According to one Michigan mayor, members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) asked security to eject audience members who vocally supported Bernie Sanders during Sunday’s debate in Flint, Michigan.
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Jim Fouts, a three-term Independent mayor of Warren, Michigan, attended Sunday’s Democratic debate, just like he had attended the Republican debate on Thursday. Fouts told Buzzfeed News that the GOP audience was loud when he attended that debate on Thursday, and even though he wasn’t expecting the Democratic debate to be quite as rowdy as the Republicans, he expected to be able to express himself.
But after Sunday’s debate, he wrote on Facebook that:
The Democratic debate is totally controlled by Hillarys [sic] good friend DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. No commentary is allowed by the audience. Particularly if you are cheering Bernie Sanders. Persons who do not adhere to Hillarys [sic] rules are threatened with expulsion.
He told BuzzFeed News that he was seated behind Wasserman Schultz, and that he was praising Bernie’s performance and talking about how this debate proved that more debates were a good idea for the Democrats.
Then, during an early commercial break, Fouts and his assistant were taken out of their seats and the sergeant at arms told him, “The people that run this want you ejected, they don’t want you here.” Fouts was allowed to watch the rest of the debate from his seat, but he had to be careful about even clapping too loud or at the wrong time, for fear of getting ejected.
On Monday, Fouts joined the growing chorus of voices calling for Wasserman Schultz to step down as the chair of the Democratic National Committee. But really, she should have resigned months ago, and she probably shouldn’t have ever held the position in the first place. Not just because she’s repeatedly and blatantly attempted to tip the scales in Hillary Clinton’s favor during the Democratic primary, but also because, based on her words and her votes, she is exactly the type of so-called “centrist” corporate Democrat that the party needs to rid from its ranks.
To start, she’s right now co-sponsoring a bill that would gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s payday loan and car loan regulations, basically protecting loan sharks from regulations at the expense of low-income Americans. Never mind the fact that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is one of Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren’s major progressive achievements to reign in financial abuses.
She also just lifted the ban that President Obama himself put in place that bans lobbyists from donating to the Democratic National Committee, and her lifting of that ban officially ended one of the few remaining rules that stem the tide of corporate money into the Democratic Party.
In the most recent omnibus spending bill, she voted for one provision that prevents the Securities and Exchange Commission from writing rules that would require corporations to disclose political spending to shareholders. In the same bill, she voted for another provision that would make it impossible for the IRS to create rules to curb special interest donors from forming “social welfare organizations” to hide political spending.
Schultz was one of the 28 Democrats who voted for fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and she received $300,000 from interest groups backing the trade deal, presumably for that vote, according to the The American Prospect.
Just after the Democratic party lost the House and Senate catastrophically back in 2014, Wasserman Schultz voted to eliminate that part of Dodd-Frank that had prevented big banks from using deposits to speculate in financial derivatives.
Not to mention the fact that even though 58 percent of people from both parties in Florida support legalizing medical marijuana, Debbie Wasserman Schultz still opposes legalizing medical marijuana. She says it’s because marijuana is a gateway drug, but it might have more to do with the tens of thousands of dollars she’s gotten from the alcohol industry since she’s been in Congress.
That’s just a glimpse at Wasserman Schultz’ voting record, and it shows a pattern of voting for pro-corporate legislation and for legislation that opens our political system to even more political spending and corruption.
On defense and national security, she’s supported Republican ideas like extraditing NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden back to the United States to be arrested and prosecuted because he “jeopardized millions of Americans,”and she voted to extend the Patriot Act.
But even if she did support truly progressive and Democratic causes, she’s not even particularly good at rallying the party that she’s supposed to be leading.
She even recently alienated part of the Democratic base when she told the The New York Times that young women aren’t supporting Hillary Clinton because there’s “a complacency among the generation of young women whose entire lives have been lived after Roe v. Wade was decided.”
Back in 2014, before the Republicans took control of both chambers of Congress, Debbie Wasserman Schultz successfully depressed the Democratic base by telling Politico, “I’m not going to confidently predict that Democrats will take the House back.” With that kind of leadership, Democrats didn’t just not win the House, they also lost the Senate.
Considering her positions, though, she’s probably more comfortable with a Republican-controlled Congress than a truly progressive Democratic Party.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz isn’t the only Democrat-In-Name-Only (DINO) in the Democratic leadership. But as the DNC Chair, she is the highest-ranking DINO in the party.
Even if Bernie Sanders doesn’t get the nomination, progressive Democrats need to stand up and challenge the corporate DINOs who currently run the party, like law professor and real progressive Tim Canova is doing with his primary challenge in Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ district.
It’s time to restore the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, and we should start with the chair.