As we mark a year under a Trump administration, Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is attempting to resurrect his beleaguered Party and reinvent the machine in charge of managing the blue states’ political perceptions.
After barely surviving the embarrassment of losing the presidential election (and some still have not ceased self-medicating from the shame), discovering the criminal mismanagement of former chairman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, relegating the DNC deeply into the red (ha, how ironic), and suffering the fallout of Donna Brazile’s brave revealing of the awful truth, Perez, a mere mortal, should be shaken to the core and boozing it up in the privacy of his own home.
But instead, the guy is publicly optimistic and exhibiting a true strength of character as he charges at windmills, tilting like a man on a mission.
Personally, I wish Mr. Perez good luck as there are a myriad of layers to sort through and not enough time to straighten out the inherited mess before mid-term elections—which will set the tone moving forward to another presidential show-down in 2020:
“I knew it was a turnaround job when I ran, but I undeniably underestimated the depth of the turnaround job. We had to rebuild almost every facet of the organization, and equally importantly, we had to rebuild trust,” Perez said in a recent interview at party headquarters. “Not just people who had invested in the DNC, but others — they just felt the party had let them down.”
The party let every Democrat down. From the selection of an unimaginably flawed (some might say criminal) candidate who had no message, just a legacy-link to a popular former president, to the rigging of the primary process, disregarding the hopes of millions of Sanders supporters. Then the fleecing of the party coffers—earmarked for races across the nation, and not just for Hillary. Add in the indifference of the liberal-beloved Obama to campaign and rally the vote, and well, the Trump train rolled on into the station with seeming ease.
Some political pundits believe that our national political climate has set up the Democrats for a sweeping change of power on the Hill. But that assessment today is pure wishful thinking by Perez and those who are in the trenches navigating a political minefield established and fiercely protected by Clinton’s minions.
The spat between Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) supporters and Hillary Clinton’s loyalists is one of epic proportion; creating a chasm still widening between constituencies and one of costliest battles in presidential candidate history—a close second to how the DNC was left after Obama’s back to back expensive campaigns. A successful campaign is dependent on both a secure financial backing and enthused voters; but the rift is not being mended, and signs indicate more troubled waters ahead before a consensus can be reached in moving forward; a hurdle that Perez may not clear.
And Sanders, if he were so inclined, could share his precious holdings with the DNC. It’s not money, it’s his list of supporters, and he refuses to give it up. And why should he after the “big tent” reception he received in 2016. A spokesman for Sanders shared his sentiments recently with Politico:
“I don’t think you should expect that to happen. If people think the Sanders list is just an ATM, they’re sadly mistaken,” he said. “It’s a list of millions of people who are motivated by a certain policy agenda. If they think it can be easily transferred, I think it’s a fantasy.”
Okay, they don’t have access to “the Bern” list. And that’s bad. So, just what is Tom Perez excited about? Apparently spreading his 2016-watered down resources across all 50 states, and not just those red state nuisances:
“We’re on a roll. If we carry out our strategy in all 50 states next year, we can take back the House. But I don’t have to tell you that it’s going to take a lot more to win in 2018 than it did in 2017. We have to compete across the country, and we’re not going to catch Republicans off guard like we did this year.”
Are they on a roll? They did pound Judge Roy Moore into political oblivion—on his alleged sexual predilections and not so much policy—and took the Governor’s seat in Virginia. All in all, the Democrats picked up a few seats here and there to pump up morale.
But Perez has a herculean task ahead of him if he wants to chip away at the massive successes the conservatives are currently relishing. On November 6, 2018, all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 33 seats in the Senate will be on the ballot. In 2018, Republicans will retain power in the Senate, and if the Democrats do manage to up-end 45 Republican seats, Perez will have produced a miracle, and the Conservatives will have to begin the long walk back in his shoes.