House Democrats treat their 2016 autopsy as top secret

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) revealed it’s autopsy on the 2016 election Thursday. Democrats expected to pick up plenty of seats in the house as Hillary Clinton swept into office, but only wound up with a gain of six seats. Politico reports Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney presented the results as if they were top secret material, refusing to let anyone have a copy to take with them. Instead, Democratic lawmakers can only review the findings in the presence of DCCC staff.

The presentation didn’t focus on Democratic messaging and instead was heavily skewed towards money — how much the DCCC brings in, from where and how those funds are spent.

Some Democratic lawmakers and staffers complained that the cloak-and-dagger secrecy was overblown and actually makes the findings look worse than they are. But the DCCC is sticking by its strategy.

Spokeswoman Meredith Kelly told Politico, “This analysis is based on strategic information about our organization and meant for internal purposes, not public consumption.” So why all the secrecy? After all, we already know the results.

Politico doesn’t speculate on the reason for the secrecy but it does give a hint: “The document is also said to criticize the organization for the lack of diversity in consultants whom the DCCC employs.” Given the tendency of the party’s base to flip out over racial and gender issues, it’s possible this is what the DCCC doesn’t want getting out. Imagine if the report revealed that 90% of DCCC consultants were men and 80% were white. There would be innumerable think pieces about the party’s hypocrisy from the right and the left would for a circular firing squad. If the DCCC is guarding the results this closely, the numbers must make them look pretty bad.

The Democratic autopsy on the presidential race was presented in February after reports in December that big money donors were balking at committing to further giving until the party had figured out what went wrong.