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The Nation Really Should Stop Publishing the Conspiracy Theories of Open Propagandists

[ 106 ] August 13, 2017 |

In the tread about Patrick Lawrence’s DNC hack trooferism, a commenter pointed us to this rather remarkable P-Law artifact from the period in which Salon was willing to publish any lunacy that came down the pike as long it was anti-Clinton:

Now wait a minute, all you upper-case “D” Democrats. A flood light suddenly shines on your party apparatus, revealing its grossly corrupt machinations to fix the primary process and sink the Sanders campaign, and within a day you are on about the evil Russians having hacked into your computers to sabotage our elections — on behalf of Donald Trump, no less?

Is this a joke? Are you kidding? Is nothing beneath your dignity? Is this how lowly you rate the intelligence of American voters? My answers to these, in order: yes, but the kind one cannot laugh at; no, we’re not kidding; no, we will do anything, and yes, we have no regard whatsoever for Americans so long as we can connive them out of their votes every four years.

Clowns. Subversives. Do you know who you remind me of? I will tell you: Nixon, in his famously red-baiting campaign — a disgusting episode — against the right-thinking Helen Gahagan Douglas during his first run for the Senate, in 1950. Your political tricks are as transparent and anti-democratic as his, it is perfectly fair to say.

Is nothing beneath your dignity indeed. Before we get to the punchline, how exactly did the DNC hacks show that the DNC fixed the primary process?

Last Friday WikiLeaks published nearly 20,000 DNC email messages providing abundant proof that Sanders and his staff were right all along. The worst of these, involving senior DNC officers, proposed Nixon-esque smears having to do with everything from ineptitude within the Sanders campaign to Sanders as a Jew in name only and an atheist by conviction.

So the DNC RIGGED the primary by…having some random nobodies float dumb ideas in emails that nobody with any power seems to have even given a moment’s consideration to executing. Well, I’m convinced! It also seems obvious that the only way an insurgency campaign can succeed is if it has the full ex ante support of the entire party establishment.

Anyway, once we return to Russian interference in the election the standards of evidence change markedly:

Is that what disturbs you, Robby? Interesting. Unsubstantiated hocus-pocus, not the implications of these events for the integrity of Democratic nominations and the American political process? The latter is the more pressing topic, Robby. You are far too long on anonymous experts for my taste, Robby. And what kind of expert, now that I think of it, is able to report to you as to the intentions of Russian hackers — assuming for a sec that this concocted narrative has substance?

Making lemonade out of a lemon, the Clinton campaign now goes for a twofer. Watch as it advances the Russians-did-it thesis on the basis of nothing, then shoots the messenger, then associates Trump with its own mess — and, finally, gets to ignore the nature of its transgression (which any paying-attention person must consider grave).

Preposterous, readers. Join me, please, in having absolutely none of it. There is no “Russian actor” at the bottom of this swamp, to put my position bluntly. You will never, ever be offered persuasive evidence otherwise.

Ye gods, it would take the wisdom of Solomon to determine what’s worse, the content or the prose. Indeed, there is a seamless marriage of form and content here — P-Law is a true artist in his own way.

The key takeaway here for longly experienced paying-attention people is that Lawrence is completely open about being nothing but a propagandist. He’s not engaged in good faith skepticism about the hack, and at this point he wasn’t even pretending to be. He literally declared as the scandal was breaking that the Russians simply could not have been involved in any ratfucking of the 2016 elections and nothing could ever convince him otherwise. The Nation can keep publishing Lawrence’s baseless conspiracy theories and Putin/Trump apologia, it can retain its credibility, but not both.

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  • “paying-attention person” is no shorter and considerably harder to scan than “person paying attention”. I’m trying to think of how one would even arrive at the former and cannot.

    Paid by the hyphen? They did some A/B testing and the awkward version had longer read times?

    • wjts

      That’s not being even close to the offense that is stylistic that is on display that is the worst that is there, Bijan. You’re too smart not to realize that, Bijan. Too many columns have been read by you for that to be thought by you, Bijan.

