Quick Hit Aricka Flowers Wednesday May 18th, 2016, 4:36pm

Fairness Debate On Democratic Presidential Process Boils Over As MSNBC Host Says DNC Chair ‘Should Step Down’

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) won the Oregon primary against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, beating the alleged party favorite 56 percent to 44 percent. Sanders narrowly lost the primary in Kentucky, where Independents were not allowed to vote, with the divide between winner and loser being less than 2,000 votes.

Sanders’ continued wins — he has triumphed over Clinton in 20 states — reinforces the arguments of some who say the presidential process has been rigged in the favor of the former Secretary of State from the start.

This morning, MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski said Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz “should step down” from her post following her comments blasting Sanders’ response to a fight between Clinton and Sanders supporters at the Nevada Democratic Party convention. Sanders supporters were accused of throwing chairs, starting fights and harassing the state’s party chair, who is pro-Clinton. His supporters also boo’ed U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), a Clinton supporter, as she tried to make a speech.

Sanders released a statement Tuesday saying he is unequivocally against any acts of violence committed by his supporters. 

“Our campaign of course believes in non-violent change and it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals,” the statement reads. “But, when we speak of violence, I should add here that months ago, during the Nevada campaign, shots were fired into my campaign office in Nevada and apartment housing complex my campaign staff lived in was broken into and ransacked.

“If the Democratic Party is to be successful in November, it is imperative that all state parties treat our campaign supporters with fairness and the respect that they have earned. I am happy to say that has been the case at state conventions in Maine, Alaska, Colorado and Hawaii where good discussions were held and democratic decisions were reached. Unfortunately, that was not the case at the Nevada convention. At that convention the Democratic leadership used its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place.”

Sanders’ statement, which also laid out his grievances with the way the process has been handled by the party, were not good enough for Wasserman Schultz, who argued that it was “anything but acceptable.”  

“There is a way to deal with frustration over process. But the fact that the Sanders campaign issued a ‘but’ in between condemnation of violence and frustration over the process seems to excuse their supporters action, which is unacceptable.”  

Brzezinski found the DNC chair’s response to be indicative of the imbalance critics say has been present among party leaders during the Democratic presidential race.

“This has been very poorly handled from the start,” Brzezinski said. “It has been unfair and they haven’t taken him seriously, and it starts quite frankly with the person we just heard speaking. It just does. You know that.”

Here’s a clip from the Morning Joe discussion during which Wasserman Schultz’s comments were played and Brzezinski responded repeatedly with “she should step down” shortly thereafter:

Former congressman and Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough called out the Democratic Party’s process for its lack of fairness, particularly in the Iowa Caucus, when the Democratic Party of Iowa declared Clinton the winner “well before they were ready to do it and that was the first sign [of the process being rigged].”

“Most journalists I’ve talked to have said this on the air, ‘Bernie probably won that,’ but we’ll never know because the Democratic party rigged it.”

Scarborough went as far as to say he would switch gears and run as an Independent if he were in Sanders’ shoes.

“If the party I was a member of treated me like this, rigged the debate process… I’d say go straight to hell, I’m running as an independent,” he concluded.

Here’s a look at the full discussion from Wednesday’s Morning Joe:


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