Missouri Southern State University political science professor William Delehanty says the next Democratic Party chairperson must unify the party’s two major factions. Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned this week as the chair after leaked emails revealed that she favored presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.
“Most notably is kind of the more established, maybe you would say political elite, best seen I think in the case of Hillary Clinton. Then there’s the more progressive, left-leaning component, which you would see best with Bernie Sanders. I think that’s the first issue is trying to bring those two together, particularly if Clinton were to ultimately win the presidency in November. I think that would be critical,” says Delehanty. “I also think the chair needs to be able to reach across the Democratic Party at the local and state levels and be able to foster an organization that promotes voter mobilization and activity. Then you have the money issue. Both parties rely heavily on their national committees to raise substantial sums for congressional races, states races to some degree but most notably for presidential races.”
Donna Brazile is serving as the party’s interim chair.
The president – if they are of the same party – generally selects a successor. The DNC Rules Committee compiles a list of candidates for the president to choose from.
“For Missourians, the thing to keep in mind is the Democratic Party, much like the Republican party, is federated. So, the public as well as local and state officials, can actually exert some organizational pressure on the committee members to in effect try to represent the interests as the party as a whole,” says Delehanty.
If Clinton is not elected as president, the DNC could go through a power grab.
Names of possible chair replacements include DNC vice Chair R.T. Rybak, HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, former Maryland governor and 2016 presidential candidate Martin O’Malley, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Stephanie Schriock, who has close ties to the Clinton campaign.