By now, it’s old news to the politically aware that the mainstream media refuses to give any coverage to the class action lawsuit against former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the committee itself. This lawsuit, which is currently awaiting the judge’s ruling on the DNC’s motion to postpone, alleges that the DNC tipped the scale in favor of Hillary Clinton, while its bylaws strictly prohibited such behavior. Jared and Elizabeth Beck, the lawyers operating on behalf of the class have been interviewed in-depth by several independent journalists by now so I won’t delve too deeply into the minutiae of the lawsuit itself. I simply want to illustrate why Democrats must accept that this lawsuit must proceed, and be decided against the DNC.
1: “Cigar Lit Back Rooms”
The DNC’s lawyer essentially stated that if the DNC, as a private entity so desired, could legally choose candidates “like the old days in cigar-filled back rooms”. The implications of that statement alone are chilling. Instead of making the case that the DNC was not impartial, they are making the case that they have every right to forego their bylaws and tinker with the primary process at their discretion.
I’m not the first to say this, but an argument like that winning in court is a direct threat on our democracy. It implies that we as Americans only have the illusion of choice, and we simply cannot accept that. Democrats who dismiss the merits of this lawsuit on technicalities are grossly missing the danger. Even if you were an ardent Clinton supporter, and Clinton still would have won without DNC interference, is that premise acceptable to you? If so, you are signing off on demolishing the values this centuries-old party represents in one fell swoop. The root word of Democratic is democracy, and the DNC is trampling it to pieces. Furthermore, what’s to stop Republicans from using a similar argument next time they tinker with their own primary elections if the DNC isn’t brought to heel?
2: The Donation Defense
The DNC, in addition to leaning on the DNC being a private entity, is arguing that any money given to the DNC is a donation with no transactional value. Bernie supporters donated to the DNC with the understanding that it wouldn’t be used for one candidate over another but doled out equally; however, this goes beyond the DNC and the 2016 election entirely.
We’ve all seen stories about folks who have started GoFundMe accounts, soliciting donations for various hardships and using that money for other purposes than what they raised it for. If someone fraudulently claims to be a cancer patient and raises money for their “treatment”, what’s to stop them from making the claim that donations are just donations and their donors shouldn’t have any expectations about how that money is used?
3: New Players Does Not Mean A New Board
I’ve been told by various “progressives” that this lawsuit is frivolous and pointless, as Debbie Wasserman Schultz is no longer chair and many of the positions under her lead have been replaced by new staff. Apart from the fact that Tom Perez admitted and quickly rescinded the idea that the 2016 primary was heavily skewed in Clinton’s favor, he has made no indication that he understands how the party needs to drastically alter course. Even if he fully owned the behavior of previous staffers, if this were United Airlines, the public would still demand damages be paid to a passenger they mistreated even if the CEO resigned. If the DNC is a private entity as they claim, why would they be exempt from consequences? In the end, the roster may be different, but many of them are cut from the same cloth as their predecessors. The future of the Democratic Party depends on their willingness to learn from mistakes of the past, not downplaying or ignoring them entirely.
4: Complete Corporate Takeover
I know fiercely loyal Democrats who now refuse to donate to the party or the DNC as a result of this debacle. Moving forward, they’ll only be donating to candidates directly, possibly forgoing the party’s fundraising platform ActBlue. Already, the party depends far too heavily on corporate donations but if this lawsuit fails, grassroots donors may stop supporting the party financially completely. This would inevitably leave it up to corporations and lobbyists to pick up the slack and fund the party’s endeavors, further corrupting the message and killing whatever voter confidence remains in the party’s ability to represent the average citizen. This race to the bottom has admittedly already been in motion for some time, but a laissez-faire attitude about this lawsuit would throw it into overdrive.
5: It’s Just About Doing The Right Thing
The Democratic Party at this stage is virtually ruled by the “yuppie” class who popularized the “Third Way” in the 1980’s. These are the folks who disowned their hippie parents in favor of a more conservative approach to politics. Maybe that was necessary for their era, though I would argue that their adoption of austerity caused much more damage than they care to admit.
The Ayn Randian flavor of politicians like Bill Clinton and his DLC companions just don’t appeal to the majority of young leftists. Maybe Bernie Sanders’ popularity among us is the natural response to the fully evolved “yuppie”. All theories aside, in the internet age when general visibility is at an all time high, we can sense when old political games are in play. In the past, the DNC fraud lawsuit may have been much easier to brush under the rug; but today it’s painfully visible to the future voting bloc of America.
Anybody with a conscience that truly examines what this lawsuit could do to our election integrity, knows the DNC is digging their own grave just by fighting against it. Even if the party has a technical right to tamper with their elections, even if that’s the way things have always really been done, we cannot sound alarm bells about potential Russian interference in the general if we are not also willing to squash interference at home.
It may not be comfortable to think about, but doing the right thing isn’t only necessary when it feels good. Oftentimes, doing the right thing means pushing aside personal feelings, taking responsibility, and just doing it.