Politics to Go

This isn’t a Democratic civil war, it’s a coup d’etat


Over the past week the contents of the new book “Hacks,” written by former interim DNC Chair Donna Brazile, has been in the headlines. Some commentators claimed Brazile’s tome is part of a Democratic Party civil war between the left and the extreme left, but they are wrong. “Hacks” represents a coup d’etat, an overthrow of the Clinton machine which has basically ruled the party since Bill Clinton became president in 1993. In 2012, when Obama was trailing in his re-election bid, he turned to former President Clinton for help, both in the campaign and in raising money.

Since her election loss, Hillary Clinton has been constantly trying to explain all the reasons she lost the election (my latest count is 30 excuses). Along with her blame game, at times Clinton has hinted she might run again in 2020. By drawing the coverage, she’s been squeezing out other Democrats from receiving coverage.

Enter Donna Brazile.

If Hillary Clinton’s book is named, “What Happened,” Brazile’s book could have been titled “What Really Happened.” Brazile is a long-time Democratic Party operative who twice served as interim chairman of the party. She wouldn’t have written a book bashing Hillary Clinton, if she wasn’t trying to free the party from the grasp of the Clinton machine.

The book is a perfect example of passive-aggressive. One sentence describes how much she wanted Hillary to win, then she calls the campaign unethical or incompetent.

Brazile’s revelation gave weight to Bernie Sanders’ claim that he was cheated out of the nomination. Brazile describes how the party made a deal with the devil — an “unethical” deal that “compromised the party’s integrity” — and gave Hillary an unfair advantage over Sanders.

President Obama left the party $24 million in debt after the 2012 campaign and had been paying that off very slowly. Brazile claimed the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America signed a secret agreement that said that in exchange for the Hillary campaign raising money to help make the party solvent, Hillary would control the party’s personnel, finances, strategy, and all the money raised. A candidate usually takes over the party once they win the nomination, but this occurred a year prior, which meant that party decisions made by the Clintons, helped the Clintons.

“Hacks” describes the incompetence of the Clinton effort.

As reported in the Washington Post: “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 also threw down the race card. Actually, she didn’t just throw it down, she tossed it with so much power it must have cracked the imaginary floor:

“As one of her party’s most prominent black strategists, Brazile also recounts fiery disagreements with Clinton’s staffers — including a conference call in which she told three senior campaign officials, Charlie Baker, Marlon Marshall and Dennis Cheng, that she was being treated like a slave.”

‘I’m not Patsey the slave,‘ Brazile recalls telling them, a reference to the character played by Lupita Nyong’o in the film, ‘12 Years a Slave.’ ‘Y’all keep whipping me and whipping me and you never give me any money or any way to do my damn job. I am not going to be your whipping girl’!”

That claim had to hurt more than the others. Hillary Clinton, indeed the entire Clinton machine, always claimed to be in touch with the needs of minorities. But Brazile is the most senior African-American in the Democratic Party and she is saying that team Hillary had a plantation mentality.

Brazile’s other criticism included that the campaign’s strategists were too obsessed with research and never bothered to go into the field to ask voters what they really wanted. She added that the campaign acted as if Hillary had the election in the bag.

The Post article continued: “As she traveled the country, Brazile wrote, she detected an alarming lack of enthusiasm for Clinton. On black radio stations, few people defended the nominee. In Hispanic neighborhoods, the only Clinton signs she saw were at the campaign field offices.

“But at headquarters in New York, the mood was one of ‘self-satisfaction and inevitability,’ and Brazile’s early reports of trouble were dismissed with ‘a condescending tone’.”

Keep in mind that one of the reasons Clinton lost was that the black and Hispanic communities didn’t come out and vote for her.

Brazile has been a major Democratic Party operative since 1988, serving as field director for the Dukakis campaign, adviser to Bill Clinton’s two presidential campaigns and campaign manager for Al Gore, before becoming part of the party apparatus after the 2000 election.

The revelations in “Hacks” raises the question, why would someone who loyally served the party for three decades suddenly reveal the party’s dirty laundry in public? We are talking about a woman so loyal that she lost her CNN job for passing along possible debate questions to Hillary Clinton so she could be well prepared.

Politics is a cruel business. When it’s time to retire there’s no gold watch, no set of golf clubs and being told to go on your merry way. When someone in politics doesn’t realize it’s time to go, they are told publicly their day has passed. That’s what is behind “Hacks.”

Just as she did by passing along the debate questions, or as she did in 1988 when she lost her job with the Dukakis campaign after telling reporters that George H. W. Bush needed to “fess up” about unsubstantiated rumors of an extramarital affair, Brazile is again taking personal heat to serve the interests of her party.

One year before the 2020 Democratic party presidential wannabes start emerging from the shadows, Brazile is leading a coup, making sure the Clinton machine is retired, that Hillary never tries a comeback, never again runs for president. Freeing up the party for new blood.