What is arguably the most important presidential election in decades is only five months away — and the DNC is in utter shambles.
Only days after Hillary Clinton became the party’s presumptive nominee, and with less than two months before the national convention, DNC National Political Director Raul Alvillar is reportedly stepping down on Friday. Alvillar was the first Latino chosen to serve in the role, and was crucial in the organization’s modernization of party operations.
The departure of someone in such a crucial position so close to a party convention would be bad in and of itself, but the loss of such a high-profile Hispanic staffer in an election marked by heated debate over immigration from Latin American countries is surely a significant blow to the DNC.
With the looming possibility of Trump pulling in new Republican voters, it is more important than ever that the Democratic Party locks in the minority vote — and having high-profile minorities who work at the DNC resign so close to that election doesn’t look good.
But Alvillar’s departure makes him in fact the fourth high-profile minority staffer at the DNC to resign in as many months. Ashanti Gholar, head of black outreach for the DNC, and Albert Morales, head of Hispanic outreach for the organization, resigned within weeks of one another in late March and early May.
Gholar’s departure sent shockwaves through the African-American Democratic community in particular. “We did not have any input,” on her replacement, said Virgie Rollins, chair of the DNC Black Caucus. “And we were not happy that she was leaving.”
Morales’ departure was perhaps more devastating for the DNC. According to an April 7 Buzzfeed report, Democratic sources said that the Clinton campaign had expressed concerns over the strength of the DNC’s Hispanic outreach efforts even before Morales left.
The biggest blow to the DNC, however, was surely Democratic rising-star Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s resignation as DNC vice-chair back in February. Tulsi was angered at the clear bias shown by the DNC in favor of Clinton, and left her position in order to campaign for Bernie Sanders.
Speaking of Sanders, his looming shadow is probably the DNC’s biggest problem after its hemorrhaging minority staffers in an election marked by identity politics. Sanders supporters are so irate over the DNC’s treatment of Sanders, especially by Debbie Wasserman Shultz, that some are calling for her head, Fox News reported on Thursday.
“I don’t see how she makes it through the convention,” said one Democratic lawmaker. “The key to Hillary winning is getting Sanders supporters on board.” Handing the reins of the DNC over to a former Sanders supporter would indeed be a shrewd move by the DNC to win over Sanders supporters.
One potential replacement is Gabbards herself, a reported favorite of the Sanders camp. She has denied any interest in taking the role, however, and Wasserman Schultz remains confident that she will be safe until the new year.
Wasserman Schultz is apparently not concerned about Democratic disunity, despite a crumbling minority-outreach infrastructure and a near-rebellion from Sanders supporters. “I’m very confident that we are going to be unified,” Wasserman Schultz said Wednesday.
Given these recent developments within the DNC, however, it’s difficult to understand why.