She's running? Hillary aides launch new super-PAC

Old and busted: Buying the DNC. New hotness: Competing against it. NBC News reports that former aides of Hillary Clinton have launched a new super-PAC that looks an awful lot like a campaign. Party Majority, NBC reports, will “act as a parallel structure to Democratic party committees at the national and state levels,” while remaining in the hands of “Clinton world,” as Jonathan Allen characterizes it later.

What could go wrong? Plenty, actually, especially given the ostensible aim of Party Majority: 

Lux and co-founder Adam Parkhomenko, who built Ready for Hillary later served as director of grassroots engagement on Clinton’s presidential campaign and is currently a paid adviser to Clinton, have been frustrated by the lack of coordination and continuity in Democratic campaigns. Every four years, a presidential campaign builds infrastructure across the country only to see it wither by the next set of elections or as new crews take over leadership roles at party committees.

“The days of starting from scratch, not sharing information, and not working together are over,” said  [co-founder Mike] Lux, who was a special assistant for public liaison in President Bill Clinton’s White House.

Ultimately, Party Majority is designed to address what its founders see as deficiencies in the way Democrats run campaigns right now — too much emphasis on data analytics, television advertising and raising money for specific candidates and not enough on building the networks of personal relationships that activate voters and keep them engaged from election to election.

Whose fault was that? Barack Obama actually built a successful model of ground-up networking for both messaging and GOTV efforts, which helped him salvage the 2012 election, as I wrote in my book Going Red. Obama had so much success that Reince Priebus retooled the RNC to operate on a similar basis, beginning in the 2014 elections and going full strength in the 2016 cycle. Trump ended up eschewing that model, but inexplicably, so did Hillary Clinton — who ran the data-analytics, top-down, ad-driven campaign that Lux and Parkhomenko now decry.

To some extent, Team Hillary had a resource problem if they wanted to replicate the Obama model. Obama had cannibalized Democrats’ national and state resources for his campaigns, and then later folded them into his activist group OFA. The solution to that would have been to use the massive amounts of money raised by Hillary to rebuild, either within her own campaign or within the DNC, as Priebus did with the RNC, for a more durable organization. Team Hillary did neither; they instead used the Mitt Romney campaign model and ended up with Mitt Romney results.

Eventually, Democrats would have figured this out anyway. The question remaining is why Party Majority and “Clinton world” wants to do this in parallel with the party rather than within the DNC itself, as Priebus did, which would increase its durability. The obvious answer to that would be control, and in the context of Hillary’s former grip on the DNC, it’s also probably the correct answer, too. “Clinton world” wants to act as kingmaker in the 2020 cycle, or perhaps operate as a platform to give Hillary a third shot at the White House by again locking out any competition early by monopolizing GOTV resources and cash. It might be the only way for Hillary to force her way back into contention, given her incompetent handling of the 2016 cycle.

Will the DNC stand by passively and allow “Clinton world” to keep control of their prospects? Our friend and former colleague Larry O’Connor would probably bet yes, calling her the “de facto leader” of the party — and the leading candidate for 2020. Stu Varney thinks Larry’s being sarcastic, but …