      • petesh

        Pix or nix

      • Preposterous, LGM commenters. Join me, please, in having absolutely none of it. There is no “stylistic actor” at the bottom of this column, to put my position bluntly. You will never, ever be offered persuasive evidence otherwise.

        • CD

          That is the reply that you have written? Fascinating.

          • You make me uncomfortable with your words.

            • CD

              I so miss SEK at these moments.

        • N__B

          “This is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put.”

          • This kind of put I’ll sense, I’m great at sensing…there which putting I had a great putt last week. Fabulous.

    • keta

      One might say the writer was not attentive.

      • Oh he was a person of attentivosity, you can be sure.

        • farin

          A saving-attention-person?

    • Hypersphericalcow

      There are so many people that I want subjected to the Ludovico Technique, but instead of violent films, they have to read Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language”.

    • Dixon Ticonderoga

      And even if he wants to go that way, it should be “attention-paying person.” Same construction as “pussy-grabbing president.”

  • King Goat

    Let’s say arguendo that the party preferred Clinton over Sanders and did things to tip it in her favor. What that would amount to would be party insiders preferring what they saw as the stronger candidate in the general. Hardly remarkable, and *that* is supposed to be more disturbing than a foreign, authoritarian power meddling in our elections?

    • Harkov311

      Indeed.

      I’m also pretty amused that so many people (not on this blog, but this guy’s target audience presumably) continue to hold to the ridiculous theory that Bernie would have romped to the nomination if not for Clinton perfidy. None of the Clinton primary voters I knew cited any of the things he cites as reasons for their vote.

      • Joe Paulson

        Yes, I don’t think he did so badly in the South (read: with African Americans) for those reasons.

      • AGoodQuestion

        That’s the thing about the bitter enders. They are entirely in denial that such a thing as a “Clinton primary voter” even exists. The vote counts for nothing, and HRC sailed to the top with only superdelegates and Goldman-Sachs execs supporting her.

        • Darkrose

          Or, as a guy from my Final Fantasy XIV free company (guild to WoW-heads) told me, Clinton primary voters exist but are all stupid.

          • mattmcirvin

            They think that there were only Bernie voters, and Bernie voters who had been convinced to grudgingly accept Hillary through a bullshit electability argument.

          • MariedeGournay

            Every time I think of joining a guild, I remember conversations like this.

      • amrak63

        Such people also tend to believe that Bernie would also have romped to victory over Cheeto Mussolini.

        • Scopedog

          See H.A. Goodman….

    • FlipYrWhig

      Not to mention that the things they (arguendo) did consisted of (1) scheduling too few debates and at suboptimal times instead of times everyone knows are optimal like mumblemumble, and (2) ¯_(ツ)_/¯

      • Thlayli

        suboptimal times

        In the age of the DVR, is there even such a thing?

        • I work in TV ratings, and a surprisingly large number of people still don’t have DVRs, but they’ve certainly made timing less of a factor than it used to be. At this point, I’d say it’s entirely plausible that more people don’t have cable or satellite service than don’t have DVRs.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Again, don’t forget “some guy you’ve never heard of speculated about a dumb anti-Bernie tactic that was immediately rejected.” That had to be worth at least 5 million votes for Hillary.

      • Shantanu Saha

        Considering that Clinton demonstrated repeatedly throughout the campaign that debating was one of her strengths, and that Sanders demonstrated that he was not up to being challenged on his assertions, the claim that limiting the debates was a plus for Clinton does not look credible.

        • stepped pyramids

          It’s also not really true. The DNC sanctioned the same number of debates in 2008 and 2016: six. The difference is that there were many more unsanctioned debates in 2008. The main reason for this is not DNC meddling but that there were fewer candidates and a much stronger frontrunner.

          That is: it is Hillary Clinton’s “fault”, in a sense, that there were fewer debates. This is not because of devious manipulation, but because the only way you could have a debate is if Clinton and Sanders both agreed to do it. Since Clinton was the presumptive nominee, she had the upper hand. They did end up doing a few extra debates.

