Purveyor of Truth
Time for some DNC housecleaning perhaps?
`Tis nearly the night before Christmas and not a creature is stirring, what with everyone out at a party, multiplex or mall. What better time for a presidential debate?(emphasis mine)
That at least is the view of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Clinton campaign, from which she takes her cues. They wanted the fewest possible voters to see the fewest possible debates. So we went from 26 debates in 2008 to six debates in 2016, three of them on weekends. It’s called the Democratic Party, but no one other than Clinton and Schultz had any say in the matter.
On Thursday, the DNC told the press a contractor inadvertently breached a firewall in a software program exposing data files of presidential campaigns and that a Bernie Sanders staffer (Josh Uretsky, with the campaign three months) took the opportunity to sneak a peek at Hillary Clinton’s files. Sanders’ campaign instantly sacked the staffer but Schultz still cut off its access to data, a punishment she seems to have made up on the spot, thus bringing crucial outreach and fundraising efforts to a halt. Schultz didn’t even nod to due process, pronouncing the death penalty without so much as reading Sanders his Miranda rights.
On Friday, Sanders’ campaign filed a federal lawsuit alleging breach of contract. It sought a restraining order and money damages that, assuming the facts set forth in the complaint, exceed a million dollars a day. It was a strong case. Uretsky may have behaved unethically but there was no malice aforethought– the forbidden fruit fell in his lap—and from the moment the campaign learned of his possible malfeasance, it acted honorably and swiftly. Schultz, conversely, appears to have acted without color of authority under law, contract or party rule.
The contract required written notice of termination and a 10-day grace period to cure any alleged default. Clearly the DNC was in violation, not Sanders. Because the contract put the onus for securing data on the DNC, it was liable for the breach as well. But the issue was bigger than mere contract law or political dirty tricks. In suspending the vital operations of a presidential campaign, Schultz trespassed on the right of all citizens to free and fair elections. Democrats could ill afford to be seen condoning her actions. Nor could they afford to pay her bills. If she acted without authority she’d be liable for damages, but only if the party was as swift and honorable in dealing with her as Sanders was in dealing with Uretsky. The party also had to ponder the sworn depositions Sanders might now take regarding such delicate matters as who Schultz spoke to about her decision to impale him.
The long dormant Democratic base should have stopped her Schultz when she squelched debates. Now party leaders had to, or else hop on board her runaway train. But Thursday and then Friday passed with the leaders silent save for the sound of Schultz spewing venom at Sanders. Then a miracle happened. For the first time since the dawn of the Obama era, and arguably since the end of the Viet Nam War, progressive rose in mass protest of party elites. Petitions poured in to the DNC by the tens of thousands demanding that Sanders access to his data be restored. Shortly after midnight Saturday morning, the DNC caved to the pressure, albeit so gracelessly as to ensure ongoing recriminations.
Schultz must go. Her subversion of due process puts one in mind of her fellow Floridian, Katherine Harris, who back in 2000 saw no conflict between her roles as chief state elections officer and campaign chair for George W. Bush...