In the past year, Donna Brazile has served in the leadership of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and appeared on ABC and CNN. On Wednesday, she will be in Morrell Lounge in David Saul Smith Union to deliver a talk entitled “Political Outlook: A Comprehensive Picture of What’s Going on in Washington.”
Brazile, a political commentator for ABC and adjunct professor at Georgetown University, has spent her career supporting Democratic candidates. In 2000, she was the campaign manager for Al Gore’s bid for the presidency, becoming the first African American to be in charge of a presidential campaign for a major party. Since then, she has been the vice chair of voter registration and participation at the DNC.
Most recently, Brazile campaigned for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election and served as interim chair of the DNC after the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Briana Cardwell ’17, president of the African American Society (AfAm), hopes that Brazile’s many years at the forefront of the Democratic Party will help her provide insight on the current political direction of the Party.
“[Brazile] is very involved in Washington and can give a different perspective,” Cardwell said. “She [has] information that many of us don’t.”
Benjamin Harris, Director of the Student Center for Multicultural Life, expressed a similar sentiment.
“I’m hoping she’ll be able to shed some light on what’s going on in Washington, from an insider’s point of view,” Harris said. “What are some things we as citizens should be thinking about?”
Cardwell said the talk will be followed by a short question and answer session.
Marisa O’Toole ’17, president of the Bowdoin Democrats, hopes that Brazile will discuss some of the DNC’s recent controversies.
“I would be curious to hear her thoughts about her involvement in the DNC and her perceptions on the hacking scandal—whether or not she thinks there was a conscious effort to bolster Hillary at the expense of Bernie during the Democratic Nomination race,” O’Toole said. “I’m also curious to hear her talk about the leaking of debate questions to Hillary’s team.”
The leaks revealed that Brazile had contacted the Clinton campaign to inform staffers of questions that were planned for the upcoming town halls. CNN released Brazile from her role as a contributor as a result of her contact with the campaign.
Originally planned by AfAm for Black History month, the event was moved to early March due to Brazile’s schedule. Cardwell said she hoped the talk would enhance campus discussion of current events.
“Right now, I feel like our campus is kind of silent. Her coming will be another way to revamp the conversation. Her talk will stir up both sides, the liberals and the conservatives,” said Cardwell.
Harris said Morrell Lounge was chosen as the venue for its size and accessibility. The difficulty of booking Pickard Theater made Smith Union the best option to accommodate a large number of students. Both O’Toole and Cardwell agreed that holding the event at Smith would allow the most people to attend.
“I think it’s a great space because it’s a central area on campus. Students who don’t know about the event, or weren’t planning on going, can stop by,” O’Toole said.
“I think a lot of people will [attend because] people who don’t agree with what she has to say will come just to hear her out. The people who do agree with her will be there already,” said Cardwell.
The event is organized and sponsored by Af-Am, the Student Center for Multicultural Life and the Edith Lansing Koon Sills Fund of the Society for Bowdoin Women.