          In 2008, since there were three frontrunners and a number of relatively credible also-rans (Biden, Richardson, Dodd), it was difficult for any single candidate to have leverage to control when, where, and how many debates were held. (This is a positive outcome of having a wide primary field.)

    • Daniel

      Yeah, from a European perspective this outrage is all very odd. With Sanders not even being a party member.

      Of course, I realize that primaries are basically the US band-aid kludge around the limitations of the only-two-stable-parties system, so it isn’t exactly the same. But still weird.

    • NeoliberalBanksterCaptainHowdy

      * * * T * H * I * S * * * T * H * I * S * * * T * H * I * S * * *
      * * * T * H * I * S * * * T * H * I * S * * * T * H * I * S * * *
      * * * T * H * I * S * * * T * H * I * S * * * T * H * I * S * * *

    • weirdnoise

      I’m deeply shocked to see politics inside a political party!

    • MLD

      What would have been remarkable would be party insiders NOT preferring Clinton to Sanders. She had invested years of effort into fundraising for and supporting Democratic Party candidates. She had served as Sec of State for a Democratic Party president. That lifetime of party loyalty was to be ignored in favor of an Independent whose campaign was doing yeoman’s work to undermine the accomplishments of said President?

      • drspittle

        All of which make the DNC’s sabotage all the more nefarious and incomprehensible.

    • Scopedog

      In the minds of some people…yes.

  • petesh

    The Nation has a long history, which includes publishing Alex Cockburn (whom I liked, even when I disagreed with him) and Chris Hitchens (whom I disliked, even when I agreed with him), as well as the thoroughly lovable Patricia Williams and Katha Pollitt, among of course many others, most of whom are or were controversial to someone, though often not me. Even though I havent read it religiously for years, and rarely fall upon it on anyone else’s coffee table anymore, I’d hate to lose the institution.

    • FlipYrWhig

      If it went under, where would we find obnoxious pretentious art criticism delivered at considerable length and reviews of Iranian movies playing in one theater in all of North America, the perfect leavening for arguments in the front of the magazine about how liberals lose winnable races because they’re too elitist?

      • petesh

        A quick peek at the circulation figures in Wikipedia (none more recent than 2015) suggests that you may soon need to go elsewhere for those Iranian movie reviews. Unless, of course, they find a profitable sideline. Perhaps the White House could give them a tip.

    • mattmcirvin

      Wasn’t it Cockburn who somehow got on a climate-change-denialist kick? He got a bunch of British lefties somehow believing these ideas that came out of the American right and industry propaganda. The best I can figure is that some British lefties associate any opposition to coal with Thatcher shutting down the mines.

      • Scopedog

        Yep, he did. Hated Al Gore too, and that was where his climate-change denier trajectory started from. He also pushed the idea that Gore would have been worse than Bush and that the Democrats were just as bad as the GOP because they were “police state lite”.

        I used to have some respect for Cockburn, but that went down the drain very quickly after the 2000 election. Fun fact though–the actress Olivia Wilde is his niece.

  • Kevin

    As much as I like Digby and Marcotte (I know to some here she is evil…but fuck those guys), I stopped reading Salon during the primary, and wont be going back because of shit like that and HA Goodman and whatever the other numerous hacks names were.

    Also, it is the worst designed site around. I did try following a link on my phone to it recently, and there was maybe an inch of text buried beneath a bunch of ads, ads that you couldn’t minimize/close/avoid in any way. They followed the text no matter how much you scrolled down, making it impossible to have more than a line of actual content visible at a time. Just awful. maybe they’ve fixed it since then, but no real interest in finding out.

    • Dixon Ticonderoga

      I would still click on a Digby or Marcotte or Andrew O’Hehir link, even after I gave up visiting Salon regularly. But at some point I couldn’t even finish an article because their horrible website would crash my tablet. Now I never bother. It’s really unfortunate.

    • Most of the really awful shit at Salon stopped once Daley was given the boot,
      although there were a few holdovers (one or two of Lawrence’s columns, and a surprisingly not-stupid Brogan Morris piece). Post-Daley Salon has really been more inessential than actively toxic – though after re-becoming a regular user from July to November I went back to just reading four to five columnists after the election, and have quit entirely after Legum & Maloy left.

