Democratic etiquette dilemma: What color should the plate be for DNC chair's head?

Decisions, decisions. For some reason, Democrats kept Debbie Wasserman Schultz on as DNC chair despite getting a million-plus fewer votes for Barack Obama in 2012 than in 2008, and losing a midterm landslide to the Republicans. Under her leadership, the DNC will go into the presidential election this summer barely keeping its cash on hand equal to its debt, while Reince Priebus has Republicans rolling in cash. Priebus has outraised Wasserman Schultz for months, and in the most recent report has managed to outraise her by almost 50%.


Now that the five-year DNC chair has managed to throw gasoline on the Bernie Sanders wildfire that threatens to consume the party, however, Democrats want to put her head on a platter … as soon as they can find the right motif. And it’s not just the Bernie Bros who want her scalp, either:

“There have been a lot of meetings over the past 48 hours about what color plate do we deliver Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s head on,” said one pro-Clinton Democratic senator.

The lawmaker said senators huddled on the chamber floor last week to talk about Wasserman Schultz’s future and estimated that about a dozen have weighed in during private conversations.

“I don’t see how she can continue to the election. How can she open the convention? Sanders supporters would go nuts,” said the lawmaker, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.

There is no indication Wasserman Schultz, who is also a Florida congresswoman, has any plans to leave her post. And Senate sources stress that a final decision won’t be made until Clinton and Sanders negotiate some type of deal aimed at healing the party. President Obama, who selected Wasserman ­Schultz as chairwoman in 2011, is expected to play a major role in any such talks.

There’s no indication that Wasserman Schultz will quit, but there already seem to be plenty of indications that she might get the boot anyway. She’s getting shredded in the media for her inexplicable decision after the Nevada Democratic convention to publicly deride both Sanders and his followers. She then followed it up by pushing chairs of state parties with upcoming conventions to pass rules forbidding any kind of “auditory or visual” disruption, practically daring Sanders supporters to demonstrate and drive the wedge further in the party split. Rather than act as a referee between campaigns, the DNC chair has instead acted as an advocate for one side over the other — and everyone knows it.


Sanders’ only Senate colleague supporting his bid also used the gasoline analogy to describe the DNC chair’s performance:

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, the only public supporter of Sanders in the Senate, admitted the DNC chair could do more to bring liberals together since Republicans appear to have their nominee.

“It’s very important for her to adopt a role of pouring oil on troubled waters. She did the opposite last week when she poured gasoline on the events that occurred in Nevada,” Merkley said.

But a consensus is now growing that DWS is “too toxic” for the DNC at convention time, according to CNN:

Democratic senators are discussing whether Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz should be removed as the head of the party because she has become “too toxic” in the ongoing Democratic civil war.

“There is a lot of sentiment that replacing her would be a good idea. It is being discussed quietly among Democratic senators on the floor, in the cloakroom and in lunches,” a senior Senate Democratic source told CNN on condition of anonymity to discuss private talks among lawmakers. …

“It is something the caucus has discussed,” another senior Senate Democratic aide said Tuesday on condition of anonymity to speak candidly about private discussions. The aide said there was only informal discussion among senators and no coordinated effort, but said “The question is: Has she become too toxic?”


Realistically speaking, it’s probably too late in the cycle to oust Wasserman Schultz, with the convention right around the corner. The best that these fretting Democrats can do is to leak their efforts to the press in an attempt to push the DNC chair out of her combative strategy. The real question is why Wasserman Schultz was left on the job at all, especially after the 2014 Democratic debacle.

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