When former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned in embarrassment after Wikileaks released emails that confirmed she helped Hillary Clinton’s campaign throughout the Democratic primaries, DNC Vice-Chair Donna Brazile took her chairmanship. But, like Wasserman Schultz, Brazile is a loyal Clinton surrogate, and her bias caught up to her later in the 2016 elections.
Before the primaries began, Brazile told the Washington Post that she would be rooting for Clinton, thereby violating Section 5 Article 4 of the DNC Charter, which demands neutrality from all DNC staff. She was later fired from CNN after Wikileaks released emails from Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta that revealed Brazile had helped Clinton cheat by giving her the exact wordings of two difficult questions in a CNN debate. The Clinton campaign cited Brazile as a surrogate; she offered the campaign additional advice and tipped them off to a social media strategy that Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign was employing. Despite Brazile’s overt violation of neutrality, she was allowed to be the DNC interim chair. It seems that the Democratic Party has even lower standards than CNN.
Brazile’s staunch advocacy for the establishment and her tone deaf rhetoric throughout the presidential election further contributed to Clinton’s election loss because it repelled voters from the Democratic Party. Brazile consistently ignored the issues and to focus on allegations of Russia interfering in our elections, a self-serving narrative she used to repair the blow of being fired by CNN. On the rare occasion that Brazile addressed political issues, it was out of political expediency. For example, she wrote a blog post on Medium after the protestors at Standing Rock pushed the Army Corps of Engineers to temporarily halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Brazile acted like she had supported the protests throughout their struggle, but, like the rest of the Democratic establishment, Brazile ignored the issue until there were political benefits to addressing it.
Shortly after Clinton’s embarrassing defeat, a DNC staffer blamed Brazile for the loss and for decimating the Democratic Party. “Why should we trust you as chair to lead us through this?” a staffer said to Brazile during a DNC meeting. “You backed a flawed candidate, and your friend [former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz] plotted through this to support your own gain and yourself.” The staffer added, “You are part of the problem. You and your friends will die of old age, and I’m going to die from climate change. You and your friends let this happen, which is going to cut 40 years off my life expectancy.” The staffer perfectly articulated the feelings of resentment that progressives harbor toward the Democratic establishment.
On February 24, Brazile ended her last speech to DNC members with a warning to fall in line behind the Democratic establishment. “Don’t start anymore of this dis-unified party, we are unified,” she stated. Though this claim of unification has been continually reiterated since the election, the Democratic Party has not taken any actions to achieve unity with the progressives who were disenfranchised during the Democratic primaries.
Though Brazile is no longer DNC chair, her presence will loom over the future of the Democratic Party, much to the dismay of reformers who beg the Democratic Party to address corruption and the unbridled of corporate and wealthy donors.