Join the Club – The Democratic National Committee and Bernie Sanders
In a world where it feels like every news item NOT related to Trump and Russia is a distraction, former Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile did us no favors this week. Her new book, “Hacks,” goes after the Hillary Clinton campaign for making an “unethical” deal with the Democratic National Committee prior to the 2016 Democratic Convention.
Brazile, the Gore Campaign manager from 2000, was brought in as interim Chairman just prior to the Democratic Convention in 2016. This was after the Russian hack through Wikileaks revealed that former Chairman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was demonstrably in the Hillary Clinton camp during the primary campaign against Bernie Sanders. Brazile was the Vice Chairman of the DNC prior to her elevation.
She made it clear that there was nothing “illegal” about the deal between the Clinton campaign and the DNC, and that in fact, the Sanders campaign had a similar deal. What Brazile felt was “unethical” was that the DNC, at one point almost broke, ceded a great deal of financial control to the Clinton campaign in return for Hillary fundraising for them. Brazile felt this “weighted” the DNC to Clinton over Sanders, who raised much less money for the Committee.
She’s right. The DNC was weighted for Clinton. And while Bernie’s supporters probably won’t like hearing it, they should have been.
Senator Sanders to this day is NOT a member of the Democratic Party. He wears his “Independent” label as a badge of honor, claiming loyalty to his ideals and his supporters, not to a political structure. He entered the Democratic primaries as an insurgent, running against the system. Why is anybody surprised or angered that the “system” he was running against, the party he still refuses to join, was slanted against him?
And yet the party went through the motions of treating him as an equal, signing the same agreement with him as with Clinton. And while Clinton DID receive a lot more for her agreement, Clinton DID raise an enormous amount of money for the DNC, keeping them from being irrelevant.
Many of today’s “resistors” believe that the Republican party should have rejected Trump as being unfit for office. They blame Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Reince Preibus and the other leaders for allowing the party to fall into Trump’s trap. The DNC also made some judgments about the candidates, and while Sanders showed well in the primaries, he was (and is) clearly unelectable in a general Presidential election. No one, including Clinton, went after Sanders in a major negative way; no one attacked the man who claims to be a Socialist.
Clinton didn’t because she knew that the Sanders supporters would eventually have to come to her aid in the general election. And while many did, others, angered by the perceived unfairness of the DNC, or by the constant irritation of social media trolling (some Russian) stayed home. Hard to say what effect that had on the final outcome.
Senator Elizabeth Warren stated the primaries were “rigged” against Sanders in an interview this week. While the vote totals clearly were not, to say that the Democratic Party was unbiased in the election simply wouldn’t be true. The word “rigged” implies that the outcome was fixed, which is also not true. And while we need to look and see if the voting in places like Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania were in fact “rigged” in the general election, Warren is looking to her own future with the “Bernie” supporters by her comments.
If Sanders expects fairness from the structure he’s campaigning against, then he is truly naïve. If he wants to be a Democrat – then join the club.