There are no earth-shattering revelations in the excerpt of Donna Brazile’s new book published today by Politico, but it’s a stunning document nonetheless: a longtime member of the Democratic Party faithful finally selling off her worthless stock in Hillary Clinton once and for all.
You can draw your own conclusions about Brazile’s slouching toward atonement at this late hour. The most naive will hail it as bravery, while others will say she’s simply politically savvy enough to know which way the wind is blowing. Whatever the case, it would have been unthinkable just two years ago.
As you’ve likely already read, Brazile, who became interim chair of the Democratic National Committee after Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned, talks about how she uncovered a pernicious fundraising deal between Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the DNC shortly after she took up her post. The Joint Fundraising Agreement, which Brazile repeatedly calls a “cancer” infecting the party, yielded significant power over the DNC’s governance to the Clinton campaign, subverting the body which was supposed to neutrally allow the primary between Clinton and Bernie Sanders to play out.
“The funding arrangement with HFA and the victory fund agreement was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical,” Brazile writes. “If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity.”
Brazile also notes—but doesn’t delve into—that Barack Obama had left the DNC hollowed-out and destitute, thus creating the space for this “unethical”deal.
In florid prose, Brazile also describes lighting candles and playing gospel music to chill out before calling Sanders to deliver the news that the entire process was indeed stacked against him from the start:
I had to keep my promise to Bernie. I was in agony as I dialed him. Keeping this secret was against everything that I stood for, all that I valued as a woman and as a public servant.
‘Hello, senator. I’ve completed my review of the DNC and I did find the cancer,’ I said. ‘But I will not kill the patient.’
Much of this has been reported before. Just months after Sanders entered the race in late April 2015, Politico itself reported on the Clinton campaign signing the fundraising agreement with the DNC. As Clinton gallantly promised to “rebuild our party from the ground up,” it was reported that the fundraising arrangement swept the vast majority of money raised back to the DNC after a slight-of-hand akin to money laundering. Hell, Brazile only got the job as interim chair because stolen emails published by Wikileaks clearly showed Wasserman Schultz conspiring to sink Sanders’ resurgent campaign.
All this time, Hillary diehards and process-loving DNC party faithful have demanded that jilted Sanders supporters shut the hell up because he could never have won, as if having nearly total control over the party’s messaging, strategy, communications, and purse strings wasn’t enormously important in tying up the nomination for Clinton. In the wake of Brazile’s piece, they’re still whirring away, downplaying the admission from one of their own, same as it ever was. It’s enough to make a reasonable person wonder whether, based on how well Sanders was able to perform even with the entire weight of the Democrats’ party machinery grinding against him, whether he could’ve won had the race been fair. Unfortunately, we’ll never know for sure.
But one thing is certain: There could be no clearer sign that anyone left over from the Clintonite DNC days needs to be driven from the party if it wants a chance in hell of beating Trump in 2020 (to say nothing of the 2018 midterms). Brazile offers us an insider look of an impoverished party—one whose current leaders are struggling to beef up its impoverished messaging. The party’s ineptitude handed the country to Trump in 2016. If it doesn’t change direction fast, it’s all too likely to happen again.