Debbie Wasserman Schultz Defends Rigging of Elections

Tim Canova, Chair, Progress For All

At this difficult time, when we must unite against the dangerous and inhumane policies of the Trump administration, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has reminded us of her central role in preventing progressive reform and bringing on the implosion of the Democratic Party.

At a time when many Democrats are calling for unity, Wasserman Schultz continues to divide the party, most notably in recent cable TV appearances.

Prior to her resignation in disgrace as chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Wasserman Schultz actively worked to undermine the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. Recall that Bernie Sanders and another candidate, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, complained bitterly about the lack of debates that Wasserman Schultz had scheduled. And not surprisingly, Wasserman Schultz dodged debates against me for as long as she could before finally relenting to one early Sunday morning debate when few voters would be watching, let alone awake.

As chair of the DNC, Wasserman Schultz should have been recruiting a deep field of candidates and scheduling many debates to showcase to millions of voters across the country. That’s exactly what the Republicans did!

Anyone with eyes to see knew that Wasserman Schultz was doing her best to clear the field for one candidate — and unfortunately that was a candidate who was under FBI investigation and with the lowest favorability ratings of any Democrat in modern history. Of course, Wasserman Schultz has denied this, even after the Wikileaks email disclosures confirmed her role and that of her DNC. As a result of those revelations, Bernie Sanders supporters filed a class-action lawsuit for fraud against Wasserman Schultz and the DNC. Last week, in federal court, lawyers for Wasserman Schultz actually argued that the DNC was under no obligation to abide by its own charter provisions requiring neutrality and impartiality in the conduct of the party’s presidential nominating process.

In fact, Wasserman Schultz’s lawyers argued that the DNC could legally rig the nomination in a “smoke-filled backroom deal.”

This is the same Wasserman Schultz who recently claimed on cable TV that it was “mind boggling” that Bernie Sanders “was complaining about the number of debates.” She went on to say, “I will be frank with you, if I was trying to rig the outcome of the primary, trust me, I could have.”

Who talks like this? Who boasts of their ability to rig elections as a defense to allegations that they rigged an election? And then in court, claims a right to rig elections? Only someone with utter contempt for democracy and the rights and interests of the American people.

I voted twice for Barack Obama for president. I have never relished criticizing him, but I believe it is our duty as citizens to speak honestly about the policies and practices of government officials. That’s exactly what Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders did when they expressed concern that Mr. Obama is now taking $400,000 a speech from Wall Street banks and health industry firms. No one has criticized the Obamas for pulling in about $65 million in book contracts. But to be cashing in with Wall Street firms is unseemly at best, and a reflection of the same “Revolving Door” between Wall Street and Washington that has undermined people’s confidence in the Democratic Party. And perhaps all the criticism of these corporate speaking fees was constructive. Just days later, the Obamas announced a $2 million donation to support summer jobs in Chicago’s South Side.

What was Wasserman Schultz’s reaction? It was to go on national TV and publicly say to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren: “It’s None of Your Business!”

Once again, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is just plain wrong: the “Revolving Door” between Washington and Wall Street is everyone’s business!

Wasserman Schultz’s most recent attack on Bernie Sanders was not surprising given the fact she has taken millions of dollars from Wall Street banks and other huge corporate interests. All the money she’s taken from insurance firms and Big Pharma companies also explains her opposition to H.R. 676, the Medicare For All, single-payer bill introduced in the House.

Sadly, Wasserman Schultz’s latest remarks are a reminder of how divisive she is for Democrats across the country, and what a failure she was as DNC chair, during which time Democrats suffered historic losses at every level of government — national, state, and local — thereby leaving the party in its weakest position since 1920. It’s a reminder of why I ran against her last year.

It’s also a reminder that as long as Wasserman Schultz remains in public life, there will be no party unity — and that’s because she has learned absolutely nothing from the setbacks and failures that she helped engineer.