Why the Shake-up at the Democratic National Committee Is Doomed

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Why the Shake-up at the Democratic National Committee Is Doomed

Donna Brazile has taken over leadership of the Democratic National Committee, but if nothing structural changes at the DNC there's no reason to think anything will change. (Photo: Associated Press/File)

The shake-up at the Democratic National Committee after an embarrassing breach of its email system continued Tuesday 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.

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’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.

Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Robert Reich, is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, and Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He has written 14 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of Nations, Beyond Outrage and, most recently, Saving Capitalism. 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.

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