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Whatever Happened to Donna Brazile?

The wackiest political development this past weekend was the arbitrary division of the Michigan and Florida Democratic Convention delegates. Final result: The delegates will be seated at the convention in August, but each vote will count only half. For one member of the Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee, Donna Brazile, this decision should have provoked a lot of ire.

As Al Gore’s presidential campaign manager, Brazile published an op-ed in the Washington Post on December 25, 2000. By then, Gore had conceded the election, but Brazile was still worried enough about alleged voting suppression in Florida to write the following, an attempt to de-legitimize the election results:

I hope the civil rights community will start the healing process by holding town meetings and vigils on Jan. 15, the birthday of Martin Luther King and a federal holiday.

As for me, this was supposed to be my last campaign—my exit from grass-roots politics and moving on to other things to enjoy—such as teaching, cooking and gardening. But how can anyone move on with so many angry voices and so much bitterness? With all the progress made over the past eight years under the leadership of President Clinton and Vice President Gore, we must still fight on and work with Congress and the new administration on fixing what ails some of us at the ballot box.

The question must now be posed to Brazile: how does eliminating half the voting power of the Michigan and Florida voters rectify of ballot-box ailments? Moreover, why should an “uncommitted” vote be automatically awarded to Barack Obama, as it now is resolved to be for 45% of the Democratic voters in Michigan? Brazile’s outlook seems to have changed, without explanation or qualification. According to the Los Angeles Times,

Brazile described herself as wanting to give the two states a voice at the convention, but “I also want to put on the record, because this goes to what my mama taught me . . . that when you decide to change the rules, especially [in the] middle of the game, end of the game, that is referred to as cheating.”

Cheers, boos and applause followed.

Brazile urged the panel to craft a compromise that would “pay tribute” to voters who wrote in candidates or did not go to the polls.

So, since the state parties “cheated,” as Brazile calls it, the voters of each state lose their voting power. Sounds like voter suppression to me! What about the will of the people?

In her 2000 Op-Ed, Brazile ends by suggesting that she will take a much-needed break from politics and take time to turn in upon herself:

But as most Americans prepare for a new political season in Washington, I look forward to cooking and stirring my creole gumbo. After I open my gifts, I will go down to my basement and play favorite songs from my youth—songs that will remind me that the struggle for civil rights in America will never die unless we let it.

What say you now, Donna? Perhaps the time has come for yet another self-indulging trip to the basement.



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