrastructure for campaigning. All those things he received automatically by being allowed to campaign as a Democrat. (yes, I’m simplifying here, but the essence remains the same)
This campaign cycle was supposed to be all about Hillary. Her time was now. Her semi-gracious defeat at the hands of Obama actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it provided even more impressiveness to go on her resume. And, as a woman, it was patently obvious that Hillary would have to be almost overqualified to be considered a strong candidate for President.
So, we have a favored daughter being prepped for what was, basically, a coronation. And as a nod toward the progressive wing of the party, Bernie was allowed to run as a Democrat to keep Hillary honest. He was afforded the same campaign apparatus and funding mechanism that Hillary had. It was his decision not to use it.
Then something weird and wonderful happened. Bernie’s campaign struck a chord with people. The progressive wing of the party (feeling unloved through the Obama years) stepped forward. Disenfranchised voters who just wanted someone different than a regular party candidate latched onto his campaign. And, people who did not want a female president thought it would be a nice tactic to support Bernie and undercut Hillary.
So, you have all these dynamics at play in what was, essentially, supposed to be a simple campaign and nomination. And, since Bernie was not a Democrat (remember that), there were not a lot of Bernie supporters in the DNC. So, it was a very pro-Hillary leadership in the DNC. And, acting a bit like the cool kids club who are put out by the un-cool kid who suddenly is getting popular, some of the DNC leadership snarked and whined in emails that they sent to each other.
The emails are the equivalent of: “Oh that Bernie guy, he’s so messing up my Hillary show, we should just lock him in the bathroom or tie his shoes together or something”. Like I said, childish and unprofessional, definitely. Criminal? There is nothing anywhere in any of the emails that even hints that votes were ‘stolen’ or ‘altered’ or that equal opportunity to party apparatus was withheld (remember, Bernie declined to use some of the apparatus for various reasons).
And the thing is, Bernie understands that. After he took some time to reflect (and to probably curse the cool kids club for being dicks), he realized that he lost fair and square. If he had started his campaign a few months or a year earlier, found ways to ingratiate himself with the Democratic party leadership (or at least blunt the antipathy), things might have been far far different.
The DNC Platform is the most progressive in history and represents a huge win for the progressive wing of the party. If you’re a progressive, you should be proud that your work moved the party so far to the left. Progressives WON. It’s just bad optics that you win a new car and then get mad that the interior is the wrong color. But, what happened (thanks to the law of unintended consequences), this gave perfect cover for the Bernie supporters who were not in this for any progressive principle.
I think that people, especially Hillary supporters, need to realize that the ‘Bernie Backers’ who are in the ‘never Hillary’ camp were really never supporting what Bernie stood for. They were there to simply either protest the establishment, or to protect the sanctity of the last bastion of male dominance. So the emails, all the false narratives that the Republicans have planted for the past decade about Hillary, all these things become convenient cover for what is basically a sexist attempt to keep the Presidency the sole province of the dick-laden. Simply put, no matter what the DNC did or didn’t do, there is no way on this earth that an informed liberal or progressive, would even consider that a Trump presidency would be no worse than a Hillary presidency.
Understanding that, it is important that the DNC avoid painting Bernie supporters with the same brush as the Bernie Backers. Bernie supporters are, fundamentally, on the same side we are, and they represent a vital and dynamic component of the population that needs to be accessed by the Democratic Party and needs to have a strong voice moving forward.