• Daniel Ethan Finneran

Brazile Breaks Down The DNC

November 2017

I’ve mused more than once on this blog (I still blush to call it a “site”) about loyalty and the longevity it deserves. It’s become a recurrent theme for me—albeit one I only reluctantly raise. For how long, I once asked, must we remain loyal to lost causes? It’s a finite resource, our loyalty is, and like any other thing whose essence is its brief existence, it risks exhaustion. While this year has been one of incredible novelty (with political volte-faces concentrated at the highest levels of government and vertiginous cultural confrontations all around), it’s also been one of remarkable redundancy. Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign—that past, present, and presumably future infatuation from which the Democrats cannot be moved—is once again the topic tickling everyone’s lips.

As such, I’m compelled to raise again the aforementioned question. I first posed it months ago, after Ms. Clinton wiggled her way back into a public conversation that had hesitantly moved beyond her. She published her cathartic and cautionary tale entitled, What Happened? and, in doing so, forced Liberals to relive her loss. She was and is the lost cause from which Democrats appear unable to separate. The fact that Liberals continue to cogitate the matter, as though the urgencies of the here-and-now are somehow insufficiently stimulating, remains bewildering to me. Nevertheless, Clinton’s ill-fated and misconceived campaign is like a scab whose irrepressible itch always requires a scratch. She ripped open the Democratic Party’s 2016 cicatrix; many unfettered fingers will follow. And now, with the release of Donna Brazile’s new book, the wounds of the bleeding Liberal might not ever fully heal.

Brazile, you’ll recall, was the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, or DNC. Her accession to the role was a matter of political exigency rather than popularity. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the curly-haired Florida congresswoman, had just been ousted from the organization’s leadership role. Schultz served as the DNC’s chairwoman from 2011 (after succeeding vice presidential nominee and Virginia senator, Tim Kaine, who himself served as the Democratic Party’s head for two years) until 2016, when she was booted from the position ignominiously.

It was then that WikiLeaks intervened to throw a wrench in Clinton and Schultz’s operation. After hacking into the DNC’s servers, WikiLeaks disseminated a trove of damning documents. The documents, most of which were e-mail correspondences between Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta and Ms. Schultz, solidified without a doubt that the swirling speculations about the committee’s alleged corruption were true. Said suspicions were that Clinton would, if not by overt corruption than by subtle machination, be the party’s presidential nominee.

If only the unexposed strings were pulled more adroitly and inconspicuously from above, the plan might have succeeded. But the WikiLeaks release deemed it otherwise and Shultz was done. Her implication was undeniable. The e-mails revealed that Schultz, who was put in place to be the committee’s impartial and disinterested executive, was operating completely at Clinton’s behest. Schultz scheduled debates between Clinton and Vermont’s “Independent” Senator and presidential primary candidate, Bernie Sanders at disadvantageous times. While the GOP’s debates demanded primetime audiences on Saturday nights, Schultz and her team opted for times when viewership would be comparably low. She temporarily shut down Sanders’ access to the DNC servers (yes, those same servers WikiLeaks so easily infiltrated—which makes me think about what might have been avoided if the Sanders camp committed itself to employing Russian technology as opposed to silly notions of a Westernized, Socialist-Soviet-style economy), which significantly impeded Sanders’ side during the hotly contested campaign. Schultz also alleged violence from Sanders’ supporters in Nevada, which was a scurrilous and unsubstantiated thing to say.

In light of this, Schultz was forced to step down. She did so unwillingly, though, I might add. A vote of “no confidence” was needed from the very top to ultimately send her on her way. This came by way of President Obama, who personally called and implored her, that for the good of the party (which you’ll soon see is an ironical thing for Obama to say) she had to resign. Alas, resign she did, and Brazile took her place until just this past summer.

Brazile, sensing herself sufficiently displaced from the disastrous DNC, has now released her own tell-all book. Its title is Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that put Donald trump in the White House. Normally, a subtitle’s verbosity signals to me exactly what the story lacks. The more words, the more desperate the author appears to convey something on a crowded, word-infested cover, but it’s what she and her publishers chose.

The book does many things: it re-kindles old flames, it iterates things known, and most interestingly, it reveals provocative pieces of information that might have remained obscured. Among the more intriguing excerpts, Brazile described in detail that DNC was far from a financially secure entity. To the contrary, an organization proud to be blue was very much in the red after Obama’s two terms. Brazile revealed that Obama’s tenure had left the DNC nearly twenty-five million dollars in debt. She writes that he had “stripped the party to a shell” for his own egotistical purposes. By any calculation, that’s a daunting hole to fill after only eight years. But, at the very least, Brazile’s is an entirely believable claim (and the financial books will likely back it up). It’s nothing short of idiosyncratic, however, when you consider the fact that Obama ballooned America’s national debt by nearly eight trillion dollars in his eight years. Among previous presidents, he had a unique propensity for the accumulation of debt.

Being that the DNC faced this menacing debt, it sought a convenient creditor (perhaps this is also why, in part, Schultz removed the DNC’s proscription on PAC and corporate donations to the party, a prohibition President Obama pushed for). Arriving to unburden the party of its economic woes was Hillary Clinton. Sure, her intervention ensured the party’s short-term survival, but in contracting with Clinton, the DNC sold its soul and its impartiality. Attached to the funding, which was far from munificent for munificence’s sake, was an expectation that the party would support her without condition. Brazile shows us that this sort of support is precisely what Clinton in turn received. A fair shake for Sanders was inconceivable from the start, before he took a single step onto a debate stage.

It’s obvious to see how this relationship biased the party (whether they are willing to admit it or not), sullied the democratic process, and made Clinton a victor, but as such, one lacking legitimacy. By bankrolling the DNC since 2015, these conclusions were pre-ordained.

“Go to hell”, says Brazile to those Democrats who would rather this tale be buried. I’ll continue along her lines of an infernal fall by saying that it’s Bernie Sanders who’ll arise from the flames she’s set upon the party. He’s the hero in this tale. After revealing to Sanders the scope of the institutional inequity brought upon his fated campaign, he acted admirably as a stolid soldier and fell silently on his sword. He took on the chin the knowledge that the system was set against him from the start and that he never really had a fighting chance. He could’ve inveighed about impropriety or clamored about conspiracies, but he chose instead to put his support behind Ms. Clinton. He swallowed hard while knowing that he’d been had. In a society forever seeking scapegoats, he never attributed the clearly corrupted DNC for his campaign’s shortcomings. Love or hate his policies, this deserves a tip of the hat.

For that, the party is his. He adds to his already overwhelming popularity (amongst millennials and ethnically diverse segments of the Left) a well-won sympathy. Previously, Sanders could only console himself with the former. Now, he may soon become president with the latter.

Brazile’s book is revelatory, and it might be the final coup de grâce that distances Democrats from Hillary. So much the better (for them) if they do. But their history and obstinacy is against them. Such is the nature of a party whose symbol is the donkey; recalcitrance and a distinct inability to forget are in their DNA. They’re prone to making the same mistakes again.

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