House Democrats Hide 2016 Autopsy, Won't Even Allow Members to Have Copies

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April 28, 2017

An official Democratic "autopsy" detailing the miscues and mistakes that led to their 2016 election losses will not be made public but will be kept strictly under lock and key.

The practice of election autopsies took off in 2012 when Republicans drafted and then publicly released a detailed breakdown of why presidential candidate Mitt Romney lost and how to fix the mistakes in the future. Democrats likewise did their own autopsy after their 2014 midterm election losses.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee set out to draft a similar autopsy after only picking up six seats in the House in 2016, far less than expected. But this time around, the public won't learn any of the findings.

New York Congressman Sean Maloney presented his report to Democratic congressmen during a closed meeting at the DCCC headquarters, Politico reported on Thursday. Only two dozen lawmakers showed up, none of whom were allowed to take copies with them.

Members have complained that the secrecy makes the conclusions seem far worse than they actually were. They tell Politico that the autopsy didn't focus on messaging strategies, but was more concerned with organization, data collection, and increasing fundraising efforts.

But House Democrats aren't releasing the report. "This analysis is based on strategic information about our organization and meant for internal purposes, not public consumption," a DCCC spokesman said in a statement.