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Curing Cancer Through Prayer

Despite any appearance to the contrary, like writing about it, again, I so want to move away from 2016 and on to a much stronger position for 2018 and 2020. The revelations from Donna Brazile this past week, but more strikingly the pushback, has helped me figure out why I can't fully move on into the future: because we haven't learned the right lessons from 2016. In truth the Democratic leadership seems unwilling to do anything other than what it has been doing to lose for the last decade. I have not really gone through therapy but I've had enough experience with being broken to know that there's no getting better without naming and owning the problem. I'm not sure if they're capable of admitting there's a problem. The Democratic Party is watching the foundation of its house sink and deciding to paint the walls for redress. While writing about this on Facebook it finally occurred to me what it will take to put this argument away once and for all:

If you haven't read Donna Brazile's op-ed in politico it's worth reading first hand instead of relying on media dismissals of the piece. It is the purest admission so far from someone so connected to the party machinery that it is corrupt. She contends that Hillary's campaign in essence controlled the DNC during the primary and funds for a number of state parties collected through the Joint Funding Agreement. In all fairness it's in service of a book coming out this week. Being self-serving does not mean it's false. It's completely in keeping with prior reporting on the relationship between the Hillary Victory Fund and the state parties involved in the joint funding agreement. Nothing reported after contradicts anything in her op-ed. It's important that you realize, despite every subsequent dismissal that the basic outline of her account is essentially corroborated by statements from state parties. Most of the reporting that I've seen saying that her account is wrong is based on an NBC News Report of the Joint Funding Agreement that has been revised with a crucial line added:

Anyone reporting that her story has been disproven without noting how the original story has been updated is being extremely dishonest. Another dishonest rebuttal of her story hinges on a very literal reading of one single clause of legalese:

The only problem with reading that line literally is that it requires not actually reading the rest of the agreement.

Another attempt  to invalidate her op-ed claims that Bernie's campaign received the same JFA, they didn't. You can compare the documents yourself, rather than relying on the interpretations of others.

 There's a Twitter thread being shared to question the claims that .5% of the funds went to to the state parties, the other 99.5% going to her campaign to be used as it wished. The writer, Elizabeth Rogers, as far as I can tell has no expertise in campaign finance disclosures and she didn't work with either of the campaigns directly. People are sharing her thread as if it renders false what's already known about how the money was distributed. I haven't fully read it because it stands on so many assumptions that I find questionable, but you can. I'm reluctant to share it and the only reason I do is because it's an insight into the disingenuous ways that people make arguments on that platform. There's an intellectual dishonesty that's difficult to determine if it's actual ignorance or if they're paid to be spread disinformation. The ta-daa of her thread meant to prove Brazile either a liar or misinformed:

That's pretty much the heart of the argument that the Politico op-ed is wrong. It's only confirmation bias that allows one to hold it as a legitimate source. It doesn't show if the funds were immediately transferred out or stayed with the state parties and it doesn't show when the payments to state parties were made. It's not clear if it's just meant to unsuccessfully negate the most recent Politico op-ed but it in no way changes what Politico reported in May and July last year, or what has been reported in other sources. Last April Margot Kidder, my childhood Lois Lane, published an account of the Montana Democratic Party's relationship with the HVF.

In a thread on this topic a tweet I encountered led me to look at the FEC site myself.

What I found was that that was true for all of the state parties that signed onto the JFA. Larger payments from the HVF began in September or October. Admittedly, I didn't check to see if the state parties were acting as conduits, but between September/October and December the states received the vast majority of the sums. There is strong evidence to suggest that without the JFA allowing substantially larger individual donations to flow through state parties Hillary for America would have been substantially out-raised by Bernie's campaign.

Glenn Greenwald and Caitlin Johnstone both write about some of the false attacks on the op-ed, which despite Donna Brazile walking back the rigging statement leaves her op-ed factually undisputed. A number of reports have gone on to imply that Brazile is either a little crazy, stupid, or possibly a Russian dupe. (I'm restraining myself here from going into the inherent racism and tokenism in the attacks on Brazile.) There's also been some argument around what rigging is exactly, how preposterous it is that anyone could think that Hillary through the DNC could rig 50 races.

 The final argument against the op-ed is less that rigging couldn't have happened but that there's no way for it to have been pervasive enough to have effected the vote that heavily. That argument might be more credible from people who have not argued that Russian bots were a deciding factor in the results of the general.

If in response to the Donna Brazile op-ed your first need is to parse the meaning of rigging or assume outright that she must be inaccurate or lying I'm curious what that serves. And on some level I understand.

It's hard to love the sinner while hating the sin. If in this case your love for Hillary prevents you from considering the ways in which Brazile's op-ed might be true, please try. Even if you find it impossible to say that the primary was rigged, can you say that it was fair and impartial? Resist the urge to negate the partisanship because Bernie isn't a Democrat. The only people for whom that's important are the shrinking portion of the population still also calling themselves Democrats, which is irrelevant to convincing non-Democrats to vote for our candidates. 

