A transgender former Army intelligence who rose to national prominence for leaking sensitive information to Wikileaks has taken steps to run for U.S. Senate in Maryland.
The Federal Election Commission website indicates Chelsea Manning on Thursday filed for candidacy to run as a Democrat in the mid-term election.
It would be difficult for Manning to wrest the Democratic nomination from incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who’s seen the overwhelmingly favorite as he runs for a third term. The primary is set for June 28.
Technically, Cardin hasn’t confirmed he’ll be defending his seat.
Ben Cardin, 74, has not yet announced he would seek a third term in the Senate. His campaign committee has nearly $2 million in cash on hand, according to the FEC.
Unsurprisingly, Chelsea’s filing has made a bit of a stir.
The case and Manning herself continue to be politically divisive in the United States.
The charges against Manning were very serious.
In 2013 Manning was sentenced to 35 years after being found guilty of 20 charges, including espionage.
(Personally, I was glad when Obama commuted her sentence. I think it’s one of the ‘good’ things Obama did during his time in the Oval Office.)
Chelsea Manning leaked a video of an American military helicopter gunning down unarmed civilians, including a Reuters journalist while they were laughing and referring to them as ‘dead bastards’
If you think Chelsea is the villain in this story, you might be a piece of shit.
— James Casey (@MrJames_Casey) January 13, 2018
Many chose to focus on the one who opened up the window, rather than on what could be seen through the window.
Former President Obama said the sentence she was given was “disproportionate”, but President Donald Trump has labelled her an “ungrateful traitor” who “should never have been released from prison”.
Needless the say, the contrasts between Cardin and Manning are quite stark. Cardin wasn’t expected to even have a primary challenger:
He was re-elected to the Senate in 2012 by a margin of 30 points and is not expected to face a competitive primary challenger.
(It would appear that Ballotpedia is a little behind on its updates-there are now a total of three primary challengers to Cardin)
Here is a typical tweet from Manning, this one in response to the news that Cuomo suspended that cruel NYS Corrections Department’s pilot program restricting reading materials to inmates:
i read nearly 1000 books of all different kinds, from all kinds of people, and enriched my knowledge, heart, and soul in 7 years of prison ??????? we can do better ??? #WeGotThis https://t.co/F6LK7eqBu0
— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) January 12, 2018
One could describe that tweet as positive, supportive, maybe even a little bit inspirational.
But, here’s the tweet below that one on her Twitter timeline:
— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) January 10, 2018
That one’s a little more controversial. Can you imagine Cardin saying such a thing?
This is more Sen. Cardin’s style:
Senator Ben Cardin, top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, joined MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Wednesday evening to reiterate the serious threat posed by Russia to American and Western institutions.
Earlier that day, Cardin’s office had prepared an omnibus report titled: Putin’s Asymmetrical Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National Security
The report “finds that President Trump’s refusal to publicly acknowledge the threat posed by the Russian government has hampered efforts to mobilize our government, strengthen our institutions, and work with our European allies to counter Putin’s interference in democracies abroad.”
Cardin has the weight of the political establishment behind him, and they certainly love the kind of talk Cardin is talking. With Manning now running, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if money is now flowing into his coffers at a quickened rate.
If nothing else, it should be interesting to see what affect Chelsea Manning’s run does to the conversation.
And to any naysayers who claim lack of experience, Manning may be more capable than they think:
Chelsea Manning wrote serious draft cybersecurity legislation to abolish the FISA court WHILE SHE WAS IN PRISON and did not have access to the Internet or a word processor that could save documents. She had to call supporters to look up citations etc. Gtfo with "no experience"
— Evan Greer (@evan_greer) January 13, 2018
Today, Chelsea Manning released a 129-page surveillance reform bill representing concrete alternatives and policy changes. The bill proposes the abolition of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, moves the surveillance court powers into federal district courts, and contains a privacy and civil liberties-friendly version of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA).
It’s pretty amazing really. It was not so long ago at all that even the idea of a convicted transgender military whistleblower running for the Senate would have sounded quite implausible.
But here she is:
So good luck Chelsea! Thank you for pushing on those barriers, working for positive change, and shaking things up a bit.