Donna Brazile said it’s been a “very difficult six months” as a television political analyst. The author and Democratic National Committee vice chairwoman has discussed the Ferguson protests and the Eric Garner case on CNN and ABC — topics that weigh heavily on her when she thinks about her 19 nieces and nephews.
Brazile spoke Friday evening to a packed crowd of more than 250 at Fresno State’s North Gym auditorium as part of a lecture series organized by the university’s Africana Studies Program. The talk largely centered on encouraging young people and minorities to vote. Brazile said the officer-involved incidents in Missouri and New York and the nation’s current gridlocked political landscape show “we’ve still got a long way to go.”
Alluding several times to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech, Brazile said, “The things that are keeping us back are often the things that kept us back 100 years ago and 50 years ago.”
“We’ve given up too much of our power to people who don’t have our best interest in mind,” she told the audience. “People who don’t know how to march the march, but can talk the talk.”
Brazile also stumped for Sanger Democrat Amanda Renteria, who has been linked to the national political director job for Hilary Clinton’s potential presidential campaign. Renteria, who was in attendance, has not commented on the reports and Clinton has not formally announced plans to run in the 2016 election.
“Although they have not officially announced, her name has surfaced and I think she’ll make an excellent choice if she accepts it — and if Hilary runs,” Brazile said of Renteria. “It’s a very important position that allows her to to do outreach across the country. She’d make a tremendous asset to the campaign and I’m looking forward to working with her — if and when that day comes.”
Most of the audience stayed after the discussion for an hourlong Q&A session. When asked by two Fresno State students what impact young voters have on elections, Brazile told them, “You all put the first black president in office. You broke the mold.”
Another Fresno State student asked her what she would’ve done if she had been one of the bystanders in the Garner incident, during which several people recorded the death of a black New York man after he was struck by a stun gun and choked by New York police officers.
“I would have never allowed him to sit there and just die without trying to help,” she said.