Thomas Frank: The Fury Around Donna Brazile’s New Book Is Symptomatic Of Our Broken Politics


By Thomas Frank
The Guardian (12/20/17)

Donna Brazile has spent most of her life as a good soldier of the Democratic party, managing presidential campaigns, supporting the Clinton family, and (last year) stepping in to take over the Democratic National Committee after its chair was felled by scandal. But with the publication of her campaign memoir Hacks, this woman with a fondness for old-style cooking metaphors has finally succeeded in pissing off every last group on the country’s political spectrum.

Supporters of Bernie Sanders were furious last year when a hacked email revealed that Brazile, then a popular CNN commentator, had supplied a primary debate question in advance to Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump went at Brazile constantly during the 2016 campaign as a matter of partisan course. Now it is Clinton supporters and mainstream liberals who are heaping the abuse.

Brazile’s present offense is that her book reveals an arrangement between the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC that effectively gave the campaign control over the party apparatus well before Clinton became the party’s official presidential nominee in 2016. Brazile has given serious substantiation, in other words, to the charge that Sanders and his followers threw at the Democratic party through much of last year: that the process was rigged.

Spies and lies; technocrats and math; fake populism and bad algorithms. How far we have gone from the noble causes for which people like Donna Brazile once signed up.

Members of the punditburo blasted Sanders last year for suggesting such a thing; now they are blasting Brazile for confirming it. They vituperate even though what she and Sanders have said is, well, true.

Which is to say that the fury swirling around Donna Brazile is somehow symptomatic of our times. Since she had a front-row seat to everything that happened last year, her analysis and recollections of that volcanic election are valuable by definition. But what she has to tell us doesn’t fit easily into the simple moral framework that now guides all our thinkings on politics.

Truths that may not be uttered

For example. Donna Brazile wanted Hillary Clinton to be president and worked hard to achieve that result, but she also thinks Clinton and her team blundered repeatedly. This feels like common sense to me, but in the Republic of the Righteous it is a brain-stopping contradiction; it may not be uttered.

Brazile regards Donald Trump as an obvious scoundrel, yet she can also understand how he appealed to ordinary Americans in the deindustrialized states. Again, not a startling insight, really—but try saying it in the pages of any American prestige publication.

The reaction to her book, Brazile said when I phoned her this month, is as though she “had broken the holy grail of politics.”

“I don’t see why we can’t have two or three or four or five different versions of what happened in 2016,” she continued.

Her version seems pretty straightforward. …

Read the Rest

  • ‘Hacks’ Review: Donna Brazile Lifts Lid On Hillary & The Democrats’ Disaster – Twice in the past five presidential elections, the Democrats won the popular vote only to meet defeat in the electoral college. In 2000, a mere 537-vote deficit in Florida and the US supreme court stood between Al Gore and the White House. Sixteen years later, Hillary Clinton garnered a 2.86 million vote plurality, only to see her ambitions dashed in the Rust Belt. Both times, Donna Brazile was there, first as Gore’s campaign manager, then in 2016 as the interim chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Brazile most certainly has a story to tell … Read the Rest


  • Donna Brazile Tells Critics Of Her Hillary Clinton Revelations To ‘go to hell’ – The former Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile said on Sunday critics including nearly 100 members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign team could “go to hell”, and insisted she would tell her story of the 2016 election. Brazile’s new book, Hacks, has sparked controversy over its claim that the primary was weighted in favour of Clinton over Bernie Sanders and a passage in which she says she considered replacing Clinton with Joe Biden. … Read the Rest

For a really good insight on how the Democratic Party sold it’s soul and lost its way and could – if it gets back to its working class roots – come back to save America, read Thomas Frank’s latest book…