Let Me Clear Up Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Role in the Clinton Campaign

How useful will Debbie Wasserman Schultz be in Hillary Clinton's campaign? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by William Murphy, Professor of American history, on Quora.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not being put to work in Hillary's campaign.

A lot of people who are excited about this election for one reason or another are people who, in the past, have not paid a lot of attention to politics. And now, those people are paying a lot of attention, but they don't necessarily understand all that they are seeing.

Here's what has happened over the past few days: High-ranking officials in the Democratic Party, including Clinton, Harry Reid, and ultimately President Obama, concluded that Debbie Wasserman Schultz had to go. There had been discussions about forcing her out for months. But there's no easy mechanism to force out a party chair who does not want to leave. All you can do is pressure them, and the process can get ugly. The Party Chair is actually not a very powerful position -- and it's not a position many people want, as its main role is fundraising, and most politicians spend enough of their time doing that already. It's a job that most people think of as thankless, dull, and a pain in the ass to do. So it's hard to get someone to agree to take the position much of the time. At the same time, however, once someone is in the position, forcing them out isn't easy.

So the decision was reached that she really did have to go sometime late last week. But she did not want to go. She did not want to accept that she needed to go. Part of this was because of the embarrassment of being forced out. No doubt, she felt like she was being unfairly scapegoated. But she wasn't prepared to quit ... even though she would have been out of the job by the end of the year anyway if Clinton wins the election (new presidents usually get to install new party chairs.)

Like I said, lots of people who are paying attention right now don't follow politics that closely. Politics is a game. You might want to believe that it shouldn't be or that things need to change, or whatever. But it is still a game, and the game has rules. One of the rules is, if you want someone to quit their position, but quitting would be embarrassing to them, you offer them the chance to save face.

Schultz was given an honorary, unpaid position on the campaign as a face-saving gesture to secure her agreement to step down as DNC chair without a fight.

This is how the game is played. Now she can say she "transitioned" from being DNC chair to overseeing Clinton's 50-state program inside her campaign as an honorary campaign chair. Really, she was forced to quit the DNC, and has been given an empty honorary title with no responsibility.

It's a game. It has rules. It's been played like this for a long time. It will continue to be played like this for a long time into the future. Hillary Clinton certainly understood the bad optics of giving DWS any kind of honorary title in her campaign, but she understood more that not securing Debbie Wasserman Schultz's resignation before the convention would be worse; and a fight to forcibly remove her against her will would take time and be a massive distraction.

But Debbie Wasserman Schultz will have no actual role in the campaign.

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