The Democratic National Committee’s fall meeting in Las Vegas this weekend exposed deep rifts between establishment power brokers and progressive-minded reformers, as in-fighting and dreadful fundraising numbers drag the party even deeper into its post-Hillary Clinton morass.
The DNC Unity Reform Commission meeting resulted in a divisive spat over the controversial New York primary process, re-opening old wounds between the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders camps. The Young Turks described the meeting in “Breakdown” mode due to the “consultant takeover of the Democratic Party”, as former Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver and others condemned the DNC’s practices. Nina Turner said that unity does not require “falling in line.”
The sharp divide between establishment DNC chairman Tom Perez and progressive Muslim deputy chairman Rep. Keith Ellison rages on, even though the two leaders have tried perfunctorily to project an image of unity.
Ellison supporters were purged from DNC committees prior to the meeting. NBC reported on some of the purges:
“Those who have been pushed out include:
- Ray Buckley, the New Hampshire Democratic chairman and longtime DNC official who ran against Perez for chair before backing Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn. Buckley lost his spots on the Executive Committee and DNC Rules Committee.
- James Zogby, the president of the Arab American Institute and prominent Sanders backer, is no longer co-chair of the Resolutions Committee and is off the Executive Committee, a spot he has held since 2001.
- Alice Germond, the party’s longtime former secretary and a vocal Ellison backer, who was removed from her at-large appointment to the DNC.
- Barbra Casbar Siperstein, who supported Ellison and Buckley, was tossed from the Executive Committee.”
The fundraising numbers for the DNC are dreadful, making it clear that the Democrats are at a deficit when it comes to competing with Republicans in the 2018 midterms.
“‘Donors, small and large, are so over the party,’ Nebraska state party chairwoman Jane Kleeb told Politico.
At the beginning of this month, the DNC counted only $7 million in its “main account,” according to Politico.
Big Democratic losses in the Jon Ossoff House race in Georgia (the most-expensive House race in history) and in Montana, where Greg Gianforte won a House seat after allegedly bodyslamming a hostile liberal reporter, loom over the party, dampening spirits.
Additionally, massive Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein’s downfall in Hollywood over sexual harassment and abuse allegations taints the party’s Tinseltown financing source. The DNC faces strong criticism for sending the equivalent of its Weinstein money to pro-Democrat political groups instead of donating it to charity.
Meanwhile, Julian Assange, holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, threatens to reveal even more damaging information about the Democratic Party’s role in anti-democratic measures during the Clinton-Sanders primary, during which DNC staffer Seth Rich was murdered. Assange has strongly implied that Rich was the source of Wikileaks’ release of party emails in 2016. Big League Politics has reported extensively on the utter impossibility that Russians hacked the DNC, as has been routinely claimed by politicians.
It seems that nothing has changed since the DNC’s Unity Commission meeting in May in Washington, D.C., which was convened in a bottom-floor conference room at Washington’s ritzy Marriott Wardman Park hotel, where Democrats struggled to come up with a new slogan for the party resembling President Trump’s effective “Make America Great Again” brand.
“There are rules that, even if fairly applied, are used to keep people out,” former Bernie Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told Big League Politics in an exclusive interview inside the DNC Unity Commission. Most of the discussions at the Unity Commission centered on how the Democratic Party can determine its own rights when it comes to picking its nominee rather than abiding by the will of the voters, and figuring out how to navigate “constitutional constraints” on its own authority.
“There are rules that allow campaigns to game the system rather than have the will of the voters represented,” Weaver said. “There were abuses in the process. Those have got to be addressed.”
Vanquished former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz infamously colluded against Sanders during the primaries in favor of Hillary Clinton, according to WikiLeaks revelations. But Weaver told Big League Politics that he is moving forward from the contention.
“I was never bitter. I am not a bitter person,” Weaver said. “Part of the mission of this reform commission is to open up the process to make sure that the will of the voters is expressed,” he said. Asked if Sanders will run again, Weaver remarked, “I think it’s too early to talk about that right now.”
Weaver was one of two progressive reformers speaking up in the Commission about the DNC’s rigged process. The other, Bernie supporter and The Young Turks reporter Nomiki Konst, was fired up.
Unfortunately for Weaver and Konst, the Commission spent a lot of time figuring out how much the party is allowed to get away with.
The Commission heard a presentation from an attorney that included slides like “Party Rights v. Candidate/Voter Constitutional Constraints on Party” and devoted time to explaining how the Democratic Party once used its authority to strip delegates away from fringe candidate Lyndon LaRouche.
Lucy Flores of Nevada, a failed congressional candidate and Sanders supporter who is a rising star in Democratic Party politics, asked if caucuses are bound to the same laws as primaries. Told that they were not, she asked if the Democrats could theoretically change all primaries into caucuses to avoid legal restrictions, but added that she was not suggesting that. The answer, to her surprise, was yes.
A presentation by former Clinton White House official, Harvard John F. Kennedy School professor, and Brookings Institution official Elaine Kamarck was troubling to the cause of reform.
“We are the only democracy in the world that uses primaries to select our nominees…They are not selected in an open system [in other countries]. All the parliamentary democracies work that way. The fact that we use primaries lengthens our process,” Kamarck said.
“In the end, a party in convention can actually do whatever it wants to do,” she said, noting that conventions are no longer exciting because everything is pre-determined by voters. Kamarck also predicted that Republicans will adopt a superdelegate system to use against President Trump when he comes up for re-election in 2020.
Kamarck said that party insiders who voted in past conventions — instead of voters — are valuable because “They tend to be people who actually know the people running for president, as opposed to the voters.” That line drew some guffaws.
Konst put forth a plaintive appeal to confront special interest money in the Democratic Party, but it was ignored.
“Are we willing to confront those financial incentives that are perhaps in the face of the Democratic Party?” Konst asked the Commission.
“Okay, we’ll talk again in the morning,” a Commission moderator replied to dark chuckles as the session ended.