  • Hypersphericalcow

    Obviously, the DNC sent their black helicopters to steal the ballots. And then delivered them to the reverse vampires, who, being reverse, transmuted them into votes for Hillary. It’s the only explanation that fits all the facts.

    • the actual Bajmahal

      In other words, Donald Trump is a werewolf.

    • drspittle

      Don’t forget that they transmuted them by soaking them in the blood of newts.

  • Hogan

    Brian Feldman’s “the first 1,000 or so words, which mostly consist of breathtakingly elaborate throat-clearing” pretty much nails the PL style, except that it isn’t just the first thousand words–it’s 98% of the entire piece.

    • sigaba

      Maddow is similar. Certain left commentators feel like they have to spend 20 minutes on a peroration where they win us over to the shattering preliminary conclusion that lying is wrong and politics is a dirty business.

      • brad

        I’d say it’s less a similarity to Maddow’s overly academic style and more like McMegan’s style of burying her lack of a good argument or supporting evidence in a pile of thousands of pointless words. Only people drinking the same kool-aid can keep reading, and it gives the author an easy out of accusing their critics of not fully reading them.

        • Chet Murthy

          I gotta agree w/brad. Dr. Maddow’s a little tedious & repetitive, but I remind myself that she’s trying to reach people with barely-above-room-temperature IQs. I may get her point (and drift) rather quickly, but I’m not her audience, and I’m guessing, neither is sigaba.

          She’s doing a great job of educating her audience.

          • brad

            Yeah, back when I still had cable I ended up drifting away from watching her mainly because I found that by that point in the day I’d already read several takes on the topics she was covering. But for my parents she’s still very illuminating.

          • cpinva

            “She’s doing a great job of educating her audience.”
            no, she isn’t. what those many gratuitous words tend to mask is her annoying lack of due diligence. she tends to throw a lot of stuff out there, most of which turn out to be, if you listen/read closely enough, simply assumption/assertion, lacking any basis in tangible facts. she puts on quite a show. unfortunately, for the most part, that’s all it is, a show for the left.

        • stepped pyramids

          Maddow isn’t just “overly academic”, though. She does the talk radio thing where she spends a lot of time talking about how she’s about to talk about something later.

          • Joe Paulson

            She started in radio. Old habits die hard?

            • stepped pyramids

              Apparently the audio from the TV show is also distributed as a podcast. That would explain a lot about how aggressively nonvisual it is. It’s a lot like the TV show Rush Limbaugh used to have where it was basically just his radio show except you got to see his bloated face in front of some photos.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Bob Somerby hates Rachel Maddow, which is interesting because they both specialize in spending thousands of words of repetitive throat-clearing portending an argument that may or may not ever actually arrive.

        • stepped pyramids

          I’ve never read someone who can spin so many words out of a sentence fragment as Somerby. The funny thing is how deeply unpersuasive it is — he spends a lot of time establishing very clearly that he’s biased against whoever he’s criticizing; that he considers them responsible for various evils which are not remotely germane to the current subject; that he personally despises them and considers them beneath contempt. And then he finally rambles along to making an argument that almost always reads as “this poopyhead took a thought dump with their butt mouth”.

          • Scott Lemieux

            And what’s frustrating is that he’s 100% right about a story that was extremely relevant in 2016, but his style could be calculated to alienate readers.

            • cpinva

              this. he is very, very good at analyzing and ripping to shreds so-called “stories”, but his style is so abrasive (even for me!), that he turns readers off before they can get to the meat of it.

              • DonnaDiva

                He also frequently channels his inner Bernie Bro, lecturing liberals to stop being so condescending to WWC voters, probably thinking the pleasant interactions he has with them as Mr. Sir are universal.

        • Sergio Lopez-Luna

          Did he move on from the 2000 election? I stopped reading him when most of this stories where: It’s raining outside, but the MSM was terrible to Al Gore!

