Talk about a happy warrior in a thankless job. As chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) has taken brickbats from the right and the left as she raised money for Democrats and defended them against Republican attacks. And members of her own party have been gunning for her for quite some time. In particular, the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and the man himself made her ouster from the DNC one of their primary goals.
Well, a trove of emails made public by WikiLeaks that showed a lack of the required impartiality in the primary contest between Sanders and Hillary Clinton accomplished what Sanders could not. Wasserman Schultz announced she would vacate the leadership of the DNC at the end of the convention. Her shout-filled experience before the Florida delegation Monday morning must have played a part in her decision to not gavel the convention to order and deliver remarks.
I was inside Quicken Loans Arena when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) concluded his speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. It already sounded like the Roman Colosseum as the vanquished candidate for the GOP presidential nomination refused to formally endorse Donald Trump. But the boos that erupted when he concluded his remarks sounded like a crowd demanding the death of a gladiator.
The reception that would have awaited Wasserman Schultz if she had walked across the convention stage on Monday would have been far worse. For herself and whatever political future she envisions after Philadelphia, Wasserman Schultz made the right decision to spare herself a final indignity.
Now, let me weigh in on another aspect of this email scandal. The malicious missives do not prove that the DNC thwarted the will of the people and denied Sanders the nomination. Folks who invoke the “thumb on the scale” phrase are the worst offenders. Believing this requires one to ignore facts. Let me just highlight two of them.
Yeah, the Democratic debate schedule made no sense, as debates took place on odd nights, at random hours and even during the NFL playoffs. People thought the DNC and Clinton were trying to hide. But the debates were where Clinton shined brightest. Her ability to talk both domestic and foreign policy with ease only served to highlight Sanders’s deficiencies.
Sanders only has himself and his campaign to blame for their inability to appeal to the core constituencies of the Democratic Party that determine who gets the nomination. The senator from Vermont got blown out in the South. That the Sanders campaign dismissed her victories there as being in “historically red states” that are from “the most conservative part of this great country” was a slap in the face to the black voters whose overwhelming votes were the key to Clinton’s ultimate victory.
And Sanders’s inability or unwillingness to transform his massive crowds into registered Democrats who could vote in the New York primary showed a campaign that seemed more interested in sending a message than in making his political revolution a politically viable force.
Wasserman Schultz and the DNC are not the reasons Sanders will not be accepting the Democratic nomination for president this week. He and his campaign are. Primaries, like all elections, have consequences. That Sanders’s supporters refuse to accept them says more about them than it does about a system they swear is rigged against them.
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