Editor’s Note: This is the second of a three-part series featuring a discussion with famed Democratic strategist and former Chair of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile on Liberty Nation Radio. In the first part, Ms. Brazile discussed how the disastrous Clinton for President campaign was obsessed with data at the expense of traditional methods of motivating voters.
The task facing Donna Brazile when she was named Chair of the Democratic National Committee would have been daunting enough with the scandals that had surrounded her disgraced predecessor Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the fact that the data-driven, heartless Clinton campaign had seized control of the DNC with a watershed election fast approaching, leaving Brazile to sit helplessly by and watch her party’s nominee snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
But the task evolved from daunting to frightening when she realized the DNC she now headed was being hacked on a daily, sometimes hourly basis because Wasserman-Schultz had refused to take cybersecurity seriously despite repeated warnings from no less than the FBI.
In an exclusive interview on Liberty Nation Radio, Brazile describes feeling scared and violated with the hacking onslaught, especially after the still-unsolved murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich. It is noteworthy that, while she ascribes these cyber attacks to Russia, she is silent on whether the Trump campaign was involved and whether there was “collusion.”
But first, she attempted to dismiss the notion that her tell-all book, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House, was designed to push the Clintons off the stage:
Tim Donner: Donna, a lot of people, myself among them, honestly think that the ultimate purpose of your book outside of setting the record straight and telling your own story, is to convince the party that it’s time to once and for all move beyond the Clintons. Was that the message of your book?
Donna Brazile: No, I don’t think my message was about elimination or subtraction. My book was really about the hacking of our democracy. And it was my story because I was Chair of the party. I became Chair for the second time in my adult life because of the hacking. And it’s the inside story of the break-ins and breakdowns that put Donald Trump in the White House. And I wanted the American people to come away understanding that the hacking of our election is reason for us to come together as a country to avoid this from happening again. This time there was a severe attempt to hack into our election process. What if someone, another country, tried to hack into our infrastructure, our electrical grid? Hacking is important. Cybersecurity is something that concerns not just major corporations but it concerns universities, academia, and the media.
So I also believe that part of my story is to talk about the hacking. Clearly, the Democratic Party has a large bench of people who will possibly run in 2020. I don’t know all of the candidates but I’m sure that there are so many people out there who will continue to support Secretary Clinton. She has a lifelong service inside the Democratic Party and I would hope that whatever her future is that those who support and those who may never support her will understand that she is a woman of valor, a woman of courage and she has served our great nation.
Tim Donner: But let me come at the same question from a different direction. Should Hillary still be out there on the stage as she is or should she leave the stage and allow other Democrat voices to carry the fight against President Trump and the Republicans?
Donna Brazile: Well the stage is large and as you well know, we need many voices out on the stage. And it’s not just a stage that we need to talk about President Trump. As I mention to people all over the country, I pray for our President. He’s our President. We have one President at a time and as long as I have breath in my body, I will always pray for the President of the United States regardless of whether or not I supported him or her in the future. Saying that we as Americans need to understand we need more people to run for office. We need more public servants. Today as we speak, there are so many news stories now about sexual harassment. We need more people to run for office and hopefully, in the future, we’ll see more women run for office. We’ll see more people of color. I don’t know if you intend to run for office again. You’ve run once for the United States Senate but you know what? We need more voices out there.
Tim Donner: Well I mean I appreciate your words and I think that it’s really true. I wanted to just return to something you talk a lot in the book – the personal anguish of being hacked day after day after day and not knowing where the next attack was to come from. It was really a heartbreaking personal tale no matter what your political affiliation is.
Donna Brazile: It’s a form of harassment. It’s people prying into your life as if they know you when they don’t know you. What they know is some aspects of your life but not the entire picture. But because they have your identity, they’ve stolen your identity. They’ve stolen your emails. They possess stuff that should not be in the public domain. They prey upon you in ways that feels as though they’re going to come after you. And from time to time, I didn’t have a good sense. Remember one of our staff members was murdered and there was a lot of concern that our own personal safety was something that we had to pay attention to. And I took careful steps, not just in my personal life but also as Party Chair to protect the staffers and the infrastructure of the Democratic National Committee.
And you know, every time we were hacked, we knew that the Russians were still coming after us. I picked up the phone and I called or texted over to the RNC. I felt that as an American, it was my duty. I was no longer a partisan. I felt it was my duty to not just alert federal officials which we did, but it was also my duty to alert the Republican National Committee because here in America, if you destroy one political party, you believe you’re left with another. But if you destroy both political parties then what do we have in our democracy?
I mean, so I was quite concerned and I would hope as we focus on 2018 that we take this seriously and that we begin to try to prevent it. What if it’s North Korea next time? What if it’s Iran? What if it’s another nation that is trying to destroy our democracy? Our founders, those men and of course so many women who were in the shadows, they would want us to protect our democracy, to protect our freedom and we have to focus on that. That is the goal of my book as well.
In the final part of this series tomorrow, Donna Brazile discusses the future of the beleaguered Democratic party, and how they can regain their mojo.