Debbie Wasserman Schultz uses her position as the Democratic National Committee Chair to exert her own biased influence at the expense of the party’s integrity.
Prior to the beginning of the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries, Ms. Wasserman Schultz was already under fire for her abysmal leadership, which contributed to heavy 2014 midterm losses in both the House and Senate for Democrats. In her home state of Florida, she refused to support three Democratic challengers to congressional positions because of her friendships with Republican colleagues. The 2014 losses gave the majority of the House and Senate to the Republican Party, thereby undermining any legislative efforts of the Democratic Party.
The only person who hasn’t called for more debates is Ms. Clinton, who benefits from not being faced with the questions that contributed to her downfall in 2008.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s favoritism of Hillary Clinton makes Democrats look corrupt and untrustworthy. Her most recent highly-publicized mistake blocked access to Sanders’ own voter data as punishment for a Sanders campaign staffer breaching the Clinton voter database, following an independent vendor’s firewall malfunction. After media blitz and outrage from Mr. Sanders’ campaign, Ms. Wasserman Schultz quickly retracted the punishment prior to the third Democratic presidential primary debate, held in New Hampshire on December 19.
A suspect debate schedule administered by Ms. Wasserman Schultz is one of the strongest pieces of evidence for her bias. Ms. Wasserman Schultz decreased the total number of debates from 26 in 2008 (when Barack Obama defeated Ms. Clinton in the primaries and Ms. Wasserman Schultz was co-chair of Ms. Clinton’s campaign), to six in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries. Ms. Wasserman Schultz also enacted a new rule effectively banning any candidate who participates in an unsanctioned debate from participating in sanctioned debates. Virtually the only person who hasn’t called for more debates is Ms. Clinton, who benefits from the lack of exposure and from not being publicly faced with the difficult questions that contributed to her downfall in 2008.
The debate schedule also favors Ms. Clinton in that the debates are strategically timed during low TV rating slots—competing with national football games on Saturday nights—while the Republican debates are scheduled during the week, getting more exposure to the American public. Ms. Wasserman Schultz can’t expect the Democrats to defeat the Republicans in 2016 if the Democratic candidates don’t receive comparable coverage to voters.
One DNC leader who called for more debates was Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Vice Chairwoman of the DNC. Ms. Gabbard was disinvited from the first Democratic debate by Ms. Wasserman Schultz for speaking out. Ms. Gabbard’s decision to favor what is fair is one of many reasons the DNC should hire her to replace Ms. Wasserman Schultz.
Under Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s rule, the DNC is setting itself up for failure in 2016.
Ms. Gabbard would be a stark improvement from lackluster leadership of Ms. Wasserman Schultz, who assumed the position as DNC chair in 2011. Co-founding her own environmental non-profit to protect Hawaii at the age of 19, Ms. Gabbard is one of only two female combat veterans currently serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is also the youngest female and the first American Hindu ever elected to Congress. Her record is one Democrats can take pride in, and Ms. Gabbard would provide a fresh, well-liked face going into a key election cycle in 2016.
The Democrats need to fix what isn’t working. Under Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s rule, the DNC has made egregious violations and mistakes, and is setting itself up for failure in 2016. Ms. Wasserman Schultz has driven the finances of the DNC into the ground, getting outraised by the Republican National Committee by $65 million since January 2013. The DNC owes $1.2 million more than it has in the bank, essentially going into the 2016 elections bankrupt.
The obvious favoritism of Ms. Clinton by Ms. Wasserman Schultz undermines the credibility of the DNC. Ms. Wasserman Schultz courted super-delegates for Ms. Clinton prior to the first Democratic debate, with many announcing their formal endorsements for Ms. Clinton early in the race to an unprecedented degree.
This summer, the DNC Finance Chairman, Henry R. Munoz III, reportedly helped organize a fundraiser for Ms. Clinton in San Antonio, despite strict DNC rules stipulating all DNC officers remain impartial during the nomination process. No reprimand to Mr. Munoz was given by Ms. Wasserman-Schultz.
In Nevada, a key primary state, the Democratic Party’s office in Carson City, Nevada shares the same office space as the Clinton campaign, despite local party chapters traditionally expected to remain neutral in primary elections to maintain a fair political process.
If the Democratic Party wants to appear reputable and trustworthy in the upcoming 2016 elections to the American public, they need to get rid of Debbie Wasserman Schultz.