Despite running one of the worst presidential campaigns in history, Clinton still can’t come to grips with the idea that she lost. Almost immediately following her stunning defeat she began searching for a scapegoat, blaming “a vast Russian conspiracy,” “voter suppression,” the “Comey letter,” the media who covered Comey’s investigation “like it was Pearl Harbor,” the “historic tide” of succeeding a two-term president from the same party, “a board assumption [she] was going to win,” and the sexism that makes women “less likable” as they get more successful.
But this week demonstrated that Clinton isn’t the one deserving of excuses. If anything, it was Bernie Sanders who was treated unfairly by a primary process that was rigged against him. This isn’t exactly a shocking revelation; after all, anyone who was paying attention throughout the primary could see that Democrats were doing everything they could to make sure Hillary Clinton was the party’s nominee.
There was evidence of party officials planting questions about Bernie Sanders’ religious beliefs, in an attempt to undercut him with Protestant voters. There were emails showing DNC staffers openly mocking the campaign, and going so far as to find ways to actively tear them down. And there were clues that Democrats actively manipulated the debate schedule to prevent Sanders from gaining name recognition, rigged the Nevada primary to stop Sanders’ momentum, limited his access to the party’s voter records, and purposefully failed to accurately divvy up the party’s fundraising dollars.
As the Bernie bros fumed, Republicans were quietly cheering. It was clear that Clinton, and her clear ethical struggles, was a much less formidable candidate that the one Democrats’ were actively working to scuttle.
“I would rather run against Crooked Hillary Clinton than Bernie Sanders and that will happen because the books are cooked against Bernie Sanders,” Donald Trump tweeted in May of 2016, well before his stunning victory over Clinton.
And now we have a direct firsthand account of the extent of Clinton’s efforts to rig the primary in her favor, courtesy of former party chairwoman Donna Brazile. In a story written for Politico she explains that after the Democratic National Convention she learned that “the Democratic Party was broke and $2 million in debt.”
More accurately, Obama left the party $24 million in debt, which they had been paying off very slowly. The Clinton campaign, perhaps seeing an opportunity for a quid pro quo (something she is an expert in) had decided to take care of a significant portion of the debt, and in return “placed the party on an alllowance.”
“The campaign had the DNC on life support, giving it money every month to meet its basic expenses, while the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearinghouse,” Brazile explains of the scheme.
By leveraging the DNC in this this way Clinton could not only get donor’s $2,700 (the limit an individual can make to a campaign), but also $353,400 (the $10,000 limit to each of the 32 states that were part of the DNC’s Victory Fund plus $33,400 to the DNC itself). Although the money was supposed to remain in the DNC to help the eventual nominee, the Clinton campaign was vacuuming it up and sending straight to campaign headquarters in Brooklyn.
And that’s when Brazile found the smoking gun. She writes for Politico:
When I got back from a vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, I at last found the document that described it all: the Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America.
The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias—specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.
Clinton took control of the party long before she had the primary sewn up, put it on a starvation diet, then teased it with the prospect of food if it would do her bidding. That meant that Bernie Sanders, whose energizing, out-of-nowhere primary run never really had a shot at becoming the party’s nominee.
There’s a delicious irony in all of this. Clinton, who spent the past year explaining how the presidency was stolen from her, actually worked to steal the Democratic nomination from Bernie Sanders. For a party currently split between its establishment and far-left factions, the confirmation of Clinton’s misconduct is sure to rip open some old wounds. And good – this is a party that needs to have an honest debate about its future.