While much has been made of the fracturing of constituencies in the Republican Party, fissures are also beginning to show in the Democratic Party. Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz will face a primary opponent in her home district for the first time in her decade long career in The House and she continues to be assailed for her many botched moves at the head of the party.
“On all these issues that I’ve been writing about for so many years — trade, banking, money in politics — she toes the Wall Street line,” Primary challenger Tim Canova told The Huffington Post. “People want politicians who will represent them and not sell them out.”
The contest between Wasserman Schultz and Canova mirrors the internal conflict that has roiled the Democratic Party in the years following the crash. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has vaulted from a bankruptcy scholar to one of the most popular Democrats in Congress — but many of her top legislative priorities have been thwarted by old party hands. At the presidential campaign level, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is marshaling the same anti-corporate momentum against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who most party insiders had picked to take the nomination in a walk.
But the Florida race could well reveal more about the Democratic Party than any other contest this cycle, including the one for president. There are no electability considerations for Democrats in Florida’s 23rd District, which stretches from just south of Fort Lauderdale to Miami Beach. Whoever wins the Democratic nomination will make it to Congress. It’s a question of whether a bald, male, not-quite-so-accomplished version of Warren can defeat a proven fundraiser with deep connections forged over the course of a decade in office. It’s a test of whether progressive ideas or corporate money are more central to the Democratic Party’s future.
“The progressive wing of the party — which really used to dominate the party from Franklin Roosevelt through John Kennedy — has mostly been taken for granted,” Canova said. “Their votes are curried by the New Democrats at election time, but when it comes time to governing, they’re really marginalized.”
While Wasserman Schultz will need to devote more attention than she normally would to her re-election she is still embroiled in the ongoing controversy related to the 2016 race for the Democratic Nomination for President. The race thus far has been marred by a litany of missteps and accusations from within the party of favoritism in favor of Hillary Clinton.
A petition to remove the DNC chair started by Roots Action called into question the choice of questions during the debates for failing to address important issues: “For example, climate change and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
“In Congress, [Wasserman Schultz] has served as a pro-militarist and corporatist tool of the high bidders,” Roots Action said. “Among recent disgraceful acts was her vote to enable racial discrimination in car buying. Enough is enough.”
Wasserman Schultz is seen by some as an establishment politician whose beliefs do not align with more progressive elements of the Democratic party, particularly the new, younger Sanders supporters.
In 2016 alone, she has received contributions from Goldman Sachs, Comcast, Google, and Lockheed Martin.
Wasserman Schultz is against legalizing medical marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes, and has received fundraising from alcohol lobbyists and private prisons.
She made comments about young women’s complacency on abortion rights when asked about young women and excitement surrounding Clinton’s campaign.
Some felt this was a dig at female voters supporting Sanders over Clinton.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz may want to touch up her resume and update her LinkedIn profile.