Much is published on a daily basis about how the GOP is crumbling from within, how different factions for or against (and sometimes for AND against) President Donald Trump and his agenda are positioned for a civil war that will crush them in the 2018 primaries. Some of this is true. It sometimes seems like the only thing that can keep them from losing next year is that the Democrats are falling apart as well.
Today, former interim-DNC chair Donna Brazile wrote a scathing confession of sorts on Politico:
“Wait,” I said. “That victory fund was supposed to be for whoever was the nominee, and the state party races. You’re telling me that Hillary has been controlling it since before she got the nomination?”
Gary said the campaign had to do it or the party would collapse.
“That was the deal that Robby struck with Debbie,” he explained, referring to campaign manager Robby Mook. “It was to sustain the DNC. We sent the party nearly $20 million from September until the convention, and more to prepare for the election.”
“What’s the burn rate, Gary?” I asked. “How much money do we need every month to fund the party?”
The burn rate was $3.5 million to $4 million a month, he said.
I gasped. I had a pretty good sense of the DNC’s operations after having served as interim chair five years earlier. Back then the monthly expenses were half that. What had happened? The party chair usually shrinks the staff between presidential election campaigns, but Debbie had chosen not to do that. She had stuck lots of consultants on the DNC payroll, and Obama’s consultants were being financed by the DNC, too.
She says she gasped and I’m sure she quite literally did. Now, let’s set aside that her righteous indignation over the whole ordeal was held back until nearly a year after the election. The political world is rife with secrets and while I’m not a fan of Brazile or her actions, I can understand why she decided to wait. The important thing here is that she opened up the floodgates for strife within the party. This isn’t necessarily new; there has been strife since Clinton won the nomination and it only grew when she lost the general election. What Brazile’s article does is give a public boogeyman upon which disgruntled Democrats can channel their anger.
They will lose a lot more than elections if they can’t get a handle on all of this. There are likely millions of disillusioned Democrats who now have proof their party is corrupt, irresponsible, and fiscally incompetent. What now?
Some, particularly pro-life Democrats, are joining the Federalist Party. While limited-government federalism might not seem like a natural fit, many are starting to realize that putting so much power in DC’s incompetent hands is a mistake.
Others are trying to figure out how to mitigate the damage. The easiest path would be to vilify Clinton, but they’re very unlikely to do that. She controls too many money spouts for the party to publicly disavow her. That leaves two minor targets who will be put up as sacrificial lambs in the coming days: Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook and former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. They were the ones who allegedly struck the deal that put the Clinton campaign essentially in charge of the DNC in August, 2015. They can be cast off the island and to let the healing process begin.
At least, that’s what they hope. It won’t work.
Bernie Sanders supporters won’t have it and they’re the fastest-growing segment of the Democratic Party. The push to the left that’s calling for Medicare-for-All and socialism are quickly becoming the most important block of voters to keep. If they don’t come out heavily in 2018, the Democrats won’t make a dent in the GOP majorities.
They won’t be placated until Hillary and other “old school” Democrats have their power drained.
As David French notes at National Review:
But to cross that last line means dismounting from the moral high horse. It means acknowledging a comprehensive and terrible mistake. The Democratic machine united from the beginning of the campaign — even straining ethics and integrity (Brazile’s words) — to foist a fundamentally corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent politician on the American body politic. Liberal pundits scold the Republican establishment for “not doing enough” to stop Trump. They call out GOP politicians for “cowardice,” and sometimes the critiques are fair. But is cowardice worse than complicity?
Conservatives have been fighting vicious, public battles over everything from character and integrity to political tactics and strategy. The media have been eager to cover this “Republican civil war.” But the Democrats unquestionably need to fight a war of their own. They need to have their own honest debate, and it cannot truly begin until they take off their rose-colored glasses and see clearly for the first time the candidate they presented to America.
French rightly points out that they will not be able to unite as a party until they accept Clinton’s shortcomings for what they are. She didn’t just lose. She created the circumstances that enabled Donald Trump to win while negating any chance that the Democrats could take the Senate. She, and to some extent Barack Obama, are the real culprits in the downfall of the Democratic Party.
One might wonder why I would give “advice” to the Democrats. I’m not. They won’t listen. They’ll continue down the same destructive path, never disavowing Clinton nor scolding Obama for their sins. They can’t. Both have been propped up too high by the DNC. All they can do is wait out the storm and hope the Republicans are worse than expected.