WASHINGTON – Former Democratic National Committee Interim Chairwoman Donna Brazile urged African-Americans to stop “giving up” their votes to Democrats without demanding an “agenda” from the party that “matches their needs,” describing their political power as “enormous.”
Brazile said she had to stand up to her own party and say “hell no” after its leaders told her to “shut up.”
“We have to stop giving up our votes. I have done just about everything in the Democratic Party but run for office – everything that they have asked me to do. I have done it. I have registered millions of people in my lifetime. I have knocked on so many doors that I cannot even see the black of my own knuckles. I have carried their water,” Brazile said during her keynote address at the Stateswomen for Justice Luncheon last week, which was organized by Trice Edney Communications.
“I have put their platform within my heart to support. I have championed their issues. And when it came time for me to say what I believed was important, they said ‘shut up, Donna’ and I said ‘hell no, I am not shutting up,’” she added.
Brazile was critical of Democrats such as President Obama and former DNC chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) in her book Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House, which was released in November.
“We had three Democratic parties: the party of Barack Obama, the party of Hillary Clinton, and this weak little vestige of a party led by [Wasserman Schultz] that was doing a very poor job getting people who were not president elected,” Brazile wrote in the book.
“[Obama] left it in debt. Hillary bailed it out so that she could control it, and Debbie went along with all of this because she liked the power and perks of being a chair but not the responsibilities,” Brazile also wrote. “As I saw it, these three titanic egos – Barack, Hillary, and Debbie – had stripped the party to a shell for their own purposes.”
During the event, Brazile told the predominantly African-American audience that they should hold town hall meetings and show “initiative” far ahead of this year’s midterm elections. She also emphasized the need to register to vote because most provisional ballots are discarded.
“Have your town hall meetings because if you don’t show your initiative that you want your issues addressed, they will drive right past you and will come after you in the last 48 hours of the campaign. By then, the love is gone,” she said, referencing R&B singers Teddy Pendergrass and Luther Vandross before cracking a joke.
“Y’all go ahead and do that Teddy Pendergrass on them. I’ll do Luther. I still don’t know how people have sex without listening to those people,” she quipped. “I wash my dirty mouth out every night with chardonnay or cabernet.”
Brazile told the audience she is personally dedicated to removing Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry from office. Landry recently announced that the state would not charge Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, the police officers who shot Alton Sterling in July of 2016.
The officers responded to call about an altercation at a convenience store in Louisiana involving Sterling, who was armed. The officers reportedly said Sterling attempted to reach for his gun.
A video that was released after Sterling’s death did not show whether or not he had reached for his firearm before the police fired multiple shots into Sterling’s chest while they had him pinned down on the pavement.
“You’re going out next year. If I do nothing else in my life next year in 2019, the good Lord give me breath, I am going to every city and college campus in Louisiana, even if I have to change my address and say, Mr. Landry, I am coming for you,” she said.
“Shooting somebody 20 times in the head. Shooting people and you see them shooting them…they have a picture of a cop with his knee on the man’s back shooting him and there is no conviction. You want to know what is on the ballot? Your freedom is on the ballot. Your dignity is on the ballot. Your very life is on the ballot,” she added.