[a book review]
Hacks, The Inside Story of the Break-Ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump In The White House. New York: Hachette Books, 2017.
There are 4 major themes in Hacks: (1) a general account of the Clinton election campaign (including Clinton’s health problems); (2) an ideological self-portrait of Donna Brazile, which includes much on her racial and sexual abuse of subordinates; (3) an account of the ineffectiveness of the Democratic National Committee; and (4) the claim that Russian hacking decided everything.
This book is about entitlement: Hillary Clinton’s entitlement to be President because she is a woman,  and Brazile’s entitlement to deference and power because she is Black. On page after page, she denounces Trump in racist and sleazy terms, and then decries the fact that people characterize her in racist and sleazy terms. 
Throughout the book, Brazile raises issues and poses rhetorical questions (supposedly in 2016) that she knows have been answered by the time the book was written (2017). Brazile is, after all, not writing history, but polemic, and is positioning the DNC for the 2020 election campaign. As she says, everything wrong in the world is Trump’s fault , everything wrong with the world is the fault of the FBI for announcing the Weiner files , and yes, it is all Russia’s fault .
(1) a general account of the Clinton election campaign
From the beginning, Brazile was concerned that the Clinton-Robbie Mook model of Big Data analytics was insufficient to mobilize voters. [54-56] Brazile notes that she had a sense of responsibility about the murder of Seth Rich [80-81] even though he was dead before she took over the DNC. She makes the surprising claim that Seth Rich was alive and talking after police arrived, only dying later.  (She might be sincere, but sympathy for Rich gives her the opportunity to denounce Wikileaks and the “conspiracy theories” about his death.)
The story of Clinton’s obsession with using people dressed like Donald Duck [p73 seq.] to discredit Donald Trump forms much of Chapter 8, but only as comic relief, and perhaps to show that Clinton was isolated and out of touch. Then Trump addressed African -Americans by asking what they had to lose by voting for him, after years of neglect by the Democrats, and Brazile reluctantly admits he is right after bristling: “The nerve of this guy to call out Hillary”, etc. 
The Clinton campaign was convinced that the election was locked up. Clinton’sBig Data computers confirmed it down to the precinct level,  and they had no interest in Brazile’s “old fashioned”, messy street-level person-to-person approach, even if for Brazile it was just people with Black skin (Brazile) talking to people with Black skin: in this context, she articulates her “Black Skin privilege’.  The atmosphere in the Clinton headquarters in Brooklyn, where rows of White male bots sat hunched over their computers was what Brazile called the “cyberhush”.  (I do think that if Brazile had a larger role in the campaign, she would have turned out more Blacks. Recall that Roger Stone in ‘The Making of the President 2016’ says it was the Black vote that decided the results in several key states, a combination of low Democratic turnout and a higher than expected Trump vote among Blacks.)
Chatter 11, “The Collapse” is about Clinton’s increasingly obvious health problems, which are never definitively described. At the DNC annual LGBT Leadership Council she notes Clinton had a puffy face, and he skin was pale and papery; her eyes were glazed and she could not hold a conversation, coughing and wobbly on her feet. [105-106] At that meeting she uttered the “Basket of Deplorables” denunciation of half of America as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, islamophobic”; Brazile compares it to Mitt Romney’s comment on the 47% of Americans who were dependent on welfare and who therefore voted Democratic. [107-108] (Note: This single word “islamophobe” is the only time Islam or Muslims are mentioned in Brazile’s book.)
Then, on September 11, Clinton collapsed in public, and then her campaign issued a series of contradictory statements about the problem, none of which made much sense. [108-111] Brazile had the power to replace Clinton, but decided not to, because Clinton was entitled to be President. [113-117] Later Brazile would denounce speculation on Clinton’s health, both in public and in the book,  even though she had said much worse herself. When Trump criticizes Clinton for her “stamina”, Brazile claims it is a code word for a weak woman,  even though Brazile had said much worse herself.
