Editor’s Note: This is the last 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 and second part, Ms. Brazile discussed the disastrous Clinton for President campaign, and hacking of the DNC which had her scared for her life.
One of the few benefits of getting trounced in an election is that the decks are cleared for the losing party to step back, take stock, and recast its image.
After their shocking renunciation by the American electorate in 2016 that handed full control of the federal government to Donald Trump and the Republicans, that is the situation facing the Democratic party. Their dam began to burst as soon as Barack Obama was elected in 2008, leading to the loss of more than a thousand legislative seats at the state level, a dozen governorship’s, and of course, the House, Senate, and eventually the presidency. Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012 was the single saving grace for the party over the last eight years.
But Democrats have shown few signs of coming to terms with reality. They have doubled down on their single-minded assault on Donald Trump and stood for virtually nothing outside of protecting the status quo, and doing so strictly through radical resistance to Trump on the left and in the permanent unelected bureaucracy (i.e. the Swamp). They have not produced anything resembling a discernible message or agenda to offer the American people.
If there is anyone who can offer the long view and perspective that has been missing, and is so vital to the fortunes and future of the Democratic party, it is Donna Brazile, author of the explosively controversial new book, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House. In an exclusive interview on Liberty Nation Radio, the famed political strategist for almost four decades and two-time Chair of the Democratic National Committee stands in striking contrast to her predecessor, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and most all Democrats these days, by articulating a desperately needed message of conciliation and respect, of unity rather than division, of addition instead of subtraction. And she expresses it so effectively that it begs the question of her own potential as, not a strategist, but a candidate:
Tim Donner: In recent years, we’ve seen other major political strategists like Terry McCullough and Ed Gillespie running for office. Now given your personal popularity both in DC and back in your beloved home of Louisiana and the fact that you’ve always been a battler who seems to have more battles left in you, are you planning to run for office?
Donna Brazile: You know I’ve never had that passion inside of me to put my own hat in the ring or my gloves. But I’ve had a passion to recruit the next generation. I am so excited about the young people that I’m engaged with every day while on campus here, while on campuses across the country. So I’m going to be one of those Americans that look for the next generation of leaders. My students come from all backgrounds, all walks of life. I have Republicans, Democrats, and everything in between. They are the future of our country, the future of our democracy. My job is to help them find their seats at the table.
Tim Donner: So Donna, the Democratic Party is at a crossroads. They are in a severe minority after all the losses that you’ve suffered at the state and local level over the last eight years that are almost breathtaking. So, I guess the good news is the party can sort of reconfigure itself in several different directions. It can go in an establishment direction a la Clinton or they can go in a Progressive direction a la Bernie Sanders. Or they could try to counter Donald Trump with a direct appeal to those largely white blue collar voters who abandoned the Democrats in 2016. Which direction do you think the party should go?
Donna Brazile: I don’t think the party will necessarily go back. I think the party’s gonna go forward. The party is gonna have to have a message that goes beyond you know, we’re just anti-Trump because he won the electoral college. The party has to go beyond the resistance because he is the President of the United States and we oppose all of his policies. The party has to be an optimistic party. It has to choose hope and choose action, but more importantly, I think the future of the Democratic Party lies in not just its diversity, but it lies in the strength that our message is gonna be compelling. There are kitchen table issues.
And we’re gonna pick up the pieces that have been spread all over this country and I think the party will come out stronger in 2018. It’s gonna be a tough year because the map looks as daunting as it has ever looked with so many seats up in the United States Senate but maybe in quote unquote, so-called “Red States,” North Dakota, Missouri, etc. Montana. We have to run credible good solid candidates with a strong message that resonates across the country, not just in one segment of the population, but across the entire country.
Tim Donner: Do you think that the Democratic Party has adequately reckoned with what happened last year?
Donna Brazile: I think we have done a lot of work to rebuild, to retool. The evidence was obvious on November 7th across the country when Democrats picked up seats up and down the East Coast and all throughout the country, even in Red States. I think the party can stand to learn the lessons of 2017 by remembering one thing and that is grass root mobilization from the bottom up, not top down. We gotta stop focusing on Washington DC and the Washington DC beltway with the strategy of always paying consultants a big dollar for doing nothing but telling us what to do. Give it to the people. Let the people decide. Let the people down in Alabama decide what kind of future they want. Let the people of my beloved home state of Louisiana decide the future they want. If we can just get behind the people and stop looking at data and stop looking at polls, I think the country will be better off as well as the Democratic Party.
Tim Donner: Donna, are you sure you don’t want to rethink that idea about running for office?
Donna Brazile: I’m going to turn 58 next month and for the first time in several years of my life, I’m looking forward to resting up over the holidays, spending Christmas with my family, the New Year and coming back to teaching. I love teaching. I’m very excited about the time I’ve spent here at Harvard. I look forward to getting back at Georgetown. I was just on the campus of Auburn University, LSU just in the last two weeks and I got so much more energy left in me to help this next generation of Americans. They are going to be the greatest generation. I know the millennials don’t understand the future yet, but they are the future. They’re the face of our future. They’re the face of our democracy and I’m excited about all of them.
Tim Donner: Well stated. You know, history teaches us that that party that wins the White House usually loses seats in the elections two years later, the midterms. So your party has a chance to take control of the House or the Senate or both. If Democrats take over the House, they seem likely to try and impeach Donald Trump. Would you support that effort and if so, why?
Donna Brazile: Well first of all, like I said, the map is tough, but I do think the Democrats are gonna make up a lot of ground in state houses across the country as well as make up a lot of ground in Congress. In terms of impeachment, I would hope that – and I know there’s a lot of people out there saying, “Impeach, impeach, impeach.” Here’s what I hope. I hope that the Congressional investigation is completed within a reasonable timeline. I hope that Mueller is completed because no one wants to continue to have these conversations about 2016 well into 2018 and beyond. But after we see the evidence, after we know everything, then I think we can make our own conclusions. I’m not one to jump to conclusions until we have all of the facts out there. Again, I pray for the President because he is the President of the United States. I disagree with so many of his policies as well as some of the Tweets, his conversation.
I would hope that the President would soon pivot. He’s the President of the entire United States of America, not just one faction, not just one segment. But he needs to pivot. It’s time for him to put down Twitter and to listen, just listen. I mean the American people are beautiful. The voices, even if you disagree, just listen to what people have to say and then make up your own mind. That’s what I would hope. That’s why I wanted to come on your show. That’s why I wanted to let you know that anytime you want me to come on the show, I’m willing to even if it’s a tough conversation because we can all use a dose of humility from time to time.