Army of Sanders supporters fuming over Wasserman Schultz
Bernie Sanders supporters continue to show their distaste for Hillary Clinton and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
The Hill reports:
Sanders supporters blame Wasserman Schultz for what they see as system rigged against their candidate and say he is being cheated by contests closed to independents and unfair weight to superdelegates.
“I think I’m honestly starting to hate @DWStweets more than @realDonaldTrump,” one Sanders supporter tweeted on Thursday, with the hashtag #FeelTheBern.
Other hashtags being used by Sanders supporters on Thursday included #DebbieDowner, #DownwithDebbie and #DumpDebbie.
The online anger erupted this week after Wasserman Schultz called on Sanders to get his supporters in line after a rowdy Nevada Democratic convention where Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) endured a hearty booing. Wasserman Schultz also criticized death threats and obscene messages left on the voicemail of the chairwoman of the Nevada state party.
Sanders was defiant and defended his supporters. While he criticized any violence in Nevada, he blamed much of the trouble on the Democratic Party.
That provoked more criticism from Wasserman Schultz.
“Unfortunately, the senator’s response was anything but acceptable. It certainly did not condemn his supporters for acting violently or engaging in intimidation tactics and added more fuel to the fire,” she said on CNN.
Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver then offered a sharp response, saying Wasserman Schultz has “been throwing shade at the Sanders campaign since the very beginning.”
Wasserman Schultz fired back in a terse response on CNN: “My response to that is hashtag SMH,” an acronym for “shaking my head.”
The feud between Wasserman Schultz and Sanders has been going for some time.
The Sanders campaign has criticized a DNC debate schedule that put contests on weekend nights, when they were less likely to garner viewers.
Late last year, Sanders sued the DNC after the party briefly blocked the Sanders campaign’s access to party files and data following a report that Sanders staffers had improperly accessed Clinton’s campaign information.
The Sanders campaign dropped the lawsuit in late April.
Two weeks ago, Sanders sent a letter to the chairwoman accusing the party for giving Clinton supporters more committee representation at the July convention. Wasserman Schultz denied that the DNC is favoring the former secretary of State.
Wasserman Schultz has rebutted her critics’ claims that she’s tilting the primary in Clinton’s favor.
“The Democratic National Committee is neutral when it comes to this primary,” she told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow earlier this week.
And she has argued that the specific rules for this election have been in place before the cycle even began.
“The rules governing the Democratic Party delegate selection process have been in place for decades, and the specific procedures for this cycle were agreed upon in 2014,” she said in a Tuesday statement.
“In Nevada on Saturday, the state party’s credentials committee was made up of an equal number of members representing both campaigns. That’s a testament to our party’s fundamental belief in being inclusive, open to the public and transparent.”
Liberal groups such as Credo, Moveon.org and RootsAction have posted online petitions calling for Wasserman Schultz to resign from the DNC.
Credo was angered by an interview the DNC chair gave in January to The New York Times in which she accused young women of “complacency” about reproductive rights. The liberal group charged that she has “repeatedly failed to act in the best interests of progressives and the Democratic Party.”
To date, Credo’s petition has more than 87,000 signatures, which is 13,000 short of its 100,000 signature goal.
A petition from Moveon.org to remove Wasserman Schultz, who the group says has “ulterior motives” in the race, has more than 77,000 signatures. RootsAction surpassed its goal of 35,000 signatures on a petition to remove Wasserman Schultz.
Liberal commentator Van Jones said this week on CNN that he’d prefer Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee chairman, over Wasserman Schultz after a “leadership failure” for Democrats.
“Debbie, who should be the umpire, who should be the marriage counselor, is coming in harder for Hillary Clinton than she is for herself. That is malpractice,” Jones told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin Wednesday.
And Mika Brzezinski, the co-host on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” said the DNC chair should “step down,” condemning the party’s treatment of Sanders since he entered the race.
“This has been very poorly handled from the start. It has been unfair, and they haven’t taken him seriously, and it starts, quite frankly, with the person we just heard speaking. It just does. You know that,” Brzezinski said about Wasserman Schultz.
A former DNC official noted that party members selected Wasserman Schultz as DNC chair and said that it’s easy for campaigns to shift the blame onto her since she’s the face of the party.
“Something that’s getting lost in a lot of this discussion is that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a democratically elected chair of the party,” said Holly Shulman, a former DNC spokeswoman and now Democratic consultant. “Democrats elected her to lead the party, and that’s what she’s doing.
“Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz is an easy scapegoat for each campaign who has complaints about how their own campaigns are being run or the traction that they’re not getting,” she added.
Clinton is almost certain to be the Democratic nominee given her lead, and Sanders has come under fire from the left this week for some of his criticisms of Clinton and for insisting that he really does have a path to the nomination.
There are some signs the DNC is trying to make some kind of concessions to Sanders. The party reportedly will offer Sanders seats on a key platform committee at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July, which could help him inject his own policy proposals into the party’s platform, including a $15 federal minimum wage and a single-payer healthcare system.
Still, the back-and-forth between Clinton, Sanders and Wasserman Schultz has some wondering if the party can come together to wage a strong battle against a common enemy: Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee.
“I’d say the effort for party unity is not going very well,” Democratic strategist Brad Bannon said in an interview with The Hill. “It’s definitely a threat to the nominee, which is probably going to be Hillary Clinton.”
Photo credit: Marc Nozell/Flickr.