Politico: Former DNC chairman calls for Clinton contingency plan
As seen on Politico, By Kyle Cheney on Sept. 12, 2016
Note: Don Fowler is a Citadel Fellow professor in the Department of Political Scinece.
A former Democratic National Committee chairman says President Barack Obama and the party’s congressional leaders should immediately come up with a process to identify a potential successor candidate for Hillary Clinton for the off-chance a health emergency forces her out of the race.
“Now is the time for all good political leaders to come to the aid of their party,” said Don Fowler, who helmed the DNC from 1995 to 1997, during Bill Clinton’s presidency, and has backed Hillary Clinton since her 2008 presidential bid. “I think the plan should be developed by 6 o’clock this afternoon.”
Fowler said he expects Clinton to fully recover from her bout with pneumonia, which forced her to leave a Sept. 11 memorial event early and cancel an early-week fundraising swing. But he said the Democratic Party would be mistaken to proceed without a contingency plan. The party's existing rules empower the DNC to name a replacement candidate but include few guidelines or parameters.
“It’s something you would be a fool not to prepare for,” he said in an interview on Monday. He added a note of caution, should Clinton attempt an expeditious return to the campaign trail.
“She better get well before she gets back out there because if she gets back out there too soon, it might happen again,” he said.
Fowler noted that at one of his first-ever DNC meetings, in 1972, he supported a decision to nominate Sargent Shriver — a member of the Kennedy clan — to replace Thomas Eagleton as George McGovern’s vice presidential nominee, the only time either major party has replaced one of its two national nominees.
Though that transition was relatively seamless, he said, replacing Clinton would be much more acrimonious and could lead to intense lobbying by loyalists to Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. That’s why, he argued, the party should be prepared.
“This is a different time, with a lot more people who like to express themselves and perhaps wrest control,” he said. “I’m sure some of the Sanders people would want to get into play and some of the Biden people. I think you’re likely to have at least discussions and perhaps controversy.”
The Clinton campaign and DNC did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile said Sunday that she’s glad Clinton appeared to be feeling better and looks forward to “seeing her back out on the campaign trail and continuing on the path to victory.”
The original report can be found here.