Saturday, November 04, 2017

Thy Party Must Be Pure

The Democratic Party isn't trying to sabotage the Party's gubernatorial candidate in Virginia. It merely seems so. The Huffington Post reports

In a Wednesday interview with Norfolk, Virginia, TV news channel WAVY, Northam said he would sign a bill banning so-called “sanctuary cities,” or municipalities that limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities, should any Virginia locality pursue that status in the future.

Northam’s opponent, Republican Ed Gillespie, has run a series of misleading adsattacking Northam for a vote as lieutenant governor blocking a bill that would have preemptively banned municipalities from adopting these limits ― though Gillespie himself has acknowledged that no sanctuary cities exist in Virginia as of yet.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday night after an event with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, Northam claimed that he simply opposed preemptively banning sanctuary cities, and that his comments to WAVY were “what I’ve been saying all along.”

The explanation was not enough, however, to assuage Democracy For America, a left-leaning online activism organization based in Burlington, Vermont. In response to what DFA called Northam’s “backtrack on his commitment to standing up for immigrant families,” the group declared that it would end “any work to directly aid” his campaign.

“After seeing Northam play directly into the hands of Republicans’ racist anti-immigrant rhetoric on sanctuary cities, we refuse to be silent any longer and even remotely complicit in the disastrous, racist, and voter-turnout-depressing campaign Ralph Northam appears intent on running,” DFA executive director Charles Chamberlain said in a statement.

The statement from the DFA, which had not endorsed anyone, was mostly symbolic and was followed by Howard Dean's tweet "Hope this is inaccurate because it is an incredibly stupid thing to say and deeply discredits the organization which I founded." (And cual es el problema, Doug Wilder?)

But it was not inaccurate and was followed by the untimely release of an excerpt from Donna Brazile's upcoming book in which she stated that after taking over as the interim head of the Democratic National Committee, she

found a Joint Fund-Raising Agreement between the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, and Hillary for America.

The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias—specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.

Predictably, President Trump tweeted "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!"  Not so predictably, when Elizabeth Warren was asked by CNN whether the primary process was rigged against Bernie Sanders, she replied "yes."

And then predictably, an opportunistic Trump seized, now tweeting "Pocahontas just stated that the Democrats, lead by the legendary Crooked Hillary Clinton, rigged the Primaries! Lets go FBI & Justice Dept."

Unless the Senator intended to goad Trump into overreacting by obstructing justice by encouraging the Justice Department to investigate the arrangement, it was a rookie mistake.

Perhaps Warren had forgotten that there are one important (New Jersey) and one  extremely important (Virginia) gubernatorial race, as well as innumerable state and local races, the following week. It was also inaccurate because nothing revealed constitues rigging of an election. Also, it was premature, given that now we  learn that NBC News has obtained a memorandum revealing that the fund-raising agreement stipulated that

the DNC agreed to hire a communications director from "one of two candidates previously identified as acceptable to HFA." And while the DNC maintained "the authority to make the final decision" on senior staff in the communications, technology and research departments, the party organization said it would choose "between candidates acceptable to HFA."

The memo stipulates the DNC had to hire a communications director by September 11, 2015, months before the first nominating contests in early 2016.

However, the memo also made clear that the arrangement pertained to only the general election, not the primary season, and it left open the possibility that it would sign similar agreements with other candidates.

The primary was not rigged, the agreement did not pertain to the primary, and alleging now that the process was "rigged" probably shifts the advantage in the Virginia election from the Democratic to the Repub Party.

Other than that, it was a good move by Senator Warren. However, that probably establishes herself as a conventional Democrat at a time that the Party seems unable to take advantage of Donald Trump's flubs and flops with a simultaneous mix of extremism and cowardice.

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