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"There's a strong sentiment that the current situation is untenable and can only be fixed by her leaving," one source told The Hill. (Photo: Fortune Live Media/flickr/cc)

Dems Reportedly Asking: Has Debbie Wasserman Schultz Become 'Too Toxic'?

'There is a lot of sentiment that replacing her would be a good idea,' said one anonymous source

Deirdre Fulton

Democratic Party insiders are reportedly discussing whether to remove Debbie Wasserman Schultz as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) before this summer's nominating convention in Philadelphia.

"There's a strong sentiment that the current situation is untenable and can only be fixed by her leaving," a senior Democratic aide told The Hill. "There's too much water under the bridge for her to be a neutral arbiter."

"There have been a lot of meetings over the past 48 hours about what color plate do we deliver Debbie Wasserman Schultz's head on."
—Pro-Clinton Democratic senator

Rep. Wasserman Schultz, of Florida, has faced accusations of displaying a pro-Hillary Clinton bias throughout the 2016 campaign. These tensions came to a head last week, after Nevada's Democratic convention devolved into chaos and gave Bernie Sanders supporters more evidence that the primary process has been rigged in favor of the establishment candidate.

Over the weekend, Sanders endorsed Wasserman Schultz's primary opponent, Tim Canova, and said if he was elected president, "she would not be reappointed to be chair of the DNC."

Now, The Hill reports, Democrats backing Clinton "worry Wasserman Schultz has become too divisive a figure to unify the party in 2016, which they say is crucial to defeating presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump in November."

According to The Hill:

There is no indication Wasserman Schultz [...] has any plans to leave her post. And Senate sources stress that a final decision won’t be made until Clinton and Sanders negotiate some type of deal aimed at healing the party. President Obama, who selected Wasserman ­Schultz as chairwoman in 2011, is expected to play a major role in any such talks.

The Clinton and Sanders campaigns have already struck a deal with Wasserman Schultz to limit her role in the convention’s platform committee.

Under DNC rules, she could have appointed all 15 members of the platform committee but instead picked only four. Clinton got to fill six positions, and Sanders chose five.

The concession, however, may not be enough to keep her in the job through the Democratic National Convention.

Indeed, a pro-Clinton Democratic senator told The Hill: "There have been a lot of meetings over the past 48 hours about what color plate do we deliver Debbie Wasserman Schultz's head on."

On the condition of anonymity, a senior Senate Democratic source said to CNN: "There is a lot of sentiment that replacing her would be a good idea. It is being discussed quietly among Democratic senators on the floor, in the cloakroom and in lunches."

Both The Hill and CNN cite prominent Democrats—including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Barbara Mikulski—who still support Wasserman Schultz. "That's not going to happen. I certainly wouldn't let it happen," Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said of the prospect of Wasserman Schultz leaving the DNC before the convention.

But another senior Democratic aide, admitting there had been only informal discussion among senators and no coordinated effort so far, offered a simple assessment of the bottom line. "The question is," the source said, "Has she become too toxic?"

In an op-ed published Saturday, Bill Moyers and Michael Winship said yes.

"Unless she steps down now or Hillary Clinton has her removed, Philadelphia will be dominated by someone who represents everything that has gone wrong with the Democratic Party and Washington," Moyers and Winship wrote of the DNC chairwoman. "At the convention's opening session, Debbie Wasserman Schultz will be bringing the gavel down squarely on progressive hopes of returning the party to its legacy as champion of working people and the dispossessed."


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