On Sunday, July 24, the Democratic National Committee chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned because a series of emails — revealed by Wikileaks — demonstrated how Bernie Sanders’s campaign was undermined in favour of Hillary Clinton’s.
The way it was reported here in the UK on the 10 p.m. news made it sound as if that was the end of the story.
First, her term ends after the DNC convention in Philadelphia.
Secondly, Ms Wasserman Schultz was rewarded with the post of honorary chair for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Common Dreams has more (emphases mine):
Clinton responded with a statement thanking her “longtime friend” for her service to the party and, seemingly without irony, announced that Wasserman Schultz would now serve as her campaign’s honorary chair.
“There’s simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie,” Clinton said, “which is why I am glad that she has agreed to serve as honorary chair of my campaign’s 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country, and will continue to serve as a surrogate for my campaign nationally, in Florida, and in other key states.”
Bernie Sanders, who won the popular votes but not the necessary superdelegates during the Democratic Party primary season, had long said Wasserman Schultz was trying to undermine his campaign. Sanders and his team had been asking for her resignation for several months.
The Guardian says that Wasserman Schultz was not directly implicated in the email exchange, however:
she was seen in other messages writing dismissively of the Sanders campaign.
The paper gives an example of one of the DNC emails:
The most explosive new revelation from the Wikileaks release was an official’s suggestion that Sanders’ religious faith, or lack thereof, could be flagged as a way to dissuade voters from backing him in Bible belt states.
“I think I read he is an atheist,” the DNC chief financial officer, Brad Marshall, wrote in one email. “This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”
Sanders, who is Jewish, spoke little of religion during the primary, but the sight of a supposedly neutral body apparently seeking to weaken one of its own party candidates caused particular anger among progressives.
A Reddit megathread has a compendium of all the incriminating DNC emails and readers’ comments.
Wasserman Schultz’s successor is Donna Brazile, who was DNC chair in 2008 when Obama won the nomination — over Hillary Clinton — and the presidency. Ironically, Brazile’s DNC pressured Hillary’s delegates to vote for Obama at the convention that year. Many felt betrayed, hence the PUMA (Party Unity My A–) movement was born. Many PUMAs left the Democratic Party that year to support Republican John McCain or the Green candidate Jill Stein. Most of them left the party altogether, and a good number of them are unaffiliated politically.
Whilst Trump makes it clear that he disagrees profoundly with Sanders’s politics, he empathises with him about the ‘rigged’ system. The superdelegates are all Clinton’s, hence her nomination needs only a rubber stamp at the convention.
Strangely, even though he knows the system is rigged, Sanders has pledged his support to Clinton.
Speaking of the convention, we all know how Democrats have criticised Trump as being racist for wanting to build a wall between the US and Mexico, but what about their own perimeter fence in Philly? What is that telling Philadelphia residents and visitors? What are the Democrats afraid of? Whom do they fear?
Back to the email about Sanders’s religious beliefs. A Guardian reader says it worked in South Carolina:
The whisper campaign against Bernie in the south particularly in South Carolina among the church going African American voters was real, it did happen and it was coordinated and extensive. If Bernie had won South Carolina, Hillary would have lost the nomination. Bernie who was unknown was caricatured as a “communist Jew”. I heard it personally. Now, it is clear where it all started. The dirty trickery by Hillary and DNC got her the nomination. Hillary should quit as well, instead of giving a job to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz for a job well done. Wasserman-Schultz still hasn’t apologized, or acknowledged, she tipped the scale for Hillary, even though the evidence is overwhelming.
I have read comments on The Guardian article, the Common Dreams post and the Reddit megathread. This is what Democrats are saying:
1/ They are very disappointed in Clinton and the DNC.
2/ This will give Trump even more ammunition against ‘Crooked Hillary’.
3/ Bernie supporters are considering supporting Jill Stein of the Green Party.
4/ Some will vote Trump, because ‘what difference does it make?’
5/ Why aren’t the media covering this story? Because they are being silenced.
It should be an interesting convention in the City of Brotherly Love.
Democrats can say what they like about the Republicans, but at least the #NeverTrump movement was well known during the primaries. The GOP convention managed to make peace among most Republicans and put paid to #NeverTrump as an organised group.
The Democrats, by contrast, are being hit with dissent and subterfuge just as their convention starts. Can the situation be resolved or will this turn out to be a rerun of 2008?