  • brad

    If this guy and Lolcats Goodman are the best writers these dirtbag left fucks can find to publish and represent them, then I’m going to have to take it as further indication that no one who can think a coherent thought is willing to have a goddamn thing to do with them.

    • Terok Nor

      Dirtbag leftism means not thinking–not needing to think. Dirtbag leftism is unconsciousness.

  • jamespowell

    the period in which Salon was willing to publish any lunacy that came down the pike as long it was anti-Clinton

    Aren’t we still in that period? Did I miss the memo?

    • Scott Lemieux

      HA!, Brogan Bragman, and Lawrence all left with Dailey, I think.

  • WinningerR

    If anything, the Wikileaks dump proved that there *wasn’t* an anti-Sanders conspiracy at the DNC. Twenty thousand emails pilfered, and all they found was that single message from a low level staffer? And let’s not forget that even the message in question came *well after* Sanders had declared open war on the DNC by repeatedly accusing the organization of dishonesty and corruption.

    That’s the point nobody seems to get about these email dumps. If Hilary and/or Podesta and/or the DNC were actually as corrupt as alleged, you’d see evidence of it *all over the emails,* not just one quasi-ambiguous mail out of twenty thousand.

    • brad

      If memory serves it was actually a short convo between two low level staffers, and the originator was let go. Not to argue with you, just clarify.
      But this guy especially has no interest in what’s true, he just wants pieces for the narrative he’s been helping construct.

    • Twenty thousand emails pilfered, and all they found was that single message from a low level staffer?

      That shows how deep the cover-up went: it was preemptive.

      • It was a plot so fiendishly clever that the evidence of wrongdoing was paltry. That’s the tell-tale sign of a really fiendishly clever conspiracy: a lack of evidence.

        • jamespowell

          This is true of every Clinton scandal except having an affair with Monica.

    • DonnaDiva

      It stays relevant, not so much because of the newbies and instigators, but thanks to people who ought to know better repeating vague, lazy canards like “well, the DNC didn’t meddle per se but they did favor Clinton!” or “they had their finger on the scale!” or just saying the magic word “super delegates!”

      It’s not going Full Benghazi on it, so to speak, but just far enough to appease the primary truther crowd and cast doubt on Clinton’s win.

  • Spot Letton

    “… it would take the wisdom of Solomon to determine what’s worse.”

    Agreed. Just go ahead and slice him in half, with arguments.

    • cpinva

      “Just go ahead and slice him in half, with arguments.”

      any particular reason to limit it to just arguments?

      • Hogan

        Marge: I guess we could get more involved in Bart’s activities, but then I’d be afraid of smothering him.

        Homer: Yeah, and then we’d get the chair.

        Marge: That’s not what I meant.

        Homer: It was, Marge. Admit it.

  • stepped pyramids

    “any paying-attention person”

    How is this fucker paid to write?

    • Scott Lemieux

      I mean, at least Hitchens could write.

      • Hitchens was an entertaining and incisive polemicist, so a lot could be forgiven. You could say “I disagree with him and I don’t like him but I enjoy reading him.” Eventually his act got a little annoying.

    • wjts

      “He is like some sort of non-giving-up school guy.”

  • “Have you people no dignity? Having my mind fixed on a higher truth regardless of whatever may appear in the chimerical world of empirical “fact”, that is dignity in my book, and it’s a great book. I have the best books, books of winding paths of prose leading nowhere in particular but the jouney is a wonderfully circular one in which nothing disturbing need intrude. That purity, truly, is the epitome of dignity.”

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    Would even the pee tape sway P-Law?

  • Jesse

    I think the essay would have worked better if he had said “Robby” more often.

  • Speaking of conspiracy theories, I just had to stop by the “9/11 was an inside job!” booth at Venice Beach today.

    That was an, ahem, “interesting” conversation to say the least.

  • Apparently my co-worker is a Bernie Truther. He asserts that large numbers of prospective Bernie voters had their registrations changed from Democrat to Independent or Unaffiliated so that when they showed up to the polls, they weren’t allowed to vote in the Democratic primary. In this way, the election was rigged.

