How We Respond to the DNC Purge
By Tim Canova — Candidate for Florida’s 23rd Congressional District
I was dismayed by the recent news that the Democratic National Committee has ousted a number of long-time supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders from the DNC. In what looks like a purge of the progressive wing of the party, DNC chair Tom Perez has stripped several Bernie supporters of their “at-large” delegate status and leadership positions in the party.
Also removed were several party officials loyal to Congressman Keith Ellison, Bernie’s choice to lead the DNC, who accepted a DNC vice chair position earlier this year in the interests of party unity.
Perez replaced these progressives with veterans of Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign and with corporate lobbyists — a reminder of why last year I first decided to challenge Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who as DNC chair had reversed President Obama’s ban on corporate lobbyist donations to the DNC.
This is exactly what’s gone wrong with the Democratic Party and why so many of us are fighting back — to reclaim the party from corporate interests and to restore it to its New Deal progressive values and programs.
Among those who were purged from DNC positions:
Ray Buckley, the New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman and longtime DNC official who ran against Perez for chair before backing Ellison in the DNC chair race. Buckley was removed from the DNC Executive Committee and Rules Committee.
James Zogby, the president of the Arab American Institute and long-time supporter of Bernie Sanders. Zogby was removed as co-chair of the Resolutions Committee and the Executive Committee.
Alice Germond, the DNC’s longtime former secretary and Ellison backer. Germond was removed from her at-large appointment to the DNC.
Barbra Casbar Siperstein, who supported Ellison and Buckley in the DNC chair race, and was removed from the Executive Committee.
Perez replaced these progressives with more than a dozen corporate lobbyists, including Joanne Dowdell, a lobbyist for Fox News, and Manuel Ortiz, a lobbyist for CITGO Petroleum Corp.
Incredibly, as if to add insult to injury, Perez appointed Donna Brazile as a DNC delegate and to the Rules and Bylaws Committee. This is the same Donna Brazile who, when working for CNN just last year, leaked debate questions to the Hillary Clinton campaign to try to give Hillary an unfair advantage over Bernie in the 2016 presidential nominating contest. Brazile then went from CNN to replace Wasserman Schultz as DNC chair until Perez was installed.
Some progressives have suggested that this purge is intended to divide the party. Why else appoint someone as controversial as Brazile, and on the eve of the DNC’s Unity Commission meetings in Las Vegas. That the purpose of this purge is to fuel a so-called DemExit and drive progressives out of the Democratic Party. Although the party would be smaller and weaker, this would also make it easier for the corporate Democratic establishment to control the party’s rules and choice of nominees for offices all across the country.
Let’s not take the bait by giving up on our efforts to reclaim the Democratic Party. Now is the time to fight back!
Defeating the notorious Debbie Wasserman Schultz would send the loudest and clearest signal that “we the people” cannot be purged, that we are strong in numbers and unified in our vision, and that we will overcome all of their obstacles. Let us channel our righteous indignation into the constructive work ahead.