PHILADELPHIA — Bernie Sanders’ most ardent supporters couldn’t care less about Vladimir Putin’s alleged role in the hack of Democratic National Committee emails that suggest the primary was rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton.
They’re fuming over the content of the emails, but seem unconcerned about how they were released to the public—apparently through an insidious Russian information operation to influence the American elections.
The revelations in the emails are a scandal, to be sure. But the broader scandal is that a foreign government is seeking to influence the American election—and that it’s having an effect. But Berniacs are willing to turn a blind eye to this.
“I’m really thankful to whatever the source was,” said Mike Arnold, a Bernie supporter from Atlanta wearing a shirt reading, “Hillary for Prison.”
“I don’t care if a man on the moon reported it,” Arnold continued. “I couldn’t care less. The bottom line is that [Clinton] is corrupt.”
The FBI suspects Russian government hackers were behind the breach of the DNC’s networks, as The Daily Beast reported. Allegedly, the Russians hoped that the presidential election would tilt in favor of Donald Trump, who supports cozier relations with Moscow, and has routinely heaped praise upon Putin’s strongman tactics. The emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were later posted to WikiLeaks.
Thousands Bernie fans who were marching on the Democratic National Convention this week were nonplussed. Instead, they’re focused on the vindication they feel over how the Democratic Party’s nomination process was rigged in favor of Clinton.
Sameera Khan, a political activist and former Miss New Jersey who identifies as a Bernie surrogate, told The Daily Beast that she wasn’t fazed by the Russian-plot narrative.
“If American hacking can't do it, and if the Russian government helped us expose fraud, so be it,” Khan said, emphasizing that she was not, however, “endorsing or condoning the actions of” Putin or the Russian government.
Sanders fans have long viewed ousted-DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DNC as plotting to maintain the Democratic Party’s status quo and crush the democratic-socialist candidate’s chances at winning the nomination. Thousands of Bernie supporters echoed this sentiment as they marched on the convention Monday evening.
Haley Rea of New Orleans, La., said that she felt “equal parts heartbroken and vindicated” as a result of the leaks. “It’s a good indicator that the DNC was behind Hillary the entire time, and didn’t give Bernie a fighting chance,” Rea said.
Despite this, Sanders’ former national press secretary sent out a series of tweets Monday night in an attempt to quell the movement’s disruption of the convention.
Andrew Martin, a 27-year-old New Yorker who was there to march and protest the DNC, said that the email hack will probably end up being “good for [our] movement,” referring to the “political revolution“ that Sanders has long championed.
“Whether it will be a good thing for this election...” Martin mused. “That remains to be seen.”