ElectionUSA did an analysis of the primary last year and determined that voting irregularities cost Bernie up to 184 delegates. I didn't pay much attention to it at the time, figuring it didn't change anything, and it still doesn't exactly. However, in light of the recent finding of illegal actions by the NYC Board of Elections and Brazile's op-ed it's worth giving deeper consideration. None of this is to say definitively that the primary was rigged. The documentation or corroborating accounts that would prove that are not publicly available.  Still, you are being willfully naive if you are insisting in the face of all evidence to the contrary that it most definitely didn't happen.  You are part of the biggest barrier to defeating Fragile Ego and the Republicans in 2018  and 2020 because you are misidentifying the problem with the Democrats, the reason the party has lost over a 1000 cumulative legislative seats. There is no polling on the question but I'd assert: the majority of Bernie primary supporters (most of whom voted for her) believe it; the majority of Republicans and Independents believe it; the majority of non-voters believe it. Prior to this election the vast majority of voters made it clear that they didn't trust Hillary. Nothing that has happened since changes that. If the Democratic Party moves forward insisting nothing happened expect the party to meet with far more failure than it should in the next national election cycles.

The American public, even her supporters, have little trouble seeing Hillary as politically cynical and representative of the cynicism of the party as a whole. When I said during the primary that her politics were too similar to Obama's that's what I meant. In trying to convince me to vote for Hillary her supporters often, without meaning too, made the point that a vote for Hillary was a vote for cynicism. Every one of them essentially saying that it was naive to have ever believed in Obama's hope and change, were acknowledging that you can't take Democrats at their word; just vote for them they're better than Republicans. Every one of them who said that you can't pass legislation just on the strength of the people working in coalition to create pressure and momentum for that legislation were either gaslighting me or had forgotten that the last time we were in a position to see that happen, the president didn't even try. In each subsequent election since 2008 the Democrat has received a lower share of the vote. In the last election Fragile Ego won with a smaller vote share than Mitt Romney's losing share. The voters have essentially said, "fool me once," and the rest is on the Democrats. The party needs to stop approaching party identification the way we do the unemployed: if you're hopeless and no longer engaged, basically that's too bad, accept what you can get. For the ostensible party of the people that's a formula for continued loss. The lesson that should have been learned from 2016 is that if you consistently pair policy that centers human needs with credible advocates of those policies that becomes the identity of the party. Right now the identity centers on ambivalence to the base, cynical corruption, and a willingness to lose to Trump over an openness to the desires of progressive voters.

For the sake of clarity

I have avoided writing my exact beliefs regarding the last election mostly to avoid the hassle, but also because I have no interest in trying to convince anyone else. One thing that became apparent during the primary is that when you express a belief that may not comport with conventional wisdom people feel that you need to justify it and essentially if you can't prove your reasons, your belief is not justified.  I don't think that's how beliefs work necessarily.  I want to share my belief about the election here in the interest of being transparent. It's pointless arguing what I believe without bringing compelling evidence to change my mind. I'd be very surprised if that exists. I believe that Obama/the Democratic Party essentially made a deal with Hillary that they would give her Secretary of State to burnish her credentials and clear the path to the 2016 nomination in 2008 to reunify all of the racist white women who refused to vote for Obama. As part of that deal Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was installed as the head of the DNC. I'm not sure if the other three dems joined to create the illusion of competition or because they thought they were competitive  (or available for VP) Bernie joined to ensure that his policies were a part of the discussion and never thought he'd get the nomination. Even after it was apparent that he was competitive he continued to attack on policy and talk about the corrupting influence of money and the appearance of corruption by money. If he thought he truly had a chance he'd have gone as hard at her as Obama. He'd have made a mess of the emails, or not even the emails, just the danger of being an untrusted Democrat under FBI investigation. After receiving the nomination, she continued with a plan that had been designed before the primaries, rather than responding to events on the ground. This is the only explanation for the Tim Kaine selection in a primary season where populism raged like fire. That was the moment it was both clear to me that the fix was in and that she would lose. A credible selection that reinforced the belief that she was a supporter of the progressive platform would have been Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, or someone else surprising and not at all similar to her. Her friends in the media elevated DJT through billions in free exposure because he was one of the few Republicans polling showed she could beat. She and the establishment assumed there was no way he could win and instead of convincing the base that the platform was meaningful to her she pursued moderate Republicans both for votes and fundraising. Through sheer hubris she offered no agenda other than not being DJT, she campaigned too little in traditional mid-western Democratic strongholds, and she never created  her own narrative that she and surrogates could deliver to counter her historic negatives and the investigation. She got the candidate she wanted and basically lost because it seemed she didn't think she needed to convince voters to support her. It should be noted that this presidential loss should be the capstone to eight years of massive losses due to the managerial incompetence of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the abandonment of a 50 state strategy for the Democratic party all in the name of ensuring Hillary's shot at the presidency (oh, and Hillary's Iraq vote was always more about being seen as able to "make the hard choices" than because she was fooled by the administration's lies.)

I know that this statement will make some feel argumentative, especially about why she lost. I've written about that, but I thought of a standard by which people can prove to me that Russian bots and James Comey played a more significant role in her loss than I believe:


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