Hillary Clinton has found plenty of non-Hillary Clinton things to blame for her 2016 loss, including Russia, James B. Comey, debate moderators and misogyny. But her decision Wednesday to add the Democratic National Committee to that list is predictably proving pretty sensitive inside her own party.
A top former DNC aide tweeted overnight that Clinton’s allegations were “****** ****” and even suggested that the Clinton campaign ignored its warnings about how competitive Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were. Those three states proved decisive for President Trump and, especially in the case of Michigan and Wisconsin, were neglected by the Clinton campaign.
In a Wednesday appearance at Recode’s Code Conference in California, Clinton pointed to the DNC’s data deficit when she became the Democratic nominee.
“I set up my campaign and we have our own data operation. I get the nomination. So I’m now the nominee of the Democratic Party. I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party,” Clinton said, according to a transcript. “I mean it was bankrupt, it was on the verge of insolvency, its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. I had to inject money into it – the DNC – to keep it going.”
Andrew Therriault, who served as the DNC’s director of data science and now works for the City of Boston, took exception to Clinton’s criticisms in tweets that have since been deleted.
Screenshots of his twitter show he tweeted, “DNC data folks: today’s accusations are *** ****, and I hope you understand the good you did despite that nonsense.”
Another Therriault tweet captured by the Tax Foundation’s Alan Cole and another Twitter user pointed to the Clinton campaign ignoring DNC warnings about Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Therriault said the DNC data never had those states as “even close to safe,” but the Clinton team “thought they knew better.”
It’s important to note here that Therriault left the DNC midway through 2016, so he’s not necessarily privy to late DNC data in those states. But he seems to be saying that the DNC saw early in the general election what the Clinton campaign failed to really ever see. Clinton never made a concerted effort in Michigan or Wisconsin, and these two states and Pennsylvania proved the difference after they each went by less than a point for Trump.
And his broader criticism that Clinton’s complaints don’t add up was echoed by other top Democratic data types, including Tom Bonier, who tweeted,
“Fwiw, the data operation Clinton ‘inherited’ was the most robust data operation the DNC has ever seen, including during the Obama re-elect.”
He also tweeted, “One more thought: the Clinton team was using DNC data throughout the primary. If it was that bad, they knew that for 2 yrs but did nothing.”
And here’s John Hagner, a former aide to the DNC and Democrats’ House and Senate campaign committess:
“I worked with DNC data every day last cycle, on winning Gov races. It was accurate and up-to-date and I’m grateful for their hard work.”
Hagner also tweeted, “I’ll entertain any theories that the targeting was off, but don’t have a lot of time for people blaming the core DNC data file.”
Clinton’s rehashing of the 2016 election results and the reasons she lost that were outside her control has become a regular feature of her public appearances and apparently will account for a significant portion of her forthcoming book. But there is also an emerging divide inside the Democratic Party about whether her continued presence on the national political stage is helping her party move forward.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had a tortured response this weekend when asked if Clinton running for president again would be good for the party, stating, “It’s not a good question, OK.”
Whatever you think about Clinton’s excuses for her loss and how credible they are, it’s clear this whole thing is threatening to expose some real rifts within a Democratic Party that is also eager to move forward. And now that Clinton is casting blame upon her own national party for her loss, that’s only going to exacerbate things.
Therriault comments to The Washington Post: “Even if they weren’t meant to be taken personally, yesterday’s comments were hurtful to a lot of people, and it really upset me to see that happen to my team. After posting, my tweets got way more attention than I’d expected, and most of it wasn’t from people who actually cared about DNC data; it was from people who either wanted to re-argue last year’s elections or enjoyed watching Dems fight amongst themselves. I’m not interested in providing material for either of those, so I took them down to avoid further drama.”
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Aaron Blake