Tuesday, November 7, 2017

On Donna Brazile and "the Deal"

Of course, the downside of being an essayist of exceedingly moderate and highly localized renown is that I am oft beseeched to lend my Waterman pen in support or in opposition to one Howard County issue or another (without even the slightest hint of a promise of remuneration!).  So, my mailbox is jam-packed with entreaties to comment upon the wretched petit fascists swarming about in HoCo.  There will, rest assured, be time to discuss them and their ilk. But once again, this author feels compelled to offer thoughts on the national scene.

Of late, Donna Brazile has been excoriated (in many cases, rather ruthlessly and unfairly) for her book where she shared her thoughts on, amongst other issues, the Clinton 2016 presidential campaign and the DNC (insofar as those entities were “distinct”).  As a political operator and strategist, there is no disputing that she is top-flight.  Having enjoyed one of her earlier works, Cooking with Grease, I will most likely purchase her latest tome, Hacks.   

Frankly, I can’t fault the DNC for the arrangement they made with the Clinton campaign in 2015.  No matter how many Democrats supported Bernie (the current author being one of them), the good Senator from Vermont was not a Democrat.  That left the watery gruel that was O’Malley (clearly eyeing a Cabinet post or 2020), Chafee (clearly viewing Earth from Mars via Providence), Webb (clearly out of touch), and Lessig (clearly engaging in some form of performance art).  When you have a candidate who in 2015 (essentially) was the clear front-runner and likely eventual nominee, and who actually belonged to the party, that person is…well… primus inter pares comes to mind.

But, some may sputter, what about the supposed precious neutrality of the DNC?  While the image of the DNC as some sort of disinterested referee is quaint, it doesn’t square with the mission of electing Democrats to public office.  I still maintain that Senator Sanders would have been absolutely savaged by Trump and the Republicans in the General Election.  Possibly enough to lose the White House, and probably enough to burn the electoral dreams of many down-ticket Democrats.  Secretary Clinton, neoliberal that she is, and the Clinton campaign, as bland as it turned out to be, was the far safer bet for Democrats nationwide. 

So, arrangements were made; nothing illegal (unlike the allegations swirling around Trump, his family, and some of his top aides) and frankly, I am not having a ton of ethical issues with the deal, as I understand it.  I find it helpful to learn the rules of the game before playing it (a lesson forgotten by Clinton ’08 when it came to delegate math) and clearly, Clinton ’16 had the primary campaign rules all sorted out. 

With so much “righteous” indignation coming from the Republicans over this tempest in a Diet Coke can, I wonder if those Democrats offended by the deal are wondering why they have all of these new-found allies on the right…and who really stands to benefit from stoking the ashes of this “controversy.”

In solidarity.


  1. I have a slightly different view of Donna Brazile and her book revealing or seeming to reveal the machinations of the DNC during the 2016 presidential nomination campaign. I don't really know a whole lot about her and didn't have a favorite between the two prime contenders for the Democratic Party nomination for president. Both of the latter were acceptable to me and I considered one to be better on some issues and the other to be better on another important issue. To the extent that Brazile contributed to the perception that the DNC acted in such a way as to favor any particular candidate, I consider it highly unfortunate. The DNC members, like Central Committee members, have a right to individually support the candidates of their choice. The DNC as a group, I believe, shouldn't be doing that. Instead, they should be ensuring that the process is fair to all who seek to win the party's nomination. (By the way, I couldn't care less that Sanders would rather call himself an independent Socialist than a Democrat. He would have absolutely ensured a Republican presidential victory if he had run as anything other than a Democrat and party people should be happy about his choice on that and that he, at least, gave some degree of support to the party's nominee after the fact.) I favor elimination of super-delegates from the nomination process as a major way of eliminating the process of rigging. However, I condemn Brazile for writing a book (obviously for profit) that reveals any secrets that do not have to be revealed to the general public and for thus needlessly stoking the pot on a matter that needs less stoking if the party is to have better success in the future. Some corrections are needed, but most attention, I contend, needs to be more focused on unity for success in future elections.

    1. I believe that the super delegates were created to offset the possibility that some "populist' wacko would take advantage of the undemocratic caucus process.

    2. Hi Ken, thoughtful comments as always. Turning to the systemic fixes, on the whole, I agree with ending Super-Delegates. One could make a stronger case for them if more states switched to open primaries, but the optics for their retention in any form aren't great.