In an adjoining column, Hawaii U.S. Rep. and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard makes a strong case for the harm her party’s national committee is doing to the democratic process.

Perhaps it is from her own combat military service that Gabbard draws the courage to take on her own party brass on how it is attempting top-down control of the presidential nomination process.

It is not that Gabbard is an outsider looking in. She has, in fact, qualified for the next DNC debate. But unlike others in that select group, she dares to criticize the process. In fact, she was a DNC vice chair in the last election but resigned, she says, when she saw how the system was flawed.

“The DNC,” she argues, “needs democratizing itself. It’s a centralized, national organization with an elite, 30,000-foot flyover culture.”

Gabbard understands and appreciates the role New Hampshire’s primary has played many times.

Our primary is not just open and inclusive, “it gives voters on the ground open access and a long, up close and personal look at all the candidates, before the national media hype and big party apparatus go into high gear, so they can make up their own minds about who connects.”

History shows that this process allows candidates with a message, if not the money, to “catch fire in New Hampshire.”

The DNC, however, “is working to replace New Hampshire’s brand of retail politics and direct democracy with a kind of virtual national primary filled with reality TV-style debates and dominated by establishment donors, party operatives and media elites.”

How ironic that the party trying to select a challenger to the reality-TV President would try to stifle a truly open contest.