On February 25, Adam Parkhomenko, a former Hillary Clinton staffer and DNC vice chair candidate, retweeted a photo of a sticker touting allegiance to Hillary Clinton.
“Revenge Trumps Everything,” the sticker reads, making use of Clinton’s supporters’ mantra that she is the real president because she won the popular vote. Though Clinton loyalists cling to this argument, there are few strategies that would be worse for Democrats than to continue to tout Clinton’s popular vote victory and vow “revenge” for her election loss.
This sentiment among the Democratic establishment, coupled with their obsession with alleged Russian election interference, is predicated on the false belief that Clinton lost because of external forces working against her entitled candidacy. Since Clinton’s election defeat to Donald Trump, the DNC has been stacked with Clinton loyalists who are spinning their wheels planning a resurgence of the Democratic Party.
After being recruited specifically to stop Rep. Keith Ellison—the candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed—from winning the election, Clinton surrogate Tom Perez was elected DNC chair. A Trump war room was set up within the DNC, and it is run by former Clinton staffer Zac Petkanas with input from Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta’s Center for American Progress and David Brock’s super PAC American Bridge. The position of the DNC’s National Press Secretary was given to Clinton campaign spokesperson Adrienne Watson. The DNC National Finance Director, Henry Munoz III, was allowed to stay on despite Politico’s report in June 2015 that Munoz was overtly violating DNC neutrality rules to help Clinton’s fundraising efforts. Newly elected DNC Vice Chairs Grace Meng and Michael Blake aggressively campaigned on behalf of Clinton. Clinton superdelegate Jason Rae was elected DNC secretary. William Derrough, a Clinton donor and Wall Street banker, was elected DNC treasurer. Karen Carter Peterson, who was elected chair of civic engagement and voter participation, hosted poorly attended rallies in her home state of Louisiana for Clinton in 2015. The Young Turk’s Nomiki Konst reported that disgraced former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and many of her staffers remained on the DNC payroll until December 2016, likely to ensure that Clinton loyalists asserted total control over the DNC after Clinton’s loss.
Former DNC chair and Clinton surrogate Howard Dean expressed this delusional sentiment in an interview: “All these young people, they’re not Democrats,” said Dean. “They didn’t come out for Hillary, they don’t come out for lower people on the ballot, they don’t come out for off-years.” Rather than winning over voters’ support and producing enthusiasm among its base, Clinton loyalists continue to blame millennials and other scapegoats for Clinton’s loss. To them, the idea that Clinton was a flawed candidate simply isn’t a possibility.
This obsession with Clinton and her brand of politics, in which she partners with corporate and wealthy powers, continues to stunt the Democratic Party’s recovery. For the establishment, the problem isn’t that Clinton is out-of-touch, tone deaf to important issues, and fails to fight for working, middle class, and low income Americans. They believe that the problem is lazy and stubborn voters—primarily millennials, Sanders‘ supporters, and people who live in rural America—who are unwilling to fall in line behind Clinton and the rest of the Democratic establishment.
These Democrats view grassroots progressives as a problem, not a solution. Sanders doesn’t provide them with hope for recovery; he’s a nuisance that needs to be suppressed when his popularity can’t be exploited for marketing benefits. Clinton isn’t a blemish on the Democratic Party’s recent failures; she’s a political figure who needs to be elevated as a spokesperson for the Trump resistance. The Democratic establishment doesn’t want to move in a new direction or better represent their voters. They don’t want to incorporate disenfranchised progressives and Sanders‘ supporters. Their focus is to pursue revenge against anyone that stood in the way of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment, and they wrongfully expect that they will start winning elections by obsessing over hate for Donald Trump.