What Wikileaks Reveal

Slimy Julian Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, cooperating with Russian hackers to try and influence the U.S. presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. Need I say more?

In my view, Wikileaks reveals Clinton to be a pragmatic politician wiling to be more candid in smaller groups than she is on the campaign trail. That’s neither surprising nor disturbing. Is it a surprise that we all have a public face, and a more private one, and need to? Is is a surprise that money buys access — not action, but access?

I’m particularly interested in the big reveal that the Democratic Party preferred Clinton to Sanders, especially the super delegates, and worked to get her the nomination. Was that a surprise to anyone? I’m not a proponent of direct democracy; the Republican Party got rid of its super delegate system, and wound up with Donald Trump. Direct democracy is far too vulnerable to demagogues. Super delegates aren’t dark-cloaked purveyors of secret influence. They are party regulars, often elected themselves, who have a working knowledge of Democratic constituencies and know what it takes to get elected and to govern. Bernie didn’t lose the primary because Debbie Wasserman Schultz had her thumb on the scale. He lost because he never made inroads with important Democratic voting blocks like African Americans, and because he never convinced Democratic voters like me that his platform was plausible, possible, or even good for the country. Hillary won the nomination because she got more votes. If she wins the presidency, it won’t be because the system is rigged. It will be because she gets more votes.

Going forward, no one in public life will assume privacy in their emails. Face-to-face conversation will come back, which may not be a bad thing. I think we need a conversation about hackers, and about revealing publicly what was assumed to be private. We’re all entitled to a zone of privacy, even public officials.  And complicated deals in a diverse democracy need to be worked out sheltered from the glare of public view, before blocs of  interest groups get a chance to marshall their forces and shoot every idea down. It’s a complicated issue, and there are better bearers of the message of openness, like Edward Snowden. I know where I stand on Julian Assange. He and Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are birds of a feather, and none of the three are role models for civil and free discourse.

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