Presidential Campaign

Why Wasserman Schultz must go

Greg Nash

The role of Democratic Party chair is a high honor. Holding that position requires a combination of many attributes. Beyond being the face and chief messenger of the party, you must possess the skills of a consummate diplomat. Above all, the members of your party must trust you. This trust is most needed and required during the presidential campaign season.

{mosads}One public posture is essential: that of being neutral. On that critical factor, the present chair of the Democratic Party has failed miserably.

From the very beginning of the campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination, the chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), has violated the principle of neutrality. It started with her pushing for a very limited amount of debates, so that the challengers to front-runner Hillary Clinton would not be given the opportunity to express their views to the widest possible audience.

To make matters even worse, Wasserman Schultz arranged and scheduled the debates at the worst possible times and dates. Then there was the setting up of a joint fundraising committee of the DNC and the Clinton campaign. What could be more of a blatant act of collusion? How in any way could this be defined as being neutral? In addition, early in the campaign, Wasserman Schultz unilaterally suspended Sen. Bernie Sanders’s access to the DNC voter database. Another act of neutrality? Until recently, she had packed convention committees with only minimal input from the Sanders campaign.

For Clinton to run a successful general election campaign and defeat Republican nominee Donald Trump, she needs to unite the Democratic Party behind her.

Having Sanders and his millions of loyal Democrats feeling excluded from positions of influence and respect will alienate this key constituency and lead to the party’s defeat. Wasserman Schultz seems to be running her own campaign to ingratiate herself to Clinton so that Clinton will keep her on in her present position or, even better, will offer her a high-profile Cabinet job if elected president. Wasserman Schultz almost seems to be auditioning for this chance. The resentment and anger of the Sanders people is such that they are contributing to her primary challenger, Tim Canova. That’s never happened before. (For the record, Sanders has endorsed Canova.)

As reported by CNN, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a Clinton supporter, “told CNN Wednesday that Wasserman Schultz is seen by supporters of Bernie Sanders as ‘part of the problem.'” McCaskill went on to say that “The role of the DNC chair is always a supportive role, not a starring role.”

Clinton has enough problems — and there will be more. The very best thing for her to do is to pick up the phone, call Wasserman Schultz and courteously thank her for past service and firmly request she resign immediately. She should then call Sanders and propose they jointly pick a new DNC chair. That new chair will preside at the Philadelphia convention.

That grand act of comity will be the first step in reconciling the Clinton and Sanders camps. It can’t happen too soon. The departure of Wasserman Schultz will be good for the party and ultimately good for the country.

It might even be good for Debbie Wasserman Schultz, as it will free her up to campaign in a primary she has a distinct chance of losing. In this scenario, everyone wins.

Plotkin is a political analyst, a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a columnist for The Georgetowner.

Tags 2016 Democratic convention 2016 Democratic primary 2016 presidential campaign Bernie Sanders Claire McCaskill Democratic National Committee DNC Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
See all Hill.TV See all Video