Congressional Democrats are beginning to broach the subject of U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz stepping down as chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) ahead of the Party’s convention in July.
The Hill is reporting that several Democrats backing likely presidential nominee Hillary Clinton are concerned that the South Florida congresswoman is too divisive a figure, someone who will prevent Party unity in the effort to defeat presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in November.
“Wasserman Schultz has had an increasingly acrimonious relationship with the party’s other presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, and his supporters, who argue she has tilted the scales in Clinton’s favor,” writes Alexander Bolton.Wasserman Schultz’s exit may be a concession to appease liberals who feel that the chairwoman gave Clinton an unfair advantage in the primaries.
Bolton quotes one Democratic senator who says there have been “a lot of meetings over the past 48 hours,” with as many as a dozen more lawmakers in conversations over Wasserman Schultz’s continued viability as DNC leader.
“I don’t see how she can continue to the election. How can she open the convention? Sanders supporters would go nuts,” the anonymous source told the Hill.
As for Wasserman Schultz, she has no immediate plans to step down, and any move will likely take place after Clinton and Sanders hammer out a reconciliation to heal the widening rift in the Democratic Party.
Both campaigns have agreed to limit the chairwoman’s role in developing the party’s platform during the convention in Philadelphia. Under DNC rules, Bolton notes, Wasserman Schultz could have named all 15 members of the platform committee, but instead, will select only four. Clinton will fill six positions, and Sanders five.
That compromise may not be enough, however, to save her job through the convention.
Bouton writes that President Obama, who appointed Wasserman Schultz as chair in 2011, will likely be a key figure in any such discussion over the future of the DNC chair.
Sanders himself recently backed Wasserman Schultz’s opponent, first-time Democratic candidate Tim Canova, in the primary race for Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. Sanders added that if he is elected president, she would not return as DNC chair.
Others argue that Wasserman Schultz has worked hard for the DNC.
“I think Debbie Wasserman Schultz has done a good job,” said Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski. “If you look at her platform committee appointments, she really gave a lot of room to Bernie supporters.”