On Fox News Sunday, Paul Ryan was asked about the Donna Brazile revelations regarding Hillary Clinton’s control of the DNC during the primaries.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Ryan said. He continued, “We all said that the Clintons thought they lived above the rules but this takes the cake. I mean this is pretty amazing. For them to basically be running the DNC in a primary.
“To see such a deck stacked is really pretty jaw-dropping to me. No wonder the Democrats are ticked off. I would be too. It’s amazing to me how the Clintons just lived above the law, or above the rules in this thing. I understand why they are mad about this. They should be mad about this. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this, frankly.”
Note that Paul pulled back after suggesting this was above the law, correcting himself that it was “above the rules.” He did go on to say that the FEC should look into it to determine “whether they broke campaign finance laws.”
“We don’t legally regulate how the parties set up their bylaws, but to have a primary—it had one of the primary participants stacking the deck and running the party, I’ve never heard of that before,” Ryan said. He added, “That is—just takes the cake in my mind.”
The divisions in the Democratic Party between Bernie Bros and Hillary supporters have never healed. Hillary’s people planned to run roughshod over Sanders and then justify it retroactively by winning the election. The fact that they didn’t win has left them open to endless questions about what might have been if Bernie had gotten a fair shake. In the midst of that, Donna Brazile’s revelation about Hillary’s control of the DNC is the equivalent of squeezing lemon juice on the wound. And, it seems there are more such revelations in Brazile’s book, even questioning Hillary’s fitness to run.
All Republicans have to do at this point is exactly what Ryan does here: Pile on. Express sympathy for the Sanders’ supporters who (rightly) feel taken advantage of by the process and then step back and enjoy some Jiffy Pop.
Of course, the media is still going to do its thing. As we’ve seen over and over, bad news for Democrats can always be transformed into “Republicans seize on…” headlines (here’s NBC doing just that). That’s an unavoidable aspect of having a national media that empathizes first and often exclusively with Democrats. But media bias is not going to stop the underlying problem in the party from festering.
One thing that might help is to have Hillary Clinton step away from the spotlight. Given that she’s run and lost in two presidential elections it’s not clear why she’s still vying to be the face of the party. It’s not just the book and the book tour. She’s also started that Onward Together group. Her presence on the national stage is a constant reminder of the last campaign and all the bitterness that comes with it. But for some reason, she refuses to walk away and let the dust settle. Is she thinking about running again? For that matter, is Bernie? A 2020 rehash of 2016 could turn into an epic intra-party battle. It could be time to buy Jiffy Pop in bulk.