Angry Democrats are pushing back against criticisms that Hillary Clinton levied against the party during an interview earlier this week, saying Clinton “mischaracterized” the DNC’s work and the quality of its data operation while “needlessly stoking internal divisions,” according to the Hill.
During an interview with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at the Recode "Code" conference earlier this week, Clinton blamed the FBI, DNC, Russian agents – everyone but herself – for her stunning election loss in November. RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel said Clinton’s comments were completely lacking in self-awareness.
Clinton has repeatedly blamed the DNC even though leaked emails have shown that the committee favored her during her primary fight against Sen. Bernie Sanders. Clinton blasted the committee as having “mediocre to poor, non-existent, wrong” data operation, the Hill reported. The remarks were also seen as a rebuke of President Obama, who chose the leaders of the DNC during his tenure.
This is all about the last campaign. And really, what Democrats should be focusing on, and what I think Hillary Clinton should be figuring out, is how do we empower the DNC to have the best data resources to win races this year, in 2018 and 2020,” a former DNC aide said.
“Having hard feelings about the data that you may or may not have received in 2016 ultimately is not the reason why we lost.”
The former secretary of state blamed the party’s polling data for failing to predict how close the race was in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – the three battleground states that ultimately handed the election to Trump. But at least one former DNCer vehemently pushed back against Clinton's allegations, saying that she was trying to blame the DNC for her own lapse in judgment.
Andrew Therriault, who served as the DNC's director of data science until last June, said Clinton’s claims were “f---ing bulls---” in a series of tweets that have since been deleted.
Therriault accused Clinton’s team of ignoring DNC data that warned of a close race in the three states that, by narrow margins, ultimately handed Trump his Electoral College victory: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
“All that said, irony of her bashing DNC data: *our* models never had mi/wi/pa looking even close to safe. Her team thought they knew better,” Therriault wrote.
As the Hill reports, Clinton made several appearances in Pennsylvania during the final months of the campaign, including on the eve of the election. But she spent little time campaigning in Michigan and Wisconsin. Ultimately, both states flipped from the Democrats to the GOP column for the first time in decades.
Another Democratic operative – identified as a “strong Clinton supporter - noted that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper used the same data that Clinton had access to, but managed to win in a battleground state that went for Trump.
John Hagner, a Democratic consultant who tapped the same DNC database while working on congressional and gubernatorial races last cycle, said Clinton misfired in criticizing the data in lieu of the campaign operatives entrusted to use it effectively.
The data are merely the “raw ingredients,” he said, while the targeting operation is “the chef that decides what to do with them.” The chef, in this case, was Clinton’s campaign team.
"Roy Cooper used the same data in North Carolina and won,” Hagner said Thursday by phone, referring to the state’s newly elected Democratic governor. “So it’s not that the data didn’t work, it’s that you have to make different decisions with it.
"Singling out the DNC, which does the best that they can do with a system that’s hard to work with, blaming them and not the decisions that got made with that data — which is definitely her campaign’s responsibility — just seemed really off-key.”
The Republicans, for their part, quickly capitalized on Hillary’s contentious remarks, highlighting her comments in press releases sent to reporters with subject lines like “We Finally Agree With Hillary” the Hill reported.
For reasons that we’ll probably never understand, the DNC decided not to hit back against Hillary. Instead, the organization sent the Hill a statement highlighting new DNC Chairman Tom Perez’s efforts to improve party infrastructure.
“Tom has said before that the DNC was not firing on all cylinders and that’s why he did a top-to-bottom review that included technology,” DNC spokesman Michael Tyler said.
“Tom is already deeply engaged with the outpouring of support from Democrats across the country, from Silicon Valley to suburban Georgia, who want to help improve the data and tech, get it in the hands of more organizers everywhere, and build the grassroots funding stream required to support those efforts.”
Unsurprisingly, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz didn’t return a call for comment – despite, as the Hill noted, serving as DNC Chair for nearly all of the Clinton primary campaign.