clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

DNC quotes Dumbledore, Hogwarts' rigger-in-chief, on election reform

New, 13 comments

Hillary for Azkaban

iMDB

If there’s a single theme in this year’s Democratic National Convention, it’s that there may be a rift between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters, but the party can still team up long enough to stop He Who Must Not Be Named — meaning, obviously, Voldemort. At least, that’s what I’m getting from Diane Russell, a Sanders delegate and Maine state representative who framed her speech at the convention around some advice from Harry Potter. "You know," she said, "Dumbledore from Harry Potter once said, 'It takes great courage to stand up to your enemies. It takes even greater courage to stand up to your friends.'"

While I’ve seen a few tweets mocking Russell for quoting a fictional character from a relatively recent children’s book in her speech, I’m happy to see more creative works move into our cultural lexicon. But let’s talk about why this is weird.

As Harry Potter fans likely know, this quote comes from the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book in the series. It’s Dumbledore’s praise for Neville Longbottom, who tried to stop Harry, Ron, and Hermione from breaking Hogwarts rules to save the titular Sorcerer’s Stone from Voldemort. Russell, meanwhile, has been leading an attempt to weaken the role of Democratic superdelegates — which Sanders has accused of unfairly tipping the nomination toward Clinton. So loosely, Sanders supporters are the underdog Neville, the establishment is Harry, and now they will unite against Voldermort, aka Trump.

Unfortunately, the quote’s larger context is one of the most blatantly rigged competitions in the history of fiction: the Hogwarts House Cup. If you can’t remember, this summary pretty much covers it, starting here:

In the face of an assumed Slytherin victory, Dumbledore upends the contest by awarding a surprise series of points to Harry, Ron, Hermione... and Neville, who gets 10 points for standing up to his friends and pushes Gryffindor just over the top.

Now, you may argue that all these points were a) awarded for saving the world from pure evil and b) compensation for Snape’s unfair targeting of Gryffindor earlier in the book. This does not change the fact that Russell is effectively quoting the ultimate superdelegate in her speech about reining in a non-transparent, top-down system that can override popular opinion.

Unless the actual argument is that Hillary Clinton is Slytherin, the alleged bias that DNC staffers have against Sanders is like Snape’s vendetta against Harry, and we need superdelegates like Dumbledore to step in and "feel the Bern." (Which, in fact, is more or less what Sanders was briefly suggesting toward the end of the primaries.)

Honestly, that would make a lot more sense. Plus, if you’re a Sanders supporter who wants criminal charges for Hillary, being a secret Death Eater is pretty good grounds for prosecution.