Brazile starts post-elec­tion anal­y­sis

DNC chair makes prom­ises to party look­ing to fu­ture af­ter Clin­ton loss

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY SETH MCLAUGH­LIN

The in­terim chair of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee said last Tues­day she has cre­ated an “ad­vi­sory group” to look into what went so wrong for the party in the 2016 elec­tion, just four years af­ter the GOP went through a sim­i­lar post-elec­tion soul-search­ing.

Donna Brazile said the DNC is also re­think­ing whether su­perdel­e­gates have had too much power in the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion process af­ter fac­ing a bar­rage of crit­i­cism from grass-roots ac­tivists who thought the un­elected of­fi­cials played an out­size role in steer­ing the nom­i­na­tion to­ward Hil­lary Clin­ton and away from Sen. Bernard San­ders of Ver­mont.

More than any­thing else, how­ever, Ms. Brazile blamed the party’s stum­bles Nov. 8 on de­pressed turnout she said stemmed from “voter sup­pres­sion” ef­forts in key states — in­clud­ing Ohio, Wis­con­sin and North Carolina — that Don­ald Trump car­ried.

“In many swing states, voter sup­pres­sion suc­ceeded in its ul­ti­mate, if un­stated goal: di­lut­ing democ­racy through dis­fran­chise­ment,” Ms. Brazile said in a memo posted on­line.

Ms. Brazile took the reins at the DNC af­ter Rep. Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz of Florida stepped aside this sum­mer hours be­fore the kick­off of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion. Her lead­er­ship be­came un­ten­able when a cache of hacked emails showed party of­fi­cials had con­spired against Mr. San­ders in the pri­mary race.

Mr. San­ders’ loyal sup­port­ers were fur­ther en­raged af­ter hacked emails posted by Wik­iLeaks showed that Ms. Brazile, while work­ing as a com­men­ta­tor on CNN, shared pri­mary de­bate ques­tions with Mrs. Clin­ton.

Democrats are poised to elect a new party leader next year.

Rep. Keith El­li­son of Min­nesota, who has the sup­port of Mr. San­ders, is run­ning to re­place Ms. Brazile, and for­mer Ver­mont Gov. Howard Dean, who pre­vi­ously served as DNC chair, also has an­nounced a bid.

Ms. Brazile said there were some bright spots in the elec­tion, point­ing out that Mrs. Clin­ton won the pop­u­lar vote, the party picked up seats in the House and the Se­nate and that ref­er­en­dums to in­crease the min­i­mum wage passed in four states.

“But I was raised to tell it straight. This isn’t the re­sult we were hop­ing for. Not even close,” she said.

Ms. Brazile said a Unity Com­mis­sion has been tasked with reeval­u­at­ing the su­perdel­e­gate process and a “new ad­vi­sory group will look back at why we were not able to win this pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in the Elec­toral Col­lege, and how we can re­con­nect with hard­work­ing Amer­i­cans from ev­ery seg­ment of so­ci­ety and ev­ery com­mu­nity in this country.”

And she said a cy­ber­se­cu­rity task force would of­fer rec­om­men­da­tions on how to de­fend its tech­nol­ogy from fu­ture at­tacks.

The DNC not only faced the Wik­iLeaks breach, which of­fi­cials blamed on Rus­sia, but Mr. San­ders’ own cam­paign man­aged to exploit a hole in the sys­tem to get a look at Mrs. Clin­ton’s files in 2015.

Democrats’ eval­u­a­tion of their elec­tion fail­ure comes four years af­ter Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee Chair­man Reince Priebus com­mis­sioned a sim­i­lar au­topsy report out of the GOP’s elec­tion miss in 2012. That report told the party to mod­ern­ize its ground game and soften its mes­sage on is­sues such as im­mi­gra­tion.

Mr. Trump ap­pears to have ben­e­fited from the RNC’s re­vamped ground game, but largely dis­missed the report’s rec­om­men­da­tions on how best to make in­roads with His­panic and black vot­ers on his way to de­feat­ing Mrs. Clin­ton.

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