Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (AP/Alex Brandon)

DNC's real problem: The committee is little more than a giant machine designed to suck up big money

The DNC has to turn itself — and the Democratic Party — into a grass-roots membership organization


Robert Reich
August 3, 2016 1:00PM (UTC)

This originally appeared on Robert Reich's blog.

The shake-up at the Democratic National Committee after an embarrassing breach of its email system continued yesterday with the departure of three senior officials.

But purging the DNC of top officials won’t remedy the DNC’s problems. Those problems aren’t attributable to individuals who didn’t do their jobs. To the contrary, those individuals probably fulfilled their responsibilities exactly as those jobs were intended to be done.

Advertisement:

The DNC’s problems are structural.

The Democratic National Committee — like the Republican National Committee — has become little more than a giant machine designed to suck up big money from wealthy individuals, lobbyists bundlers, and corporate and Wall Street PACs.

As long as this is its de facto mission, the DNC won’t ever be kindly disposed to a campaign financed by small donations — Bernie Sanders’s, or any others. Nor will it support campaign finance reform. Nor will it be an institutional voice for average working people and the poor. It won’t want to eliminate superdelegates or support open primaries because these reforms would make Democratic candidates vulnerable to non-corporate interests.

What’s needed is structural reform. The DNC has to turn itself — and the Democratic Party — into a grass-roots membership organization, with local and state chapters that play a meaningful role in selecting and supporting candidates.

And it has to take a lead in seeking public financing of campaigns, full disclosure of all donations and ending the revolving door between government and the lobbying-industrial-financial complex.

Unfortunately, I doubt this will happen. Which is why no number of purges of individuals are going to make the DNC the kind of organization that serves the public interest. And why we’re going to need a third party, or a third force, to pressure the Democratic Party to do what’s right by America.

Advertisement:

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written 15 books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's also co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism."

MORE FROM Robert ReichFOLLOW rbreichLIKE Robert Reich




Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •