DNC chief faces perilous fall

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Media Outlet: The Hill

"Balancing these needs is one of the toughest jobs for a legislative leader. There is no clear path forward," Zelizer said. "Obviously the biggest danger is alienating your constituents so much that they vote you out of office.

"You can heal wounds among party leaders," he added, "but sometimes constituents can be unforgiving."

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Julian Zelizer is a fellow in New America's Political Reform program. He is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and writes a weekly column for CNN.com.