Joe Henderson: The Democrats picked a bad day to start their convention
So, how’s your Monday going?
For Hillary Clinton, the answer is “not so good.”
She was already dealing with the fallout from the weekend Wikileaks email dump that showed, among many other head-shaking items, her path to the Democratic presidential nomination was rigged by the leadership in her party’s national committee.
Many people, especially those behind Bernie Sanders, already suspected that. Thanks to Wikileaks, that’s no longer a suspicion. More on that in a bit.
But she awoke Monday to the news that Donald Trump got a significant post-convention bounce in the polls, pulling ahead of Clinton 44-39 in a CNN/ORC poll. That poll was measured as a four-way presidential race that included Gary Johnson (9 percent) and Jill Stein (3 percent).
It’s a coin toss which topic comes up first around the water cooler: the poll, or the disastrous Wikileaks revelations that led to the forced resignation of Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Democrats have basically hit the self-destruct button.
After combing through nearly 20,000 emails and about 8,000 more attachments, reporters found that DNC staffers were so intent on ensuring Clinton was the nominee that they even considered using Sanders’ Jewish faith against him.
These weren’t low-level DNC people either. The Washington Post reported that DNC chief financial officer Brad Marshall wrote: “It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God? He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist.”
Other emails showed the DNC thinking of ways to help Sanders’ campaign fall apart. And, lest we overlook this, sometimes they even mocked major Democratic donors.
That ought to go over well the next time the party stretches out its hand for a check.
As much as we laughed at the Trump campaign for its amateur mistakes last week at the Republican convention, this might be worse. This is something in the DNA of the Democrats’ national party. If Republicans can seem wild-eyed and scary at times, Democrats come across as condescending, devious and smug.
Neither one is likable.
I had an editor at the Tampa Tribune advise me long ago to never write anything in an email that I wouldn’t want to see in the public arena. She was absolutely correct. Every time I wrote an email, I thought a moment about what I saying before I hit the send button.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t sometimes answer a critic in sharp tones. It just meant that I didn’t care if got shared publicly.
Bernie Sanders received about 12.5 million votes this year in the Democratic primaries. That was nearly 43 percent of those who went to the polls. Are Democrat party leaders so out of touch that they don’t think that she needs those voters to win the White House?
In a sense, this is a little like Watergate.
Richard Nixon was going to clean George McGovern’s clock anyway in the 1972 election, but that wasn’t good enough. He wanted the earth scorched, and look what happened. He got his landslide all right, but he got buried under the debris.
Likewise, Clinton was going to beat Sanders for the nomination anyway. None of this subterfuge and mockery was necessary, but they couldn’t resist and now they have a problem.
They are losing in the polls, and at a time when they want to put their candidate in the best light Democrats look no different than the party they are campaigning against.