Day 287: Democracy Not Consultants

Whether it’s a part of the D.C. blame-passing/self-promoting industrial complex, an attempt to minimize one’s role in an ugly series of incidents or a genuine attempt at an apology is a subjective judgment call.

But Donna Brazile also came with facts in a scathing excerpt from an upcoming book she will be publishing about the 2016 election. She laid out how Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other top officials at the DNC ballooned the organization’s payroll to over $3.5 million per month, driving it deep into debt. The organization then privately signed a money sharing agreement with the Clinton campaign in August 2015, agreeing to Bain Capital level conditions where the DNC’s staffing decisions would be completely controlled by the Clinton campaign and it would effectively function as a slush fund for Hill and Bill. State parties got less than 1 percent of the funds raised by the organization at-large.

Brazile is not completely innocent in this culture of corruption. She passed Hillary Clinton a debate question in an email, which got her fired from CNN. But the acknowledgement of her error and the errors of so many other people is an important first step in cleaning up this mess.

This “mess” was a long time coming. President Obama ran the DNC the exact same way. I saw this first hand in 2012 when I worked for Tim Kaine. The Obama campaign routinely stole volunteers, didn’t coordinate efforts and hogged data. They didn’t care at all about down ballot Democrats.

It’s hard to say, although I doubt it will happen, if this sentiment will extend to the current people in charge of the DNC. Tom Perez came along after a group of old white bigots drummed up anti-Muslim sentiments about Keith Ellison and a craven group of over 400 DNC voting members gave into the fear and appointed Perez by a margin of just over 30 votes.

Not much has changed. The committee still has a serious money problem and an even bigger deficit of trust. The latter will be more difficult to earn back.

The Democrats need democracy and I think that will help them immensely. The DNC national chair should be elected by all registered Democrats. The same principles should be applied to chairs at the regional, state and local level. Every registered Democrat should get a vote on a final, fully transparent party budget, the same as many shareholders would get on executive compensation measures at companies. All nominating processes should be primaries.

Maybe if these measures are implemented the party can truly rebuild itself from the grassroots up.


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