Bernie Sanders is disappointed in DNC head Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. He’s upset but not in the least bit shocked. In an appearance on ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos Sunday morning, Bernie said he wasn’t surprised at the content of the WikiLeaks DNC email dump. He called for Wasserman-Schultz to step down as the party chair, but at this point, that act would be an empty gesture after one year of a rigged primary process that nullified and muted voters’ voices.
As the Democratic National Convention begins on Monday, Bernie needs to have a plan to come out swinging. He needs to state the case that the entire DNC leadership — not just Wasserman-Schultz — has done nothing but suppress him, make him look bad, and corrupt the primary with their actions. Wasserman-Schultz and other leaders, including the chief financial officer Brad Marshall, clearly violated the DNC charter to remain impartial during the primaries.
In a separate interview with ABC News, Bernie’s campaign manager Jeff Weaver also mentioned this.
“We have an electoral process. The DNC, by its charter, is required to be neutral among the candidates. Clearly, it was not.”
The email leak also gives credence to Bernie supporters’ conspiracy theories that the DNC was actively working to suppress the vote. Rania Batrice discussed how the revelation was bittersweet.
“Everything our fans have been saying — and they were beaten down for and called conspiracy theorists — and now it’s black and white.”
Politico reports that Bernie is scheduled for a 3 p.m. speaking slot on Monday alongside First Lady Michelle Obama and DREAMer Astrid Silva, in a move the party hopes will project the all-important image of party unity. However, a tweet by a Bernie supporter indicates that Jeff Weaver advised the gavel goes down at 4 p.m.
What Bernie should do is challenge Clinton’s nomination as illegitimate in light of the DNC WikiLeaks email dump. He should emphasize how Clinton is not even qualified to hold a clerk position in the department she once led due to her lack of email server security. Then he should fight for superdelegate votes.
Clinton leaves scandal in her wake, and where there is smoke, there is often fire. Just look at Wasserman-Schultz, her former campaign chief. She’s now embroiled in the WikiLeaks scandal. Bernie needs to drive home this fact that Clinton won’t suddenly transform into a cool-headed, drama-free president. No. Clinton’s White House will be filled with scandal and failure, much like her tenure at the State Department.
Even though Bernie has encountered ridicule and condescension from the DNC, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and Clinton, he rejected the notion of a third-party run and instead urged voters to elect Clinton, a woman who has a history of lying, exhibiting poor judgment, and bad decision making.
“Right now we have got to defeat Trump, we have to elect Hillary Clinton. We have to elect progressive candidates in the house, and in the senate, and school boards and city councils. And most importantly, we have got to continue the fight for an agenda to create a government that works for all of us, and not just the people on top … the is the mission I will be undertaking.”
Bernie’s laser focus on the urgency of defeating Donald Trump is clouding his vision for the future and his condemnation of Wasserman-Schultz doesn’t do much if he doesn’t shake things up at the convention. He seems not able to see the forest for the trees. As I’ve written about before, either Trump or Clinton will be bad for the country, as both are more representative of the top 1 percent than they are for the diminishing middle class.
Bernie is proof that the two-party system that must be demolished in order for this country to move forward in any meaningful way. If he had remained Independent, he would not have been at the mercy of Wasserman-Schultz and the DNC.
Yet, by joining the Democratic Party, Bernie exposed the deep-seated corruption in the system. He exposed Wasserman-Schultz for the biased, corrupt, DNC shill she is.
His campaign is evidence as to why we must encourage third parties to grow, even if we disagree with their platforms. Bernie cannot push forward a progressive agenda or lead a progressive movement by being a member of a party that has actively suppressed his actions. That is counterproductive. It cannot be done.
Bernie’s appearance at the convention should be more than just a plea to keep Trump out of the White House. It should be a moment where he speaks the truth about the corruption of the DNC and how Wasserman-Schultz worked against him.
This is the moment that Bernie has been working towards his entire life. He now has a chance to stand in from of the Democratic party, and the entire world, and state the case as to why nominating possibly the most reviled politician in the history of the United States (after Trump) is an extremely terrible idea. If he does not speak truth to power, challenge the DNC and Clinton’s nomination and force the issue to the forefront of the convention, he will have failed us. Mildly condemning Debbie Wasserman-Schultz on national TV is not enough.
Yes, Bernie lit a fire within progressives, and it is our duty to keep that fire burning. But Bernie’s final campaign moment should be him taking that flame to the convention floor to denounce Clinton as an illegitimate candidate selected by corrupt means in front of the DNC and the world.
[Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]