A lot of people are eating their words now that ex-DNC chair Donna Brazile is saying she has “proof” that Hillary Clinton rigged the 2016 Democratic primary in her favor.
Bernie Sanders and his supporters long alleged that the DNC was giving Clinton an unfair advantage in the primary race, although Sanders never went as far to call the race “rigged.” Brazile has now revealed that there was a financial scheme between Clinton and the DNC that gave her nearly full control of the organization.
Some journalists and Democrats now look awfully silly because they vehemently denied any election rigging and even laughed at people who believed it was possible.
Ari Berman, writing in The Nation in June 2016, called election rigging a “conspiracy theory” that has been “extensively debunked.”
“Outlandish claims fall apart when subjected to closer scrutiny,” Berman asserted. “Crying wolf about rigged elections, like some Sanders supporters have done, undermines the legitimacy of documented cases of voter suppression.”
Dana Houle, meanwhile, wrote an article for the New Republic in July titled “No, the DNC Didn’t Rig the Primary in Favor of Hillary.”
Houle denied that leaked emails from the DNC show they were favoring Clinton, and called the overall rigging claim “improbable.”
“The main problem with the notion that the DNC rigged the results for Clinton is that it requires one to assume the improbable,” he said. “The DNC had no role or authority in primary contests, which are run by state governments.”
He also urged Democrats to “stop quibbling about whether the DNC rigged the nomination” and instead focus on the Russians’ ability to hack into email servers.
There were top members of the Democratic Party who denied rigging as well.
Patrice Taylor, the DNC’s director of party affairs & delegate selection, insisted that “the election is not rigged for one candidate or another” while defending the party’s use of “superdelegates” in a Medium post last February.
“The rules that I just described were first established in the 1970s, long before any current candidate declared for office. All candidates run under the same rules,” Taylor said, perhaps not realizing that Clinton had special access to her organization.
Tom Perez, who now chairs the DNC, said that Clinton won the primary “fair and square” and that he had previously “misspoke” when he suggested the primary was rigged.
“Hillary became our nominee fair and square, and she won more votes in the primary — and general — than her opponents,” he stated.
However, CBS News reports on Zerlina Maxwell, formerly the director of progressive media for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, who said on Friday the claim in Brazile’s new book that the election was rigged for Clinton is “overstating” how joint fundraising committees work.
Maxwell said the agreements in 2015 and 2016 are “not new information,” as Politico had already reported on them. She also said “re-litigating” a primary is not helpful to the Democratic party as it looks to the future.
“I don’t think that re-litigating a primary, which was so contentious but not ultimately close in terms of the vote count, that’s just looking backwards when we need to be looking forward,” Maxwell told CBSN.
But Maxwell agreed with Brazile that the DNC’s finances were dire heading into the 2016 election cycle.
“They Democratic Party was broke,” Maxwell said. “They don’t have the capacity to rig 50 elections against Bernie Sanders.”
During former President Obama’s tenure in the White House, financial resources were “siphoned away” towards Organizing for America, Brazile said, and the DNC “languished” under Obama.
“Yes, they were broke, when Hillary showed up in 2015 to start her campaign for presidency, so yes, she paid off their debt,” Maxwell said, which through the joint fundraising agreement, allowed Democrats to raise more than $500 million.
The DNC did not directly refute many of Brazile’s claims in a statement CBS News received Friday morning.
“The DNC must remain neutral in the presidential primary process, and there shouldn’t even be a perception that the DNC is interfering in that process,” DNC Communications Director Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement. “Joint fundraising committees were created between the DNC and both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in attempt to raise the general election funds needed to win in 2016. Clinton was the only candidate who raised money for the party through her joint fundraising committee with the DNC, which would benefit any candidate coming out of the presidential primary process.”
Jeff Weaver, former Sanders campaign manager, said it was clear during the campaign there was a pattern of favor towards Clinton, in everything from the debate schedule to the lack of voter data access Sanders’ campaign had. Weaver complimented Brazile for her “courage” in writing the book.
“It was not surprising that the DNC was acting in favor of Secretary Clinton,” Weaver told CBSN. “I mean, what is surprising, obviously, is that there was a signed document detailing that the Clinton campaign would have control over the DNC, certainly.”
Weaver said it is “impossible” to know how the campaign would have turned out “if it had been all on the level,” but said Sanders would have beaten Mr. Trump. Weaver said he hopes the book brings more transparency and accountability to the DNC.
President Trump on Friday morning unleashed a tweet storm about Brazile’s rigged election claims. In a week focused on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and the charges stemming from it, the president jumped on Brazile’s comments.
The real story on Collusion is in Donna B's new book. Crooked Hillary bought the DNC & then stole the Democratic Primary from Crazy Bernie!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2017
Bernie Sanders supporters have every right to be apoplectic of the complete theft of the Dem primary by Crooked Hillary!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2017
Before leaving for Asia, he said he was “disappointed” in his Justice Department for a perceived failure to go after the DNC and Clinton.
H/T The Daily Caller