Brazile shrugs off James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas video of Democracy Partners’s Bob Creamer and Scott Foval boasting about using paid agents to start riots at trump events and how the Clinton campaign was money-laundering funds through a network of contractors and PACs. [177-178] Then Brazile doxxes the women journalist who worked for Project Veritas. . She notes the Project Veritas journalist came to work at the DNC but left almost immediately without a word to anyone;  later Brazile falsely claims she had been harassed by that reporter.  Brazil dismisses the criticism of Democracy Partners for staging riots and money laundering as “foolishness”.  Project Veritas is never mentioned by name. (Just watch it yourself: https://www.projectveritasaction.com/)
As the campaign drew to a close, Brazile claims she feared Clinton would lose and scrambled to get some ground game in key areas, like Detroit. [202-203, 210-211] Then the Weiner laptop stuffed with Clinton emails was discovered and, Brazile believes, handed the election to Trump by triggering the latent disloyalty of White women, the weakest link in the Clinton POC coalition. [205-206] her last minute push for votes is portrayed as a personal challenge to the “motherfucker” Vladmir Putin.  Brazile’s complains that the media was always against her and against Clinton. [15, 183-184] Her concerns that the Big Data was wrong, in the context of a listless campaign that had as the election neared proved correct.  All the polls showed Clinton winning. 
Then “the Russians had won”. 
(2) an ideological self-portrait of Donna Brazile:
Brazile as a manager systematically racially discriminated against White employees. She constantly plays the race card to assert her Affirmative Action rights as a Black person (even though she hardly needs them).
Brazile is a srong supporter of Black Lives Matter and even sees herself as a spokesman for their concerns; she has no criticism of their often violent tactics. 
One glimpse of Brazile’s racial attitudes comes with the Clinton campaign handler in the DNC, (previous SEIU activist) Brandon Davis: She notes: “I’m always inclined to help a young black man on his way up the political ladder.”  A serious discussion for Brazile is a “Black-on-Black” conversation since Brazile ignores her White subordinates (who are rarely mentioned).  Even though Brandon was a constant obstacle, at the end of the campaign she kept him on for an extra month, unlike the White staff who were immediately fired, because he was Black and she therefore cared about him. [225-226]
The only time she breaks ranks on race is when she wonders whether Seth Rich was murdered because he was White. 
Brazil even gloats about her “Black Skin Privilege” as an advantage over non-Blacks, in the context of getting out the Black vote in Florida. 
Her discontent with the Clinton campaign attitude towards her and DNC is reflected in the racialized complaint that the Clinton Campaign was treating her like “Pastey the slave”. [127-128]
Brazile sexually harasses White male employees and outside professionals in the crudest possible terms. TERF Brazile does not believe trans are real women. Brazile is a rape enabler, if the rapist is a political ally. She constantly plays the gender card to assert her Affirmative Action rights as a Black person (even though she hardly needs them).
Brazile claims that criticism of her, and online attacks, were motivated by the fact that she was “working for a female candidate”.  Oddly, Brazile makes it clear that she does not really believe that Caitlyn Jenner is really a woman. 
Chapter 6: ‘Gentlemen, Let’s Put Our Dicks on the Table’, is about Brazile’s first important meeting with the Clinton campaign: It is framed by her racist and sexist remarks that are abusive and would trigger the immediate termination of any White man who treated Black profession women, the way that Black Brazile treats White professional men. (bigger dick ) Just try to imagine what a White man who treated Black profession women could say that is comparable.
Brazile views everything on the basis of entitlement: When Trump “insults” Clinton for her “stamina”, Brazile claims it is a code word for a weak woman,  even though Brazile had said much worse herself. For Brazile, since Trump is a White man, he has no right to make the kind of judgments about Hillary, as a woman, that Brazile, as a Black woman can make: Brazile has the entitlement, Trump does not.  Similarly, when Trump responded to the Access Hollywood tape by noting that Bill Clinton had raped Juanita Broaddrick and Hillary was a rape enabler, her only reaction was to find Trump’s tweet distasteful: Brazile had no interest in Bill Clinton’s rape victims: Broaddrick was entitled to nothing. 
Only at the end of nine pages of acknowledgements does Brazile append that: “I’m proud to be an America”. if it were true, it would be on page 1.
(3) an account of the ineffectiveness of the Democratic National Committee
When she was suddenly made DNC director, she found it was “three Democratic parties” hollowed out by the still ongoing Obama campaign, dominated by the Clinton campaign, and Wasserman-Schultz’s residuum.  Everyone used it like a piggy bank: Almost until leaving office Obama had a $180000 a year pollster at DNC to verify how much people loved him. 
