Bernie Sanders has been saying for eight months that the Democratic National Committee rigged the primary system. He also has long said that, in the interest of fair play, DNC Chair Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz should be forced to resign.
Emails written by DNC CFO Brad Marshall, released yesterday by Wikileaks, suggest Sanders had it right. We knew early on that the DNC thought Hillary a better choice than Bernie in November, so it scheduled fewer debates, started them later in the season than did the Republicans, and held them on Saturday nights to minimize the audience. But the DNC Chair oversaw a thumb-on-the-scale operation that went farther.
The emails suggested that Sanders be critiqued because of his religion. He is Jewish, but Committee staffers were suggesting that, beyond being a non-practicing Jew, he is an atheist (which he says he isn’t). This is totally outrageous and un-American. A move is now underway to deny Schultz a speaking role at the convention that she is running. The DNC Rules Committee has named Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio to wield the gavel at the sessions.
A new chair will be chosen anyway by Clinton after the gathering in Philadelphia. But Schultz should be required to step down today. This issue shouldn’t be allowed to permeate the convention in the drip-drip-drip way that RNC handlers fumbled that plagiarizing of Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech by Melania Trump did.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook dodged the larger question on this morning’s talking head confabs, raising the specter that it was Russian hackers who had compromised the DNC computer system for a year. He hinted that Russian hacking was designed to help Donald Trump, who has shown an affinity for Vladimir Putin. That’s a distraction, but it does indicate a disturbing lack of security in the Democrats’ computer system during Schultz’s watch.
Regardless of how the information was leaked, the emails speak for themselves. People at the DNC were thinking in traditional Nixonian terms, and the person at the top of the organization, Debbie Wasserman Schultz should be held accountable.
There are additional reasons Schultz shouldn’t head the party beyond her feckless leadership in the 2014 mid-term races. Sanders adds that she doesn’t address the working class concerns that have been the drivers of his campaign. After receiving many donations from the banking industry and $68,000 from payday lenders, Schultz voted against proposals to have the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulate payday loans.
She should have been dropped long before now. Forcing her to step down today has important symbolic value and could do much to ensure the fragile rapprochement between Sanders and Clinton supporters. The Democrats need to demonstrate that they are more unified than the Republicans. Discord won’t sell well.
Some have recommended that Housing Secretary Julian Castro speak in Schultz’s stead, which has some appeal. There’s plenty of talent to replace her in that role and as party chair. (It appears Donna Brazile will be the interim chairwoman through the election.) The need is for the Democrats to remove Debbie Wasserman Schultz now.
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