DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the establishment candidate's establishment candidate: she co-sponsored SOPA, blocked reform of loan-sharking payday lenders, voted against marijuana law reform, called for the prosecution of SOPA, and chaired Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign. She's served six terms in office and never had to face a primary challenger, until now.
Tim Canova is the anti-Wasserman Schultz: a former advisor to Bernie Sanders who has raised a tidy sum in small-money individual donations (average: $17.63), believes in campaign finance reform, killing TPP, and regulating Wall Street banks.
Sanders publicly endorsed Canova last week, and Canova brought in another $250,000 off the endorsement (he'd previously raised over $1M). I gave him $100 (my family and I were issued our green cards on Saturday, freeing us to make legal campaign contributions; I also donated to Sanders).
Instead, it’s Wasserman Schultz’s brand of politics that makes her so worthy of a challenge from the base. Any sitting officeholder who chairs such as vast fundraising apparatus as the Democratic National Committee is going to be the receptacle for impure donations. But dear God, if she hasn’t performed some unseemly donor maintenance. She, along with much of the Florida delegation, has co-sponsored a bill to block proposed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules reining in payday lenders, an awful industry that has donated her tens of thousands of dollars. She voted last year for another measure to block CFPB enforcement of regulatory guidance that would crack down on auto dealers discriminating by race. The auto dealers’ lobby is no joke. About the only issue on which she is willing to go against her donors’ wishes is medical marijuana, the legalization of which she is weirdly opposed to.
It’s hard to determine what sort of chance Canova has, since Wasserman Schultz has never before faced a Democratic primary challenger. But it’s probably not going to be easy. Wasserman Schultz’s reliably blue district has a high percentage of Hispanic and older voters who don’t express the sort of hostility toward the Democratic establishment you might find on a college campus. Sanders’ support will bring Canova all the money he needs. Still, he’s working on a terrain that went 68 to 31 percent in Clinton’s favor in the March presidential primary.
Bernie Is Building an Army of Primary Challengers [Jim Newell/Slate]