The Rebuilding of a Party: Anyone’s Fault But Their Own

By Scott Bufis

The night of the election, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews blasted every third party voter in America for not caring who would win the presidency. In their view, voting for anyone but Hillary Clinton was a vote for Donald Trump or a vote of apathy.

Clinton, herself, has her own beliefs about why she lost. She and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, cite FBI Director James Comey’s decision to reopen the investigation concerning her emails two weeks before the election as the ultimate reason. Unprecedented as it was, would the reopening of such an investigation that had been hanging around her the entire campaign really be enough to sway the electorate in Trump’s direction at the 11th hour?

Now the CIA has determined that Russia hacked into the computer systems of the DNC and leaked the damning emails to Wikileaks that showed conversations among members of the DNC thinking up ways to show Bernie Sanders in a negative light in an attempt to sway Democrats toward Clinton in the primaries. The leaks, they are saying, lost the Democratic candidate the confidence of many key voters.

The Democrats have many reasons why they think Clinton lost, but they lost more than just the presidency in the November election. They also failed to gain enough seats in the House and the Senate to regain a majority. As it stands, Democrats will not have control of any of the major branches of federal government. Is the FBI, Russia, and third-party voters responsible for that too?

It seems that with all the finger-pointing and scapegoating the Democrats have missed the most obvious reason for their crushing defeat. Themselves.

What Wikileaks published, and apparently what Russia hacked, is evidence that the party had decided Clinton should be the nominee before the Democratic voters would have a say in the matter. Instead of blaming everything around them, the party would do well to learn their lessons of failure and listen – truly listen – to their voting base. Disappointingly, many top Democrats don’t seem to be listening… or caring.

Keith Ellison is considered the front-runner for the next DNC chair and has the backing of many prominent Democrats, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Recently, though, Obama’s Labor Secretary, Tom Perez, has entered the race. Perez is known as a progressive, but being Obama’s pick, a proponent of the TPP, and coming in late to the game to challenge Ellison has many progressives very skeptical. Perez has become the de facto establishment candidate for DNC chair.

The Democrats now face a choice to follow the progressive philosophies that millions of voting Americans are calling out for or stick with the same liberal corporatism they have been running with for decades and run the risk of losing even more in the future.

Further reading:

Bill Clinton: Comey ‘cost’ my wife the election

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/310974-bill-clinton-comey-cost-my-wife-the-election

Looking for someone to blame? It’s not third parties

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/15/blame-for-us-election-outcome-not-third-parties-jill-stein

Clinton Says ‘Personal Beef’ by Putin Led to Hacking Attacks

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/16/us/politics/hillary-clinton-russia-fbi-comey.html?_r=0

Tom Perez Enters Race for DNC Chair, Setting Up Test for Obama, Progressives

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/tom-perez-enters-race-dnc-chair-setting-test-obama-progressives-n696651

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