Chelse Manning’s longshot bid for a U.S. Senate seat from Maryland came to an ignominious end this week, as she and several other Democratic challengers were routed by incumbent Senator Ben Cardin. Cadrin is seeking his third term as a Senator after serving in the House for 20 years. Cadrin tallied 80.4 percent of the vote.
Tony Campbell of Baltimore County defeated an even bigger slate of 10 other candidates for the Republican nomination.
Manning was a former Army intelligence analyst, named Bradley Manning who was sentenced to jail for leaking around 700,000 classified documents. President Donald Trump called her an “ungrateful traitor.”
With a wave of “progressive” candidates seeking election during the 2018 midterm elections, none was as divisive as Chelsea Manning. Since being released from prison, she has been quite active on social media, especially Twitter espousing liberal issues and with a healthy dose of emojis and usually followed by the hashtag #wegotthis.
Seen on the left as the darling of Wikileaks and a whistleblower, the 30-year old championed the rights for transgender’s rights and went on a hunger strike until the Army acquiesced and allowed her to have the surgery to become a woman. However, her campaign barely got off the ground.
The right sees Manning as a traitor who caused irreparable damage to the military by leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, for which she was sentenced to 35-years in prison. Her sentence was commuted by President Obama after just seven years of confinement just before he left office. But many on the right found it ludicrous that someone convicted of a serious crime was even allowed to run.
She did very little campaigning in Maryland, running on a platform of abolishing prisons, freeing inmates and abolishing the Immigrations and Customs agency calling it, “literally the new gestapo,” while likewise eliminating our national borders. Her campaign generated no campaign war chest, no debates, and very few candidate forums. In a state with so many government and defense workers the fact that she even got the minuscule 5.7 percent of the vote (nearly 30,000 votes) was surprising.
Manning generated the wrong kind of publicity for her first campaign about a month ago when she went on social media claiming that “we can’t expect any change thru the upcoming elections – the primaries are rigged.” Worse, shortly after that, Manning posted a picture of herself standing at a window ledge with just the words, “I’m sorry.”
A follow-on post set off more alarm bells. She added, “I’m not really cut out for this world — i tried adapting to this world out here but i failed you — i couldn’t do this anymore,” which caused a minor uproar on social media among her followers. Her friends and supporters urged people to give her space… but in the middle of a Senate campaign?
Manning announced this week that she was forced to step back from active campaigning to prioritize her health. “I found the space and the treatment I need to heal, with close friends by my side to provide love and support,” she said.
After her suicidal call for help, some of her friends and supporters called the police to do a wellness check. That caused another minor social media uproar when the security camera of Manning’s apartment ended up on social media.
The footage shows that three officers have weapons drawn while a fourth has a Taser. A Police spokesman, Captain Paul Starks said that the decision to draw weapons “depends on the officer” who “makes the decision based on circumstances that are affecting that officer in that specific situation.” Manning, however, tweeted that “this is what a police state looks like, Guns drawn during a wellness check.”
But after the election, she was back on social media once again. Thanking her supporters, she reminded them about the “power we have as individuals.”
She added, “Last year, when I was released from prison, I emerged into a world of hate and injustice. I traveled across the country. I saw immigrants, people of color, queer and trans folk under attack. I saw our most vulnerable communities living under a de facto military occupation of violent, heavily-armed police forces. I’ve seen what a military occupation looks like first-hand: I participated in the U.S. occupation of Iraq from 2009-2010.
Witnessing how scary and unjust the world has become drove me to run for U.S. Senate in my home state of Maryland,” she wrote.
“We started this campaign knowing it was a long-shot,” Manning wrote in her concession after the primary. “But, after spending hours and hours knocking on doors and making phone calls, I’m convinced that the change people truly need goes beyond what our corrupt two-party system is willing to offer.”
Back in May when her campaign wasn’t gaining any momentum, she was coming to the realization that she was far from ready for a national seat of any kind, but she blasted the current system and called for major change and activism.
Manning may be out of the running but this doesn’t mean that we’ve heard the last of her. She has been stating that her activism will not end. It is worth wondering aloud if the left which made her a cause célèbre during her incarceration and subsequent release will continue to support her.
Or will they dump her as they look for the next big cause it seems daily?