    This is…just so crazy. Trying to explain the insane logistics of something like this doesn’t seem to get me anywhere. Has anyone else heard this?

    • ColBatGuano

      I seem to remember this coming up around the NY primary. Everyone in Brooklyn apparently had their voter registration switched to independent so they couldn’t vote for Bernie. Trying to point out how nuts this was only demonstrated how much of a sellout you were.

      • mattmcirvin

        There was some kind of actual story there–I think it may have been just that the deadline for registering as a Democrat was very early, so a lot people who thought they’d made it hadn’t. That’s bad, but it’s a matter of state law, not the DNC.

        • Hogan

          NY law is unusually horrible in that respect, and has been for years.

          • EliHawk

            Ironically enough, that law exists to protect the lefty (and, admittedly, righty/indy) fusion parties. Basically, so a hostile machine couldn’t dive in and overwhelm the then-Liberal Party/now-WFP on the eve of their primary.

            • Hogan

              Huh. I hadn’t heard that. Good to know.

      • mattmcirvin

        …In general, a lot of people seemed to have the idea that the DNC, and not state election boards, ran primary elections. (The party does run caucuses, but Bernie did great in caucuses.)

      • mattmcirvin

        …ah, found it–there was indeed an improper purge of a large number of Brooklyn voters from the rolls for inactivity, and for months the state website even improperly showed them as registered:

        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/nyregion/board-of-elections-brooklyn-votes.html

        Of course it wasn’t a selective purge of “prospective Bernie voters”, it was Brooklyn election officials screwing up badly.

        • Not to mention that the actual vote purging happened in June/July of 2015. You’d have to have some serious powers of clairvoyance to know enough about the state of the Democratic primary in April of 2016 to know what you’d even want to do, let alone actually do it.

      • EliHawk

        The thing is, Bernie was going to win Brooklyn because the entire borough is 100% white hipster Marxists. There are no minorities there at all. It was only election official perfidy that silenced them. You’ll see when the DSA’s choice in the primary unseats Andrew Cuomo next year.

        • mattmcirvin

          Yeah, Hillary won Brooklyn about 60-40, so you’d really have to imagine that all the people purged in that clusterfuck were Bernie voters. If not, then if anything the purge benefited him.

  • Nick Landess

    … I don’t mean to be the simpleton in the room, but …

    http://rol.st/2d8CvQN

    Taibbi outlines a much more involved, partisan, and offensive (both figuratively, and subjectively) role for the DNC in supporting Clinton vs. Sanders than that painted with which innocent brush you have.

    • NeoliberalBanksterCaptainHowdy

      Do you mean this part?

      “You’re always trying to force Masha and Sveta under the table to give you blow jobs. It’s not funny. They don’t think it’s funny,” Kara complained. “But… it is funny,” Matt said. We have been pretty rough on our girls. We’d ask our Russian staff to flash their asses or breasts for us. We’d tell them that if they wanted to keep their jobs, they’d have to perform unprotected anal sex with us. Nearly every day, we asked our female staff if they approved of anal sex. That was a fixation of ours. “Can I fuck you in the ass? Huh? I mean, without a rubber? Is that okay?” It was all part of the fun.”

      • Nick Landess

        That is surely an effective refutation of the conspiracy to defraud donors to the DNC and the conspiracy therein to artificially boost Hillary’s chances of the nomination.

        Did I say something somewhere about Taibbi’s glowing candidacy for sainthood? I’ll retract that if I said it.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I didn’t bring it up because Lawrence didn’t cite it. But the idea that this trivia materially affected the nomination contest is absurd.

          • Nick Landess

            It always struck me as odd that Bernie’s numbers seemed to be much better than … his numbers. I don’t really have an opinion on whether or not this “materially” affected the nomination – (D) Hillary certainly seemed to be a foregone conclusion long before these events. But there tends to be a dismissal of anything anti-Hillary as merely some Bernie bro nutjob conspiracy flim flam, when there were *absolutely* some high level shenanigans occurring.

