After spending much of the last week deriding Republicans’ squabbles during their national convention last week, Democrats now find themselves in disarray.
The week got off to an inauspicious start and went straight downhill from there. It began with Clinton selecting Sen. Tim Kaine, a safe choice that re-enflamed the tensions between the centrist and progressive wings of the party.
“Tim Kaine would be a perfect addition to the ticket,” People for Bernie co-founder Charles Lenchner sarcastically told Politico, “in that he would add no progressive backbone that might inconvenience Team Hillary when it’s time to govern.”
Before Clinton even had a chance to explain her selection, WikiLeaks released thousands of DNC emails, some of which showed Democratic officials actively conspiring against Sanders’ in the primary race. This didn’t just pick the scab off the healing cut between Democrat insiders and the loud and proud Bernie supporters, it created a new gaping that destroyed any sense of lingering comity. Among other tawdry details, the emails showed that members of the DNC were willing to stoop so low as to encourage the media to openly question Sanders’ Jewish beliefs, thinking they wouldn’t sit well among Protestant voters.
The caught-red-handed collusion between top party officials reinforced Sanders’ supporters beliefs that the system was rigged against them. Much of their anger was directed at DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who many liberals, including Sanders, feel was the puppet master behind Clinton’s cakewalk through the primary process.
“I don’t think she is qualified to be the chair of the DNC, not only for these awful emails, which revealed the prejudice of the DNC, but also because we need a party that reaches out to working people and young people, and I don’t think her leadership style is doing that,” Sanders told Tapper on “State of the Union,” on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
“I am not an atheist,” he said. “But aside from all of that, it is an outrage and sad that you would have people in important positions in the DNC trying to undermine my campaign. It goes without saying: The function of the DNC is to represent all of the candidates — to be fair and even-minded.”
Democrats didn’t wait long to sacrifice Wasserman-Schultz to the angry masses, almost immediately yanking her from her speaking role at party’s convention. As one Democrat told CNN, “She’s been quarantined.”
But quarantined wasn’t where the progressive elements of the party wanted her. They wanted her gone, a fact that wasn’t lost on Wasserman-Schultz or Hillary Clinton. After meeting with advisers and aides to Clinton, Wasserman-Schultz quickly fell on her sword, issuing a statement that she was going to “step down as party chair at the end of this convention.”
It still wasn’t enough for angry Democrats. More than 1,000 protesters—larger than any of the anti-Trump gatherings—congregated in Philadelphia over the weekend to march against Hillary Clinton’s nomination. They were led by a banner proclaiming “Help End Establishment Politics, Vote No on Hillary,” and chanted “Hell, no, D.N.C., we won’t vote for Hillary.”
And then, most embarrassingly, Wasserman-Schultz, fresh off of struggling to be heard amid the boos and chants of “shame!” while giving a speech to the Florida delegation breakfast, announced that she would not gavel the convention into session, the last ceremonial role that she was clasping to.
Is even that enough? Maybe not. Protesters are so angry at the process that they booed Bernie Sanders—their champion—after he asked them to vote for Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. At this point they’ve jeered Kaine, they’ve axed Wasserman-Schultz, they’ve protested Clinton, and they’ve booed Bernie. Whose left?
Photo credit: Barack Obama.