'IMPARTIAL'? The DNC insists its primary process doesn't play favorites, but an abbreviated debate schedule appears ideal for former secretary of state Hillary Clinton's chances

Source: Daily Mail

The Democratic National Committee is ‘clearing a path’ for Hillary Clinton to be its presidential nominee because its upper power echelons are populated with women, according to a female committee member who was in Las Vegas for Tuesday’s primary debate.

Speaking on the condition that she isn’t identified, she told Daily Mail Online that the party is in the tank for Clinton, and the women who run the organization decided it ‘early on.’

The committeewoman is supporting one of Hillary’s rivals for the Democratic nomination, and said she spoke freely because she believes the former Secretary of State is benefiting from unfair favoritism inside the party.

Clinton aims to be the first female to occupy the Oval Office, and ‘the party’s female leaders really want to make a woman the next president,’ the committeewoman said, rattling off a list of the women who she said are the ‘real power’ in the organization.

‘I haven’t heard anyone say we should make Hillary undergo a trial by fire,’ she added. ‘To the contrary, the women in charge seem eager, more and more, to have her skate into the general [election].’

‘I have nothing against women in politics,’ she underscored. ‘But it’s not healthy for the party if we get behind a woman because she’s a woman, and risk having her implode after she’s nominated because she isn’t tested enough now.’

Five of the nine elected leaders of the DNC are women, including chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz – a Florida congresswoman – and a majority of the vice chairs.

Before Wasserman Schultz assumed her post at the DNC, she eagerly campaigned for Clinton during the then-New York senator’s 2008 presidential run.

DNC national press secretary Holly Shulman told Daily Mail Online flatly: ‘The DNC runs an impartial primary process, period.’

In 2007 and 2008 the Democratic Party’s presidential primary candidates endured a grueling schedule of 27 debates. Hillary Clinton was the only candidate to participate in all of them, and lost the nomination to then-Illinois senator Barack Obama.

This time around, the DNC has sanctioned just six such events. Offering more might have the effect of giving an indecisive Vice President Joe Biden a broader opportunity to jump into the race, saddling Clinton with a formidable challenger.

Shulman pointed out that in addition to the six sanctioned Democratic presidential debates, there will be four ‘outside’ forums where the entire field is expected to deliver remarks – individually, as opposed to head-to-head.

Those include two in Iowa, and one each in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

‘Our debate in Nevada and our upcoming debates and forums will showcase all of our candidates’ visions to move America forward,’ Shulman maintained.

‘There’s a lot at stake. The last time a Republican left office our economy was losing 750,000 jobs a month, countless homes were being foreclosed and too many families were being devastated.

‘These debates and forums are an opportunity for our candidates to introduce themselves and their vision to build on where we are now after 67 straight months of job growth.’

The Democratic National Committee itself includes 448 members, 75 of whom are nominated by the chairwoman. State party committee chairs and vice-chairs are automatically members; Democrats in all 50 states and every U.S. territory elect 200 more.

Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill declined comment during a post-debate campaign swing in Las Vegas.

The committeewoman who spoke to Daily Mail Online said ‘others in my position’ – meaning other Democratic National Committee members – share her concerns and are talking about them behind the scenes.

She participated in a conversation on the margins of the party’s summer meeting in Minneapolis, she said, during which a ‘consensus’ was reached that Clinton should be given the kid-glove treatment.

‘Is this a secret?’ she asked. ‘I mean, all the energy is around Hillary right now, and we’re paring back the number of debates. That’s going to give her a lot fewer opportunities to screw up.’

Two of the organization’s vice chairs took part in the conversation, she recalled, but she declined to identify them or their genders.

During public portions of the Minneapolis meeting, Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, both Clinton rivals, made their cases that Clinton’s support could ultimately wane as rank-and-file liberals tire of the retread candidate.

‘We do not need more establishment politics or establishment economics,’ Sanders said during a speech, hinting that a Clinton nomination could lead to the sort of voter apathy that sank Democrats during the 2014 midterm congressional election.

Enthusiasm and ‘voter turnout was abysmal, embarrassingly low,’ Sanders said, as millions of young, African-American, Hispanic and working-class voters ‘gave up on politics as usual, and they stayed home.’

The female committeewoman said, though, that most of the party apparatus sees things differently.

At least one powerful woman at the DNC disagrees.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii congresswoman and one of the DNC’s vice chairs, raised a stink last week by arguing that there should be more debates.

She claimed that the national party disinvited her from attending Tuesday’s debate in Las Vegas as punishment for falling out of line – an accusation that Wasserman Schultz bitterly disputed in television interviews.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an insurgent socialist who has been Clinton’s only serious competition in national polls, would likely be the main beneficiary of a broader list of debates.

He passed up a chance to hammer Hillary Tuesday night on her classified email scandal, though, by insisting that ‘the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!’

Sanders’ campaign extended an invitation to Gabbard before the debate, saying she could have one of their seats in the debate hall at the Wynn Hotel and Casino.

She declined, saying she didn’t want the dustup to become a ‘political conversation.’

Wasserman Schultz has put her foot down and declared that Democratic presidential candidates will debate just six times before their nominating convention next year in Philadelphia.

The post-debate analysis on Tuesday night was nearly uniform in its positive assessment of Clinton’s performance, underscoring the likelihood of a cakewalk coronation unless she commits a serious unforced error or finds herself indicted by the Obama administration’s Justice Department in connection with the email scandal.