Aslew of damaging emails released by WikiLeaks on Friday has prompted an independent investigation into the Democratic National Committee, and their Chairwoman — Debbie Wasserman Shultz — who worked to discredit Senator Bernie Sanders’s campaign, despite DNC rules mandating her neutrality during presidential primaries.
Immediately following the leak, Shultz resigned from the DNC, and was granted the role of honorary co-chair of Clinton’s campaign — an empty title to signal something that everyone basically knew: Debbie Wasserman Shultz supports Hillary Clinton.
Some may try to rationalize this move, saying, “That’s politics.” Make no mistake — this type of political sleight-of-hand directly underscores the lack of trust so many have of the DNC.
Sen. Sanders’ earlier assertion that the commission’s practices were unfair was clearly founded — the DNC acted with heavy bias toward Clinton. Now that the truth is there, the problem is naked and bare — left to be criticized.
It’s clear that reform is necessary, and the committee must work to restore transparent operations and aim to reconnect with voters.
For the Democratic Party, creating transparency when it comes to lines of communication should be a priority. The DNC first chose to blame hackers and government officials from Russia for appropriating their communications. After the email leak, the DNC should’ve taken full responsibility for the content WikiLeaks revealed rather than fault the invasion of privacy.
What’s more, voters should be granted more political agency in a major institution such as the DNC. Currently, there is an astounding level of opacity in the committee’s operations. The recently created Reform Commission was created for negotiators to debate the future platform of the party — including proposals from Sanders’ delegation to reform the party’s primary and caucus processes. Yet this body met in secret, failing to leverage the demands and goals of the party’s general supporters. The committee must let average voters voice their opinions on the idiosyncrasies of the party’s platform.
Furthermore, the DNC ought to reform its superdelegate process. For a party that is literally called the “Democratic Party,” the superdelegate process ignores the voice of broad swaths of the voter population, giving appointed delegates the capacity to freely “choose” who they feel best represent the party. Luckily, the committee has begun to overhaul its superdelegate system, with a new amendment — aimed at reform — approved by the Democratic Rules Committee on Saturday.
The DNC has definite hurdles ahead of it. The committee must build trust and foster excitement among its supporters and voters — especially if it has any hope of high turnout rates come November. After ousting Debbie Wasserman Shultz, perhaps the DNC will finally be ready to become a party representative of the average Democrat or Progressive. At this point, we can only hope that the latest onslaught of controversy over the DNC’s emails will begin to correct the flaws of American-style democracy.