It’s been a few days now since WikiLeaks published nearly 20,000 emails and over 8,000 attachments from the Democratic National Committee. IVN’s own Andrew Gripp has published an article detailing some of their damning content.
Emails show multiple occasions of collusion with the press, anti-Trump campaign tactics, and party financial support of Hillary Clinton. In other emails, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, chair of the DNC, calls Sanders’ campaign manager a “damn liar” and an “ASS”.
The controversy has resulted in Wasserman Schultz’s resignation as DNC chair and subsequent recruitment by the Clinton campaign.
Is it disgusting? Yes. Surprising? Not really. In fact, the DNC email scandal is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the multitude of ways both major political parties maintain control of the election process and the national dialogue.
As private organizations, political parties are largely unaccountable to the American voter. Therefore, although the emails are shocking, they’re (largely) legal. Americans are outraged, but unable to change anything. Party bosses can continue to choose candidates, exclude independents, and discredit serious challengers.
What’s more, because the duopoly offers voters limited choices, even a massive scandal like this one will do little to loosen the two-party vice grip on American politics.
Want proof? Wasserman Schultz long ago publicly voiced her support for closed primaries. One uncovered email relates to how the Democratic Party even reduced polling locations during Rhode Island primaries to dilute support for Hillary’s chief rival, Bernie Sanders.
And if it took this long for something like this to enter the public limelight, imagine how long it’s been going on -- not just among Democrats, but also Republicans.
That said, there are still outsiders ready and willing to disrupt the two-party machine. Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party is especially positioned to disrupt the duopoly come November. By some estimates, he’s polling at 13 percent -- only two points away from the threshold needed to enter the presidential debates.
The debates are the next step in the long run to the White House, and are crucial to the success of any candidate. But will the debate selection process be any less rigged than the primaries? Probably not.
If recent history is our guide, both the RNC and DNC will be looking for ways to discredit, exclude, and downplay outside challengers. In fact, the Commission on Presidential Debates is LITERALLY a partnership between the Republican and Democratic Parties. Imagine the emails circulating right now strategizing how to prevent Johnson and other third party or independent candidates from competing in November.
If the Republicans and Democrats really sought to serve the people, rather than themselves, they wouldn’t stifle competition -- whether inside or outside their parties -- they’d welcome it.
Photo Source: AP