Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez is staring into a Waterloo of his own creation, and some insiders speculate he may be unceremoniously ousted after the first round of presidential primary debates. As Napoleon Bonaparte remarked on his way to lifelong exile after losing his derriere and his crown at the Battle of Waterloo, “But it was Fate that made me lose it.” He then pompously went on to blame everyone, everyone’s brother, and God.
Today, Perez resembles that remark.
Swamp sitters who play in these winner-take-all tournaments cite the disastrous presidential primary debate rules, the unruly and ununified cast of candidates, and the neutering of the powerful party elite by the elimination of the Democratic Party’s superdelegate system as possible grounds for Perez’s undoing. At least that’s according to one unafraid Democrat, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA). Connolly ominously warned that Perez is sorely lacking in support and goodwill from the flock, saying, “That puts him in a very exposed position that is one problem away from being terminal.”
Tough words leveled against the one guy trying to appease dozens of manifestations of a previously united political juggernaut.
Tried and True Blue V. Radicals
Not unlike the upheaval and revolutionary war in the Republican Party when Donald J. Trump first appeared on the political stage in 2015, with 16 hopefuls waiting their turn at anointment, the Democrats find themselves in a comparable position vying for power.
The 2018 midterms launched a new radical left faction — once referred to as the fringe — to the main stage. Buoyed by the success in several Democrat and Republican strongholds of candidates promoted by the group Justice Democrats, a loud, ill-mannered voice emerged to challenge the old guard in becoming the party’s norm.
Perez is spending an inordinate amount of time endeavoring to blend traditional centrists, such as the Clintons, Vice President Joe Biden, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), with socialism-promoting newbies, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and her anti-Semitic pals, Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).
This surge of hate and interest in near-communist ideology from the self-described progressive arm should have been tamped down immediately. Instead, Perez made a fatal error of judgment, after taking the mantle of DNC leadership in 2017, by pandering to the outraged supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Shortly after the DNC was found to have cheated Sanders out of a fair primary contest against party favorite Hillary Clinton, millions of disillusioned and outraged registered voters appeared on the verge of leaving the Democrat base to follow their frumpy leader, Sanders. Although Sanders acquiesced to pressure and ended up endorsing Clinton, the Bernie Bros still weren’t unanimously on board.
In a knee-jerk move to salvage a constituency still stinging from the DNC’s deceptive democratic process, Perez sought Sanders’ support and went scorched earth on the party elite, reducing to near obscurity the superdelegates’ power.
Since 1982, superdelegates — current elected officials, party officers, and high-profile activists — have enjoyed the heady power of selecting and securing the Democratic nominee on behalf of their faithful. But candidates spent more time courting the 700-plus uber powerful than wooing the everyday voters. To placate the angry, anxiety-ridden Bernie Bros, the elite seemed relegated to the history books.
Fast forward to 2020, and every single Democratic candidate for president – including Bernie Sanders – once again is pandering to superdelegates. The Sanders camp already has a 2020 “superdelegates strategy” and an outreach program designed to “prepare for multiple convention scenarios.” That is, if he can get through a primary run without bias.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) is one such neutered superdelegate who insists the modest amount of influence once granted “added some stability” to the process. He continues to rail against Perez, calling his actions a “mistake,” reminding everyone who might listen, “I’ve been around long enough to see the Democratic Party and its nominating process go from [being] dominated by the political establishment to eliminating the political establishment…”
Howard Dean was much less diplomatic, honestly claiming in 2016 after being questioned on why he didn’t stick with his constituents’ wishes, “Superdelegates don’t ‘represent the people’.… I’ll do what I think is right for the country.”
How undemocratic of you, Mr. Dean.
Other disgruntleds have threatened to boycott the 2020 convention altogether, such as Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), no relation to the Beaver, who said he would “watch it on TV” since he doesn’t have a say so much anymore.
And the unraveling of Perez’s big bright blue cable-knit cabal continues.
The Big Grass Roots Scam
In the coming days, candidates who have polled at least 1% and boast 65,000 individual donors will take the stage over a two-night run to tell America why they are the best choice to take on the populist President Donald Trump. The field will be winnowed as it approaches each debate with additional hurdles to clear, all to ensure a people’s – not big donor or corporate puppet – candidate.
The message appeals to the discontents, but once a candidate is selected, you can bet big corporate and PAC money will roll freely through the DNC. And, frankly, the Dems cannot even agree that this strategy is efficient and productive, making Perez an easy target for an angry rock-throwing mob and setting up yet another excuse if they lose in 2020 to Trump.
Hasty decisions to calm a righteously wrathful Democratic horde may lead to the ouster of the man chosen to mend the great divide. In a fractured party, fraught with internal and public power struggles, whoever leads this mess must have superpowers of mind-bending capability to restore order and ideology to millions of lone practitioners angling for power. It appears that Perez may not be that guy after all. But will he tuck tail and head for a quiet exile while blaming anyone but himself? It worked before.
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