Clinton-DNC deal Donna Brazile

Some Clinton/DNC loyalists hope to discredit Donna Brazile with a memo on the Clinton-DNC deal released by NBC.  However, the memo doesn’t really prove Brazile wrong, as Richard Wagner explains.

Donna Brazile has drawn significant attention this week to the DNC’s partiality towards candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 DNC nomination.  Brazile hasn’t really added any new information.  Bernie Sanders supporters and others have known all along that the DNC favored Hillary Clinton, and that the DNC has largely fallen under the control of the Clinton machine.  

However, Brazile’s coming out is significant, as she was an Interim Chair of the DNC and worked closely with Clinton, even sneaking Hillary Clinton a debate question of ahead of a Primary debate.  Hence, Brazile herself is of the establishment.

Brazile explains her reasons for supporting Clinton despite the DNC’s unethical behavior.  Like many solid Democrats, she supported Clinton and persuaded Bernie Sanders to do the same because she felt that stopping Trump was far more important.  

Now that this is a moot point, she is revealing information that she’d previously kept confidential between her and Sanders.

This has caused an explosive reaction from progressives. Brazile’s Politico article has swept social media.  Tulsi Gabbard has issued a video response calling for substantial reforms to the DNC.  Elizabeth Warren has also called for reforms to the DNC in an interview with CNN.  

Brazile’s Claims and the Memo on Clinton-DNC Deal

A recent article on NBC’s website adds some context to this situation.  The article, titled “Memo Reveals Details of Hillary Clinton-DNC Deal,” is about as bold as the title.  It seems to be attempting to mitigate the situation but doesn’t really refute Brazile’s “explosive claims”.  (The Full Memo can be read here )

Brazile’s strongest claim is that while it is normal for the party to fall under the leadership of a presidential nominee, this normally happens after the nomination.  In 2015, however, the DNC fell under Clinton’s leadership long before the nomination.

As evidence for this claim, Brazile showed how part of the fundraising deal required the DNC to hire a communications director that was acceptable to “Hillary For America” (HFA).  

The memo on Clinton-DNC Deal, however, shows that the DNC was given two choices from HFA, and was able to make the final choice from those two.  While this is noteworthy, it hardly undermines Brazile’s main point that the Clinton’s were given significant control over the DNC long before the nomination.  

Brazile also explained how the Clinton machine took control of the DNC.

The DNC was in deep financial trouble, and Clinton offered to bail them out.  That was how the deal was made.  Clinton, via HFA, would fundraise the party back into solvency, and in exchange would have far more say over whom the party hires and how the money is spent.  

The memo on Clinton-DNC Deal, however, shows that the DNC was open to making similar arrangements with the other candidates (Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb, Martin O’Malley, and Lincoln Chaffee).  Again, this is noteworthy, but hardly undermines Brazile’s claim.  As Clinton was the most well-established candidate, she was well ahead of the other candidates on fundraising by mid-2015.  None of the other four candidates were in any condition to bail out the DNC.

Sanders was the runner-up candidate, relying mostly on grassroots funding.  The other three candidates struggled in the low single digits of projection polls and were in little shape to fundraise for themselves, much less the DNC.

The NBC’s obtained memo also seems to suggest that the DNC would only favor Clinton in the General Election, not the nomination.  

Nothing in this agreement shall be construed to violate the DNC’s obligation of impartiality and neutrality through the Nominating process. All activities performed under this agreement will be focused exclusively on preparations for the General Election and not the Democratic Primary,” the memo states.  

Yes, this was indeed in the memo.  However, it has proven to be irrelevant.  During the trial on alleged DNC fraud during the 2016 nomination process, the DNC asserted that they are not obligated to abide by this.  Represented by Bruce Spiva in court, Spiva made it very clear:

“The party has the freedom of association to decide how it’s gonna select its representatives to the convention and to the state party…Even to define what constitutes evenhandedness and impartiality really would already drag the court well into a political question and a question of how the party runs its own affairs. The party could have favored a candidate. I’ll put it that way.”

The federal judge agreed at least to the extent that voters had no standing in court, and that this issue should be resolved at the ballot box, not the courtroom.  Hence, there was no denial that the DNC favored Hillary Clinton, and it was shown that the DNC can pledge to be neutral and violate that pledge, and not be legally bound by their own words.  Hence, this statement in the memo is now a moot point, and in no way undermines Brazile’s position.

Should you read the Memo on the Clinton-DNC Deal?

The memo is worth reading simply for the sake of context, but it in no way contradicts Donna Brazile’s claims. Brazile is publishing a book to be released on Nov. 7th, “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House.”  

Donna Brazile’s book may provide invaluable information on the level of unethical behavior within the DNC, and how the Clintons’ hold on the party is causing it to lose elections at every level of government to an almost equally unpopular party.

We’ll fully understand the merits of Brazile’s claims after the book is released and reviewed.  So far, Brazile seems to have her facts straight, and if the DNC really wants to become a winning party again, they should listen to her, rather than going the way of Trump and “counter-punching” Donna Brazile.

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Richard Wagner is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He conducts independent study on the American conservative movement and foreign policy. When he is...

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