The knives are out on the Democratic side after the unexpected victory of Donald Trump. Not surprisingly, the first attacks have been launched by the experts on mudslinging against fellow Democrats: David Brock and those whose lease he holds like Peter Daou. Brock’s long history of character assassination and penchant for attacking those on the left continues.
In his speech at the first major gathering of Democratic lawmakers since the election, Brock expressed his anger at the “disaffected millennials who sat on their hands in the most consequential election of our lives.”
Brock’s narrative that Hillary Clinton’s loss is the fault of the millennial voters who supported the primary campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders is laughable. It’s worth noting that Anna Greenberg, an informed political professional who followed Brock as a speaker at the State Innovation Exchange conference, was quick to distance herself from his baseless “analysis.”
But the Brockian delusion is dangerous because it gives the corporatist elements of the Democratic Party an excuse to avoid the hard questions that need to be asked in light of Trump’s win.
November’s result highlights the central challenge that the Democratic Party faces — building a party that represents the interests and aspirations of middle and working class Americans of all races. When elements of the party spend decades supporting job destroying trade deals and cozying up to Wall Street and other corporate interests, it only makes sense that working people and young people’s confidence in the party as a whole has been shaken, if not shattered.
And this is not limited to white voters. Turnout in places like Detroit and Milwaukee reveal that the party’s problems cross racial lines.
Rather than face the very real challenge of remedying this situation, some have taken to blaming pollsters and data analysts for Hillary Clinton’s loss. After all, it’s much easier to bash those who didn’t see the wheels coming off the train rather than asking why the wheels were coming off in the first place.
Now we’re witnessing the scapegoating of Sanders and his supporters. Most of us knew this predictably lazy attack would come. Somehow, Senator Sanders is to blame because he brought millions into the Democratic Party process by articulating a positive vision of economic, racial, environmental and social justice.
He not only received over 13 million votes but hundreds of thousands attended his rallies and volunteered for his campaign; and millions funded his bid with over $230 million in contributions averaging less than $30 a piece.
Asking whether Sanders’ progressive message, and his authentic delivery of that message, is the path forward for the Democratic Party results in an answer that too many in the establishment cannot even begin to consider.
Brock himself stands to lose substantially if the Democratic Party engages in the type of introspection that is required. Brock ran a number of pro-Clinton organizations in the last campaign season, including a legally-suspect Super PAC.
All of these groups were funded by millions in donations from many of the Democratic Party’s most generous donors. Brock’s groups spent almost a year and tons of Democratic donor cash engaged in a covert but well-documented smear campaign against Senator Sanders.
Sanders’ completely unanticipated triumph in 23 contests and his mobilization of millions prove Brock’s attempts to derail Sanders were a failure. He then turned his guns on Trump and obviously failed.
Now he wants Democratic donors to replenish his coffers with millions for another round of mud-slinging. Hopefully, Democratic donors won’t let themselves be scammed again.
And hopefully, the Democratic Party re-establishes faith with the American working class in every zip code by authentically offering a bold and positive vision — a vision with no room for the ineffective gutter politics that benefit Mr. Brock and his friends.
Imagine if those millions wasted by Brock were used to register hundreds of thousands of new voters or to reach out to Rust Belt working class families.