Chelsea Manning is mounting an insurgent run in the Maryland race for the U.S. Senate, a remarkable turn of events for a transgender activist and former Army intelligence analyst who until last year was in prison for leaking government secrets to Wikileaks.
Manning, who had the remaining 28 years on her 35-year sentence commuted by President Obama, has entered a packed Democratic field in an attempt to unseat incumbent Senator Ben Cardin, a 74-year-old Maryland Democrat who is seeking his third Senate term and previously served 10 terms in the U.S. House. Manning says she doesn’t even consider herself a Democrat, but that she wants to combat the “rise of authoritarianism” and send a message to establishment politicians whom she feels have been “caving in” to Donald Trump’s administration.
“Authoritarianism,” she told The Associated Press, “is encroaching in every aspect of life, whether it’s government or corporate or technological.” In order to combat that and what she considers disturbing trends of “mass-incarceration and mass-surveillance,” Manning has unveiled an unconventional platform that includes proposals to close numerous prisons, provide universal health care and basic income, and to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — a federal agency that Manning has warned could be used to enact “ethnic cleansing.”
Manning, then known as Bradley, was imprisoned in 2010 after admitting to having leaked more than 700,000 military and State Department documents — an action she justified by saying that the American people deserved to be aware of the extent to which the government was spying on them through advanced surveillance technologies. While in prison, she admitted to struggling with gender identity and eventually successfully fought the government to be allowed to undergo gender conversion therapy. According to experts, she is unlikely to win the Democratic primary — but even if she doesn’t, her presence alone could send a powerful message.
Watch video of Manning’s interview with The Associated Press below.
Read the full story at The Associated Press.