Thanks to Wikileaks document dumps from the last several days, we now know that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee openly conspired to give Hillary Clinton a leg up on Bernie Sanders.
But privately, it seems, staffers fretted that Hillary Clinton’s nasty campaign to run the Vermont socialist out of the race was getting a little crazy, especially when it came to Clinton’s SuperPAC ally, David Brock. Brock, who coordinates with Clinton’s campaign, was urging Clinton to ask Bernie Sanders for his medical records during the Democratic debate in January, and no one found it funny.
But even beyond that, as Clinton sailed into the March primaries, her staff were warning her that attacking Bernie so forcefully on the stump could alienate his supporters and lose her an endorsement from Elizabeth Warren, who was already concerned Clinton wasn’t as anti-Wall Street as she claimed.
They helpfully suggested that she try to find some common ground with Bernie.
The adviser went on to suggest that if Hillary Clinton didn’t shape up with progressives, she’d be wholly dependent on Republicans nominating Donald Trump, because her “political weaknesses” were “endemic.”
It’s clear that Podesta took this advice to heart. Clinton was far less critical of Bernie Sanders and his policies towards the end of the campaign than she was at the beginning — and according to one Podesta email, far less vitriolic than the campaign originally planned.
A “fact sheet” on Sanders passed around among campaign staff urged Clinton and her surrogates to hit Bernie Sanders on everything from the failure of “Free Stuff” socialism, to Bernie Sanders’s 1970s essay on how women fantasize about rape. The memo even attempted to accuse Sanders of coordinating — or at least encouraging — the Bernie Bros.
Sanders, at least, is being conciliatory in his public statements following these revelations, saying that he’s on board with Clinton and will hold her to the promises made in the Democratic platform.