By Robert A. Vella
Normally, I stay away from scandalous tell-all statements by former political insiders on this blog. Most of the time, these ex-officials are just trying to sell a book or to exact revenge on someone they feel had wronged them during the course of their duties. Furthermore, I consider them as cowardly because they didn’t speak out when doing so could have done the most good – at the time when the scandals occurred.
But, I’ll make an exception in this case because the revelations by former DNC chairperson Donna Brazile are so profound. Not only did the Democratic Party inflict a mortal wound upon itself through stubbornness, carelessness, and corruption, it irresponsibly left the door to the White House wide open for someone totally unfit to be President – Donald Trump.
When Wikileaks published the Russian-hacked DNC emails which exposed collusion by party leaders to assist Hillary Clinton’s campaign in her bid to defeat progressive populist Bernie Sanders for the nomination, then-chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned in disgrace and Brazile was selected to replace her just prior to the party convention. According to Brazile, she strongly considered a bold move after she discovered the nature of the corruption and after Clinton’s health became an election issue.
In an explosive new memoir, Brazile details widespread dysfunction and dissension throughout the Democratic Party, including secret deliberations over using her powers as interim DNC chair to initiate the process of removing Clinton and running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) from the ticket after Clinton’s Sept. 11, 2016, collapse in New York City.
Brazile writes that she considered a dozen combinations to replace the nominees and settled on Biden and Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), the duo she felt most certain would win over enough working-class voters to defeat Republican Donald Trump. But then, she writes, “I thought of Hillary, and all the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her. I could not do this to them.”
Brazile paints a scathing portrait of Clinton as a well-intentioned, historic candidate whose campaign was badly mismanaged, took minority constituencies for granted and made blunders with “stiff” and “stupid” messages. The campaign was so lacking in passion for the candidate, she writes, that its New York headquarters felt like a sterile hospital ward where “someone had died.”
Brazile writes that she was haunted by the still-unsolved murder of DNC data staffer Seth Rich and feared for her own life, shutting the blinds to her office window so snipers could not see her and installing surveillance cameras at her home. She wonders whether Russians had placed a listening device in plants in the DNC executive suite.
At first, Brazile writes of the hacking, top Democratic officials were “encouraging us not to talk about it.” But she says a wake-up moment came when she visited the White House in August 2016, for President Obama’s 55th birthday party. National security adviser Susan E. Rice and former attorney general Eric Holder separately pulled her aside to urge her to take the Russian hacking seriously, which she did, she writes.
“Again and again I thought about Joe Biden,” Brazile writes. But, she adds, “No matter my doubts and my fears about the election and Hillary as a candidate, I could not make good on that threat to replace her.”
Brazile writes that she inherited a national party in disarray, in part because President Obama, Clinton and Wasserman Schultz were “three titanic egos” who had “stripped the party to a shell for their own purposes.”