Debbie Wasserman Schultz has not had a great last couple of months. The Florida Congress member and embattled Democratic National Committee Chair has been repeatedly criticized for leading the committee both ineffectively and with a heavy hand, and for an alleged bias toward Hillary Clinton that has made the party’s presidential debates few and far between—one reason why the Republican candidates have dominated the political discussion. The progressive wing of the party base is volubly getting fed up with her.
Now, if the increased calls for her to step down from her post as party head weren’t enough, Wasserman Schultz is also facing the prospect of a tough primary challenge from the left. Liberal economist and longtime Wall Street–reform advocate Tim Canova announced last week that he will challenge Wasserman Schultz in the August 30 primary in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. Touting a platform that closely mirrors Bernie Sanders’s, Canova hopes that the energy Sanders has roused nationally could work to his advantage in the South Florida district. Given Wasserman Schultz’s prominence, the primary could turn into a referendum pitting the progressive wing of the Democratic Party against its establishment wing, in much the way the (successful) primary challenge by another economist, Dave Brat, against then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was a test of strength between the Republicans’ factions.
Over the years, says Canova, Wasserman Schultz has become less accountable to her district and more responsive to Wall Street. “She’s become such a corporate Democrat; she takes so much corporate money,” Canova says. “The way she talks the talk isn’t the way she walks the walk. That kind of unaccountable power needs to be challenged.”
– From the American Prospect article: Can a Sanders ‘Proxy’ Oust Debbie Wasserman Schultz?
The times they are a-changin’. It’s not often that that most interesting Congressional race in an election year proves to be a primary challenge, but that’s exactly how its beginning to look in 2016.
On August 30th, the head of the Democratic National Committee, and sleazy corporate politician extraordinaire, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, will face a serious primary challenge courtesy of Tim Canova in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. Haven’t heard of Mr. Canova yet? You will soon.
From The Hill:
For Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the problems with the left just keep coming.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) chief has infuriated many Democrats with her handling of the party’s presidential primary debates. She drew further howls from liberals for deeming a whole generation of young women “complacent” about their abortion freedoms.
And now she’s facing a primary challenge from a liberal Wall Street reformer who says she’s a corporate shill detached from her district.
The challenge highlights the difficulty facing Wasserman Schultz as she juggles her dual roles as Florida representative and head of the DNC — duties that sometimes come into conflict.
Timothy Canova, a professor at the Shepard Broad College of Law in Florida’s Nova Southeastern University, says Wasserman Schultz’s positions on trade, criminal justice, consumer protection and drug policy reform — among others — are evidence that she’s sold out to corporate interests at the expense of her constituents.
It marks the first primary challenge to Wasserman Schultz since her arrival on Capitol Hill in 2005.
Canova launched his bid last week on a platform that pulls more than a few pages from that of populist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the Democratic presidential hopeful who’s waged a surprisingly strong challenge to front-runner Hillary Clinton by attacking from the left.
In that mold, Canova is vowing to fight President Obama’s trade agenda, reform the criminal justice system, rein in big banks and curtail the influence of money in politics — all issues where he sees Wasserman Schultz as vulnerable.
“She takes a lot of corporate money, and she votes for corporate interests contrary to the interest of her own constituents.”
He says she fought against new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau guidelines governing car loans and pay-day lenders.
He’s quick to note that she opposed a 2014 Florida referendum to legalize medical marijuana, calling her “a drug warrior” in the pockets of a private prison industry that promotes incarcerations.
And he’s highlighting the fact that she was one of just 28 House Democrats to support the fast-track trade bill that’s greased the skids for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a huge international accord that’s a top priority of Obama but remains anathema to liberals in his own party.
She’s also been at the center of the ongoing controversy over the Democrats’ presidential debate schedule. The DNC stirred a hornet’s nest last year in announcing six debates through the primary season –– roughly a quarter of the number of debates in 2008 and half the number available to the Republican candidates this cycle.
Democratic leaders have rushed to Wasserman Schultz’s defense. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) this month said she has full confidence in the DNC head to lead the party to success at the polls in November.
“She has all the stamina and enthusiasm for the job that she has, and I believe that she has the confidence of the president and will the nominee of our party,” Pelosi said. “And that’s where these decisions are made.”
Nice to see Pelosi come in and tell the plebs how things works. Notice “the people” don’t make the decisions, and that’s the way she likes it.
The civil war in the Democratic party is real and refreshing. The only question is whether or not the corrupt corporate shills in charge will finally get the boot. Stay tuned.
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