Due to popular demand, I will be temporarily reviving this here blog for the duration of the Democratic National Convention. For those who do not know, I was elected as a delegate for Senator Sanders back in the Spring. I arrived in Philadelphia late yesterday afternoon, when I was greeted by Lin-Manuel Miranda dressed up as Mark Lindsay.
The big news materialized some time while I was in the air en route to the City of Brotherly Battery Throwing from Tucson, so I got to hear about it when I landed: Democratic Party Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz will be resigning effective at the end of this week.
It should be made clear that Wasserman Schultz’s resignation at this point is largely symbolic. The nomination having been secured by Secretary Clinton, day-to day operations at the Democratic National Committee will be taken over by her people and she would have largely been a figurehead anyway. However, this was a demand by Senator Sanders,’ and shows a recognition that the party as an institution recognizes that her approach was a problem. This is the first of the twelve steps.
According to the teevee news in the hotel lobby this news has thrown the Convention “into chaos.” I suspect that this is just an effort to make a story where none exists, as this has not been my experience so far. The reactions I have heard from my admittedly small sample of delegates range from shrugs to jubilation, even from Clinton’s supporters whom one would expect to feel differently. I was surprised to hear one longtime Arizona Democratic stalwart who had reason to know what he was talking about, a Clinton supporter from day one who was still trying to dissuade me from supporting Sanders, dissing the chairwoman as unlikeable. Clearly, there are a lot of people who are less than impressed with her outside of those of us on the left who she worked so hard to dismiss and insult.
It should de made clear that I do not think that the emails support the contention that the primaries were “fixed” by the DNC. Having worked to build support among constituencies all over the country for decades, Senator Clinton had every possible advantage in her quest for the nomination. That Sanders was able to organize a credible challenge that gave her a significant scare speaks to the power of his message and his ability to mobilize supporters. At best, if these DNC staffers did what they talked about, it would have been gratuitous and unnecessary. Nonetheless, what came out is pretty damning about attitudes toward the Democratic rank and file at the DNC and does not speak well of her leadership. Even former DNC chair Terry MacAuliffe, whose approach to politics is much closer to Wasserman Schultz’s than Sanders, said on NPR that he would never have tolerated this sort of behavior among his staff during his tenure.
It is unlikely that this resignation would have happened without at least the tacit approval of the President and Secretary Clinton, so there seems to be broad recognition that Wasserman Schultz’s approach was not necessarily well-suited to building the coalition necessary to win this election. Clearly, there is much more to this job than fundraising prowess and the ability to passionlessly repeat talking points on MSNBC.