Hillary describes the “Joint Fund-Raising Agreement” agreement, signed in August 2015, that gave Clinton control of all monies raised at the national or state level and complete control of virtually every aspect of the DNC, including its press releases, budget and hiring decisions. [96-97] Normally, such power over the DNC follows the selection of the candidate. The agreement might not have been illegal, but it was unethical.  She discussed it with Bernie Sanders, who was not too surprised, although a bit concerned about whether Clinton could really win. [102-103]
(4) the claim that Russian hacking decided everything
Early on as head of the DNC, Brazile was briefed on “Russian” hacking of the DNC, [66-67] which she quickly described as an act of war.  It would be truer to say several hackers walked through an open door since the DNC had made no real provisions for computer security.  Chapter 13: Hacker House, 133-143] Although she refuses to describe what she was told since it is so secret, she drops many hints, and its seems like she was basically given the story that appears in the “Grizzy Steppe” document of December 29, 2016, which was quickly discredited by independent experts, in part because it deliberatly confused notional actors (identified only by use of a common set of tools) like “Cozy Bear” and “Fancy Bear” with Russian intelligence agencies. [70, 119]
Brazile claims to have bene in contact with the mysterious “Spook”, who knew and saw all: he told her in detail about the Russian war plan against America and Hillary Clinton in particular. The Spook confirmed that only Hillary Clinton could save America from an omnipresent and evil Vladimir Putin. [100-101] The entire story of the Spook is nonsense.
On the even of Wikileaks releasing the the first of the Podesta emails, Brazile issued a statement denouncing the Russians for the hacking.  That claim remains unproven as of November 2017. Cozy Bear entered through malware and Podesta was phished.  [see also: https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/34899] Brazile claims to have been so freaked out by the Russian hacking claims that she started to fear that Vladimir Putin would have a sniper shoot her through the picture window in her office.  Many of her staffers started to believe they were surrounded by Russians wherever they went. 
Brazile is mystified by the failure of Pres. Obama and the intelligence agencies to tell the country what she had been told in private. [128-129] When those statements and reports were released in 2017, they were quickly discredited. Perhaps that explains the failure to release those same unproven accusations in 2016. On October 5, the Department of Homeland Security released a statement blaming the DNC hacking on Russia and claiming that Wikileaks acted as an agent of Russia. [147-148] The statement got little social media traction because it was not credible. When Julian Assange would suggest Seth Rich had been his source for the DNC emails, Brazile was furious and deemed it to be a conspiracy theory. [148-149]
When Brazile started to celebrate the Access Hollywood tape, Wikileaks dumped 50000 Podesta emails. [150-151] When Trump responded to the Access Hollywood tape by noting that Bill Clinton had raped Juanita Broaddrick and Hillary was a rape enabler, her only reaction was to find Trump’s tweet distasteful: Brazile had no interest in Bill Clinton’s rape victims. 
Chapter 15, “The Terror Comes Home” [157-168] is the story of the a Podesta email leaked by Wikileaks, purportedly from Brazil to Palmieri (Brazile thinks Palmieri is a bitch ), that indicates that Brazile gave CNN debate questions before hand to Clinton, before debating Bernie Sanders. Fundamentally, Brazile claims she does not remember it and claims it might be a forgery. (As of November 2017, not one of the leaked emails has been proven to be a forgery.) Just before CNN before Brazile for leaking the debate questions, she resigned. [161-162] Later she tries again with he forgery theory. 
Brazile applauds Clinton for making the Russian hacking case in a debate, but the accusation did not stick. [182-183] Then Chapter 17, “Firefighters” [185-198] continues the story of the hackers to try to validate the unproven claims of Russian hacking. Brazile follows this with a story of a possible bugging at the DNC (it did not happen) and a bug sweep of the offices, which found nothing (Brazile was not convinced). [199-201] On January 6, Obama ordered the declassification of a report on Russian hacking.  Little more than an attempt to discredit the new President, it did not even pretend that even one vote had been changed by the Russians.  Brazile wrote an op-ed for Time Magazine denouncing the Russians,  but no one reads Time anymore.
It is worth adding that the hacking of the DNC had little impact on the Clinton presidential campaign because the campaign had its own computers that were not hacked. (Similarly, someone tried to hack the RNC computers but failed.) Ultimately, the reason why the Department of Homeland Security, the intelligence agencies and Senate and House Intelligence Committees, as well as the Clinton campaign did not care about the DNC hacking was that it did not matter to the election.