            “So the DNC RIGGED the primary by…having some random nobodies float dumb ideas in emails that nobody with any power seems to have even given a moment’s consideration to executing. ”

            … well, that … and expropriating gobs of soft money in order to balance out some of the lead that Bernie had on her in small donor contributions. and essentially making themselves into an arm of her campaign finance structure instead of the ostensibly neutral party machinery it would in a perfect world maintain.

            • What was the material effect of this?

              The Wikipedia article doesn’t present it as field levelling and suggests that Bernie could have set up a victory fund and that the money was more for the general campaign:

              Paul Blumenthal, a political reporter for The Huffington Post noted that the super joint fundraising committee was unusual. Candidates did not normally agree to joint fundraising until after securing the nomination. It was also the first fundraising committee since the 2014 fundraising law changes.[8] The New York Times reported that some state party officials “expressed reservations” at the Clinton campaign’s pairing with the national party before the nominee was officially selected.[7] By comparison, the 2008 campaign’s fund was not started until June of the election year, and as of February 2016, the Republican National Committee had not established a joint fundraising committee with its candidates.[6] Some states were hesitant to join the fund, which might have appeared as a Clinton endorsement and alienation of local donors, but national party officials described the fund as “a way to strengthen the party at its roots”.[6] Clinton’s opponents in the Democratic presidential primary complained of impartiality on the part of the national committee.[7] While some Democrats questioned the strategy of joint fundraising when Republican super PACs were outpacing Clinton’s campaign in fundraising, the chairman of the New Hampshire state party said that it was never too early to prepare for the general election.[7]

              The Washington Post reported in February 2016 that the Clinton campaign had received much of the fund’s benefits despite its intended use in state party elections. The newspaper added that the early organization of the fund was a demonstration of the campaign’s maximization of big donor support.[6] As the Clinton campaign fought off fellow primary candidate Bernie Sanders, the fund recruited new, small donors—a strategy that campaign finance attorneys described to The Washington Post as “unusual”, since joint fundraising committees normally focused on large donors and posh events.[6] A former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission said that the joint fundraising committee structure was not intended to support a single candidate, and the fund appeared to turn “the traditional notion of a joint committee into a Hillary fundraising committee”.[6] As of February 2016, the Sanders campaign was not involved in active joint fundraising with the national committee, and considered the fund to be subsidiary to the Clinton campaign.[6] The Sanders joint fundraising committee, the Bernie Victory Fund, headed by the national committee’s chief financial officer, and its only funding was a $1,000 donation from the national committee.[6] As of March 2016, the Sanders campaign financed itself completely through small donations and was potentially uninterested in the Victory Fund coffers if nominated.[12]

              Now, I don’t find it to be ideal, by any stretch. I wasn’t able to find out how much victory fund money was spent in the primary. Most of the analyses are suggestive rather than following it all the way out.

      • Lurking Canadian

        I have no idea how to interpret the linked Taibbi story, but this as rebuttal is ad hominem in its purest form.

  • Renfrew Squeevil

    I don’t get this. Do these idiots truly not understand that political parties take sides in primaries? Is this news to them? People are still going on about this, like it’s proof of some kind of scandal, or a scandal in itself. But parties settle on a candidate they think has the best shot at winning the general, and they get behind that candidate. Sometimes they’re right; sometimes they choose wrong. But they do this every year. These people could do with a freshman political science or American political history class.

  • personwhoreadssometimes

    Due to the craziness of threats of NUCLEAR WAR and literal NAZIS marching in the streets, I feel that this excellent post from Shakesville hasn’t gotten enough attention or circulation. I have seen way too many figures on both the right and left seize on the poorly sourced and written Nation article as proof that the entire Russian scandal is a conspiracy. I unsubscribed from the Nation a while back because I was pissed off by their financial connections to Russian special interests. So I can’t very well tell them now that I’m “cancelling my subscription” out of protest, but I honestly wish I could. We need to push for a retraction. There is no way this piece holds up to basic journalist scrutiny. Please see this: http://www.shakesville.com/2017/08/why-is-nation-giving-space-to-tinfoil.html