DNC tries to mandate neutrality in primaries

It’s taken more than two years, but it seems to have finally sunk in at DNC headquarters that attempting to stack the deck in Hillary Clinton’s favor during the 2016 primary didn’t work out so well for them. With that in mind, the committee is announcing that there’s a new sheriff in town and he won’t be tolerating any favoritism in the 2020 primary. It’s going to be a policy of all neutrality, all the time. What could possibly go wrong? (HuffPo)

The Democratic National Committee issued rules Monday aimed at shoring up trust in its impartiality in the upcoming 2020 presidential nominating contest.

The DNC plans to bar employees and officers from publicly endorsing any presidential candidates throughout what is expected to be a crowded intraparty competition for the job of taking on President Donald Trump.

The rules would prohibit DNC staffers and officers from financial contributions to particular candidates, attendance of events that could suggest partiality, public statements or social media posts espousing presidential preferences, internal communications expressing views for or against a particular candidate, and even gestures like displaying bumper stickers or lawn signs for an individual campaign.

These new rules are very much heavy-handed and impose all sorts of restrictions on normal campaign activity while missing the mark in terms of what they actually did wrong two years ago. First of all, one of the favorite hobbies of primary candidates is collecting endorsements. Most of the members of the committee are either elected officials or seasoned politicos. Telling them that they can’t show up at a candidate’s event, have a yard sign or even put a bumper sticker on their car is a bit over the top.

True, the DNC isn’t technically capable of suppressing the freedom of speech of its members and employees, but this is still some serious repression. And reading the new rules, it’s important to remember this applies to all employees, not just their officers and elected officials. This will rub a lot of people the wrong way.

What’s worse is that all of these rules focus on the perception of the DNC favoring or thwarting particular primary candidates. I don’t recall anyone getting overly upset about some of the members being supportive of or speaking kindly about their favorite candidate. How about some rules that deal less with perception and more with the actual abuse taking place within your system?

Perhaps you could pass a rule saying that you can’t divert money away from the candidate you don’t want to win, as happened to Bernie Sanders. Or maybe you could ban your officers who work closely with the media from giving debate questions in advance to one candidate but not the other(s). That’s not just showing favoritism. It’s cheating. And if it were a general election and not a pimary, somebody in your outfit should have gone to jail over those Sanders contributions.

But instead of fixing those problems you’re going to bar some DNC member’s staffers from putting up a sign on their lawn. Well played, guys.

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