Shocking new allegations from Donna Brazile, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), have sent ripples through the Democratic Party. When Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination for president in July, many supporters of Bernie Sanders and transparent democracy saw something suspicious. Most notably, Black Lives Matter and the Green Party took to the streets of Philadelphia in protest of Clinton’s nomination and the wider political-economic order that allows those with the most political capital to hand-pick our leaders. Inside the Democratic convention, Clinton preached unity; but a quick look on the streets showed that the American left was more divided than ever and that the leaders of the Party were completely out of touch with the people. These protests were not necessarily insinuating that the DNC was rigged, but that the political processes in our country have always been geared to prevent the amount of change required to upset current power structures. Donna Brazile’s recent tell-all, however, shows that the DNC was in fact rigged by Clinton and her campaign team.
Over the course of his presidency, Barack Obama built a $24 million debt for the DNC. Obama was paying off that debt very slowly, and was not scheduled to have it fully paid off until 2016. The Democratic Party was broke. In August 2015, Clinton’s campaign team (Hillary for America) struck a joint fundraising agreement called the Hillary Victory Fund which gave Clinton nearly complete control over the DNC. The fund immediately stepped in to cover roughly $10 million of Obama’s debt. Individuals who gave the max contribution to the DNC could give an additional sum of money to the Hillary Victory Fund. That sum would first go into state campaigns, but then be transferred into the DNC if it did not go to a battleground state. The DNC would then funnel that money back to Clinton’s team in Brooklyn, giving Team Hillary an immense amount of authority over DNC finances.
To be clear, what Clinton did is not illegal. Political parties are private entities and they can more or less do anything they want. If it was not for the Hillary Victory Fund, the Democratic Party would have collapsed under debt. Intriguingly, centrist Democrats have been obsessed with possible collusion and hacking between Russia and Donald Trump for the past year, but the real corruption happened right under their own noses. Not to dismiss possible connections between Trump and Russia, but after nearly a year, those connections are still just possibilities. We are yet to find any facts that the Kremlin and Trump worked hand-in-hand to attack our democracy. Recent indictments of Paul Manafort and George Papadopoulos may bring us closer to those facts, but we still do not have any concrete evidence that Russia attacked our election. Brazile’s account of the DNC in 2016 is clear evidence of corruption.
Collusion between Russia and Trump has been Hillary Clinton’s scapegoat for losing an election she should have won by a mile. Of course, after Brazile’s tell all was published in Politico, Hillary for America quickly responded by accusing Brazile of falling to Russian propaganda. The truth is that Clinton was an extremely flawed candidate. She needed to commandeer the DNC to defeat Bernie Sanders. She tried to beat Donald Trump by just not being Donald Trump. She was the stable and rational candidate, but she was also the candidate who was accomplice to thousands of deaths by drones under the Obama administration. She was our first woman candidate, but was she a feminist? I have no authority to say who is or is not a feminist, but, from an intersectional approach, I find it hard to believe that Clinton held feminist values.
More important than the flaws Clinton had as a candidate are the flaws that the Democratic Party has. The power that Clinton was able to wield over the Party is an assault on democracy: an assault that may very well have left Bernie Sanders in the dust. If you are as frustrated as I am with American politics, I leave you with this advice: join the Green Party.