Progress for All founder and law professor Tim Canova is taking another shot at unseating former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who has been embroiled in lawsuits and scandals since the 2016 elections.
This time, however, Canova is not running against Wasserman Schultz in the Democratic primary, but the general election as an independent candidate.
Canova made the announcement last week that he was dumping his party affiliation to run as an independent. In his words, he wasn’t leaving the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left him.
I recently spoke with Tim Canova over the phone. During the 30-minute conversation, we discussed:
His decision to run as an independent;
Accusations from partisans that he is a “spoiler candidate”;
Litigation over ballot destruction by the Broward County Supervisor of Elections;
The need for election and political reform to restore integrity in elections;
The Imran Awan / Pakistani IT scandal;
Listen to the full interview above. Also, check out some notable excerpts from the conversation below:
On his decision to run as an independent:
“The local and state [Democratic] parties have certainly shown their favoritism toward Wasserman Schultz over me, and they have shown favoritism toward all of their corporate-owned incumbents over any challengers — particularly progressive challengers.” – Tim Canova
“It reached a tipping point dealing with the ballot destruction from my previous primary against [Wasserman Schultz]. We discovered during the course of litigating in our efforts to inspect the ballots…that the Broward Supervisor of Elections completely destroyed all of the paper ballots while the litigation was pending, and in violation of federal law.
When the party could not be bothered with investigating ballot destruction that has undermined people’s faith and confidence in the integrity of the system, to me it just became intolerable.”
(Local and state Democratic Parties) have shown favoritism toward all of their corporate-owned incumbents over any challengers -- particularly progressive challengers.
Tim Canova, independent candidate for Congress
“The idea that I should stay in as a Democrat and compete in a closed primary at the end of August with all the cards stacked against us, I thought that it had really become untenable, and that the way forward was to be in a general election where we could go for, not just the hardline Democratic party folks who always follow the lead of the leadership, but also going after new Democratic votes…also independents and Republicans and third parties like Greens and Libertarians… ”
On the accusation that he is acting as a “spoiler candidate” to Wasserman Schultz:
“I think Wasserman Schultz herself has been quite the spoiler for the Democrats. She has been the architect of one failure after another. The Democrats who complain the loudest are the ones who have been the most silent about the ballot destruction, and about Wasserman Schultz’s possible affiliations with the Broward Supervisor of Elections and her possible role in all of this.”
“We will be going up against a corporate-funded Democrat and a corporate-funded Republican, and the voters will have a choice — a duopoly which is the same old, same old on the one hand, and a progressive campaign that represents the people [on the other].”
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On how to end the pro-establishment, anti-grassroots culture in the parties — particularly the Democratic Party in this instance:
“It is going to require progressive challengers against incumbent, corporate-funded Democrats all over the country. In lots of parts of the country there are open primaries — like in California. For instance, in the Bay Area, you’ve got Stephen Jaffe, a progressive, running against Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House. That is an open (nonpartisan) primary where the top two finishers (regardless of party) square off against each other, and Jaffe has a good chance I think to be squaring off against Pelosi…
I think it is much more difficult for a progressive challenge to an incumbent in a closed primary state like Florida, where only registered Democrats can vote, and where all the cards are stacked for the incumbent.”
I think Wasserman Schultz herself has been quite the spoiler for the Democrats. She has been the architect of one failure after another.
Tim Canova, independent candidate for Congress
Tim Canova vs. Debbie Wasserman Schultz on election and political reform:
“[Open primaries and the restoration of voting rights for nonviolent felons] are initiatives my campaign has been pushing this whole time, and Wasserman Schultz has been real quiet about. She has actually spoken up in favor of closed primaries. She has spoken up in favor of superdelegates. While she talks about overturning Citizens United, it does seem to be the height of hypocrisy considering how much corporate money she takes through her own political action committees and through super PACs that are spending money on her behalf.”
On the Imran Awan / Pakistani IT scandal:
“It is uncertain what the Awan brothers — what the whole team was doing with the data that was breached. There were reports that Awan was actually accessing that data for many months from Pakistan itself when he was back there. So you wonder if he was working alongside Pakistani intelligence — the ISI. It doesn’t sound like it was a credit card scam. It sounds like it was much more likely that it was an extortion and blackmail racket, perhaps even extorting members of Congress. If so, this is perhaps the biggest breach of security in congressional history, which certainly warrants an investigation.”
“Is this just the swamp where both of these parties wash each other’s dirty hands and dirty laundry? They both have the same corporate backing, after all. Or [are] the Republicans planning on amping up their investigations during the election season?”