This country has a problem, and it’s a big one. Our democracy is being corrupted by those who are supposed to champion it. Sadly, it is a problem that has been exacerbated by the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. And it is killing the party.
This year’s presidential primary campaign is case in point. The debates are meant to showcase the Democratic candidates, and the Democratic Party. Wasserman-Schultz’s obvious allegiance to front runner Hillary Clinton is preventing the American people from getting an opportunity to really hear all of the candidates.
To put it bluntly, the debate schedule is a complete farce. Never have there been debates scheduled at such inappropriate times. Democrats should want to showcase our candidates. The contrast with the Republicans are stunning. Why would the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee not want people to see these debates? The only reason that Wasserman-Schultz could possibly have for doing this is to prevent candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley from having a truly national forum to promote their issues, viewpoints, and differences with the other candidate.
The proof is in the numbers. The Republican debates, which have been shown in the middle of the week, have averaged 18.3 million viewers, while the three Democratic Debates have averaged just 10.7 million viewers. Even Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii), a vice chairwoman of the DNC questioned Wasserman-Schultz about the lack of debates and was subsequently disinvited to attend the second debate. If the goal of Wasserman-Schultz is to prevent the American people from learning about the candidates, then she is doing a bang up job!
Along with the debate times, there is the threat that Wasserman-Schultz has placed on the candidates who participate in more debates not sanctioned by the DNC. If they take part in any other debates, they will be banned from participating in future Democratic debates. This of course hurts the campaigns of Sanders and O’Malley the most. This is not how a democracy should work.
And then there is the drama of the “untimely accidental breach” by the DNC’s campaign data management company NGP VAN. Instead of doing the right thing, Wasserman-Schultz again attempted to circumvent democracy. The contract, which is signed by the candidates and the DNC, allows the candidate accused of breaching voter information 10 days to investigate, report, and resolve any issues. Bernie Sanders and his campaign were more than willing to abide by that, and they emailed the DNC with their intent to perform a full investigation. But instead of working with Sanders, Wasserman-Schultz went nuclear. She shut off the Sanders campaign’s access to the most fundamental tool of any campaign–the voter file. Think about that for a second. She prevented the Sanders campaign from accessing their own data, data they paid for. Because this was illegal, the Sanders campaign had no choice but to sue. Soon after the lawsuit was filed, the DNC caved and restored the voter file.
In the latest news, the DNC and DWS has awarded Kroll Industries, which is owned by Altegrity, which is owned by our very own Providence Equity Firm, which was bought for over a billion dollars back in June 2010, the honor of doing the “independent” investigation. [Note: Providence Equity Partners no longer owns Altegrity or Altegrity’s subsidiary Kroll, because Altegrity went bankrupt this year. The new name for Altegrity is Corporate Risk Holdings, and it still owns Kroll but is now independent from Providence Equity Partners. See here and here.] Kroll’s history is one of dubious distinction. They have been described as a sort of “private CIA for the Powerful” and they have Goldman Sachs and Chevron written all over them. With a history of falsifying data and illegal wiretapping, Kroll’s is exactly the agency who should not be doing the investigation, hardly independent. There are also direct ties to the Democratic National Committee. The former Deputy Finance Chair for the DNC, Betsy Blumenthal, is now the Senior Managing Director for Kroll Industries. This in itself may be a conflict of interest.
Additional information can be found with the below links.
This whole debacle undermines the Democratic Party. People are sick and tired of the antics of the Chairwoman. In a Moveon.org petition over 55,000 people have signed asking for Wasserman-Schultz’’s resignation. She is alienating new voters and those who are voting for Sanders. And she has definitely put a wedge between the party establishment and its liberal base. This is not what makes a healthy primary campaign or a healthy party. For the sake of both, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz needs to be replaced as soon as possible.