Lately, everyone’s unhappy with DWS. No, Democrats aren’t fed up with ABC’s hit show “Dancing With the Stars” — they’re frustrated with Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
As the Democratic primary heads into its most tumultuous phase yet, some within the Democratic Party are upset with the party’s leadership and Schultz’s role in the primary process.
Bernie Sanders, who has gone for Schultz’s jugular in recent weeks, is fed up with the Democratic Party’s leadership. In a Sunday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Sanders said that if elected he would not reappoint Schultz as party chair — and he even endorsed her primary challenger for her House seat.
It’s no secret that there’s been bad blood between the DNC and the Sanders campaign throughout the primary. On the eve of the New York primary, Sanders filed a complaint with the DNC regarding its use of joint fundraising efforts to benefit Clinton. That accusation followed a lawsuit filed by the Sanders campaign against the DNC for revoking their access to voter data — a move they felt directly benefited Clinton. The Sanders campaign has also attacked Schultz over an unfair debate schedule that favored Clinton.
Van Jones, a Democratic commentator for CNN and former Obama adviser, recently expressed dissatisfaction with her. “Debbie, who should be the umpire, who should be the marriage counselor, is coming in harder for Hillary Clinton than she is for herself,” said Jones, adding, “that is malpractice.” Jones went as far as to say that he would prefer the Republican Party’s chairman, who he believes has been a more effective party leader.
“I wish Reince Priebus was my party chair,” Jones said. “He did a better job of handling the Trump situation than I’ve seen my party chair handle this situation. I’m ashamed to say that. Yeah, I said it.”
But there’s more. MSNBC “Morning Joe’s” Mika Brzezinski condemned Schultz — asking for her to resign as DNC chair. “This has been poorly handled from the start,” Brzezinski said. “It has been unfair and they haven’t taken him seriously, and it starts quite frankly with the person we just heard speaking [Wasserman Schultz]. It just does. You know that … She should step down.”
Brzezinski isn’t the only one who has called for the DNC chairman to step down. Since the beginning of January, there has been a growing petition to remove Schultz, with more than 23,000 people signing.
The civil war within the Democratic Party is beginning to spiral out of control as the primaries draw to a close and Clinton’s nomination is all but locked up. Recently, the Nevada State Convention made headlines due to violent eruptions from Sanders supporters over what they believe to be a “rigged” system in favor of political insiders. The violence is cause for concern, as it foreshadows what could happen at the national convention in July.
But Schultz has done nothing to assuage those fears and seems to be putting more fuel to the fire by remaining on the side of Clinton — as she has done throughout the entire primary process. Schultz took to the cable news networks in the aftermath of the Nevada convention to express her anger at Sanders, saying the behavior was “anything but acceptable.”
The DNC chair’s comments provoked an already agitated Sanders, who had definitively condemned the violence. He said it was “unacceptable” for leaders within the party to suggest his campaign did anything to provoke and instigate the violence. He also railed against the party for its unfair practices. “The Democratic leadership used its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place,” Sanders said.
But on Wednesday night, Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, went a step further in an interview with MSNBC to accuse Schultz of working against his boss. “It’s been pretty clear … almost from the get-go that she has been working against Bernie Sanders,” Weaver said. “I mean there’s no doubt about it for personal reasons.”
Because of the collusion between the DNC and Clinton, Schultz finds herself facing a significant primary challenger for her House seat. The challenger is Tim Canova, a progressive candidate whose campaign is fueled by the popularity of Sanders’ candidacy and the discontent with Schultz as party chair. “Because Wasserman Schultz has been perceived as an obstacle to the Sanders campaign, that has attracted more attention and support for our campaign,” Canova said. Some strategists believe her seat has become competitive and she is vulnerable as her opponent is pulling in significant funding.
What’s more, Sanders publicly endorsed Canova on Sunday and sent out a fundraising email for him, to help build his war chest against Schultz. The fundraising pitch came from Weaver. “The political revolution is not just about electing a president,” Weaver wrote. “We need a Congress with members who believe, like Bernie, that we cannot change a corrupt system by taking its money.”
With the Democratic primary continuing until the final state of California votes and with Sanders promising to take his candidacy to the convention, there’s no sign of tensions cooling as the DNC lines up behind Clinton and Sanders fights for his political survival.