Interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile, spoke to students and townspeople about the importance of voting on Tuesday, Oct. 18 in Haas Center at Bloomsburg University, days after WikiLeaks leaked emails that directly involved her. Karen Smith Coates also joined her by opening the lecture with informing people of their state’s government.
People joining the audience seemed to be a part of just about every political background. Several people arrived wearing Bernie shirts and pins, a few “Make America Great Again” hats, and a sea of “I’m With Her” pins made up the audience. The consensus as to why over 400 people filled into Haas center became clear when asking an audience member why they decided to come out, “I’m really only here to see if she has anything to say about WikiLeaks and what happens next” Said student Alex Zellers.
Bloomsburg University alumni Karen Smith Coates set the stage for the event as she opened with the importance of being a part of state government. Coates is currently the Chief of Staff for the Speaker of the House. She went over how the state of Pennsylvania currently holds a monopoly over private liquor licenses and just how intricate and confusing alcohol is sold within the state. She also brought to light the PASSHE strike and how state government failed faculty members across the state. She ended with “State government is so much more than Donald vs. Hillary”
Donna Brazile is a veteran democratic political strategist that has worked on several presidential campaigns since the 80’s. She became the Interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee in July of 2016 after her predecessor Wasserman Schultz, stepped down for her remarks about Senator Bernie Sanders that were leaked from emails obtained by WikiLeaks- an online publisher of confidential information involving politics, war, and corruption.
Brazile was calm, focused, and confident with speaking in front of the packed auditorium, something one would think otherwise taking a glance from one side of the room to the other and noticing the large police force present for the lecture. She opened to the crowd congratulating them with living in such a “small and beautiful country town that was touched with every color of fall imaginable”.
After stating how people from all across the country have already casted their votes in early voting- everything was going to be okay, implying of course of Hillary’s lead during the time of the event. Brazile then got onto the topic of temperament within the office if elected, she then asked the audience “Would you not trust Hillary Clinton before Donald Trump with the nuclear codes?” immediately after asking her question a member of the audience shouted “Hell no!”, and the crowd erupted with a mix of emotions from booing to clapping.
Brazile quickly changed the subject to what everyone wanted to hear about- emails. “I have firsthand experience with cyber terrorists stealing, manipulating, and then selling the lies they produced to some Russian hacker group” Brazile stated about the WikiLeaks scandal. “To anyone that fully believes these terrorists and what they claim to have come across, and then believing that these people wouldn’t purposely manipulate what they found are people with not a lot of common sense”.
Several people within the audience stood up and approached the front of the room for their questions on just about anything to be answered by Brazile. Linda Michaels, an administrator at Bloomsburg University asked “What does it mean to you seeing a woman on top of the ballot for this election cycle?”
“Growing up during the time of segregation and seeing firsthand the struggles my people faced against not only race but gender- and then seeing a woman on top of that ballot is still something I can’t believe is a reality. I feel like I died and went to heaven! But to witness this it really puts into perspective how the limitations are slowly crumbling around us with who can run this amazing country” Replied Brazile.
Donna Brazile gave an interesting and well-rounded presentation about the importance of voting to a room filled with diverse individuals. The timing of the WikiLeaks scandal was suspect at first when she arrived, however she did a well enough job at describing the issues at hand. It’ll be interesting to learn more about future emails that could exist after the FBI has received warrants to search Hillary Clinton’s campaign computers.