By Michael Sainato

October 30, 2017

On October 30, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) posted a video on her social media accounts, criticizing the Democratic National Committee for its recent DNC appointments. Gabbard made headlines during the 2016 Presidential Primaries as DNC Vice Chair when she openly called the former DNC Chair to add more debates. She resigned from the DNC in February 2017 to serve as a surrogate to the Bernie Sanders Campaign.

“Tom Perez has removed many progressives from DNC leadership, including Jim Zogby, the only Arab American on the Executive Committee,” Gabbard tweeted. “The DNC casts out progressives but keeps lobbyists+consultants. Those removed were supporters of Bernie Sanders, Keith Ellison, or both.”

Despite calls for unity from DNC Chair Tom Perez, his DNC appointments heavily favored lobbyists and Clinton supporters. No Sanders supporter was appointed to the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee, while former DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazile’s appointment to the position incited criticism. In October 2016, Wikileaks released emails that revealed Brazile tipped off the Clinton Campaign to debate questions and forwarded a plan she obtained from the Bernie Sanders campaign to the Clinton Campaign. CNN fired Brazile after the revelation, but the DNC has continued employing Brazile as a consultant.  A number of people who supported Keith Ellison for DNC Chair were kept from holding DNC positions, including New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley and Babs Siperstein, the highest ranking trans person in the DNC. Perez’s decision was viewed as a major setback for progressives working to reform the Democratic Party.

In the video, Gabbard said, “last year’s presidential primary revealed deep divides within the Democratic Party that went far beyond substance of issue differences. Now I wish I could sit here and say things have gotten better, but it’s just not true.” She continued, “So the DNC’s move to cast out those who just haven’t fallen in line with the establishment and were actually demanding real reforms is destined for failure. We must make sure our voices are heard now as we fight for a new path forward that is more inclusive and actually strengthens our democracy. It doesn’t matter who supported Hillary and who supported Bernie. It’s long past time to end the counterproductive infighting and name calling. What we’re talking about here is fighting for an open, inclusive, transparent Democratic Party that best represents and serves the people.”

Gabbard called the DNC to abolish super delegates, who have the power to rig primaries, and to enact election reforms like open and same day voter registration. “We must put people over profits and progress over special interests,” she added.  “We can’t do this if you have just a few power brokers making deals in a back room. We can’t do this with a closed process or with superdelegates who can swing an election.” Gabbard included a link to a petition to reform the DNC.”

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