The inner-party tension over the Democratic primary debate schedule boiled over at a New Hampshire Democratic Party convention Saturday. According to the Washington Post, more than 4,000 delegates and guests were at the event.
When Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz stepped up to speak, convention goers began chanting, “we want debates!”
— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) September 19, 2015
The crowd’s debate protests were so loud, they drowned out DWS’s speech:
— Marc Fortier (@MarcNECN) September 19, 2015
Wasserman Schultz managed to quell the burgeoning rebellion. “My friends, what’s more important? Drawing a contrast with Republicans or arguing about debates? Let’s focus on our mission!” she said.
— James Pindell (@JamesPindell) September 19, 2015
The debate fight has drawn in major Democratic players like Nancy Pelosi and Martin O’Malley, both of whom have been critical of the abbreviated debate schedule. As Amy explained last night, DWS’s insistence on a mere six debates, in addition to a new rule that effectively eliminates Democratic presidential primary contender participation in non-santnctioned debates, is at the heart of the growing controversy.
Earlier this week, protesters rallied outside of the Democratic National Headquarters in Washington, DC to oppose the rules that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has imposed on Democratic primary candidates.
What’s the controversy? Most of the opposition boils down to the limited number of debates candidates will have the opportunity to participate in. In addition to scheduling just 6 officially-sanctioned debates, the DNC (via DWS) has limited the potential for rogue forums by creating a new rule: if a Democrat chooses to participate in a non-sanctioned debate, they’ll be banned from future sanctioned ones.
The candidates aren’t happy; even some of DWS’s DNC colleagues aren’t happy (DNC Vice Chairs Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) and R.T. Rybak released a joint statement asking DWS to revoke the sanctioned debates only-rule); and now, Democratic heavy-hitter Nancy Pelosi has weighed in against DWS’s mandate.
…Both Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley have come out swinging against DWS and the DNC, saying that this is the party’s attempt to rig the primary in favor of the foundering Hillary Clinton campaign.
Despite widespread dissatisfaction with the DNC’s debate schedule, Wasserman Schultz has shown no sign she’s willing to back down.
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