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01 March, 2017

Election of Tom Perez to DNC chair shows the DNC establishment has learned nothing

Failing to learn from the humiliating losses of the last election, establishment Democrats continue to cater to their oligarchical donors while rejecting the party’s progressive base and its future.

By Whitney Webb

Part 1

The past year has not been kind to the Democratic Party. Engulfed in major scandals in the lead-up to the election, Democrats suffered humiliating losses in November, losing the majorities they held in the House and Senate along with the presidency and several key governorships.

In addition, major rifts within the party became impossible to ignore. Many Democrats, energized and motivated by the insurgent primary campaign of Bernie Sanders, felt betrayed and ignored by the party establishment that did everything in its power to ensure the nomination of one of the most unelectable candidates of all time, Hillary Clinton.

Months after the bitter primary concluded, the Democratic Party remains anything but united, as it is desperately trying to keep Sanders-Clinton “proxy” wars from breaking out while also fighting to brand itself as “the people’s party” despite last year’s scandals. In spite of their best efforts, the very type of “proxy” wars they were seeking to avoid between the Sanders- and Clinton-supporting factions ultimately defined the contest to choose the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

DNC insiders came together in Atlanta on Saturday to choose the party’s new chair after both interim chair Donna Brazile and five-year chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz were disgraced by various scandals. The lead-up to the vote, as the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald noted, had become “something of an impassioned proxy war replicating the 2016 primary fight.

In November, the Sanders-backed choice for DNC chair, Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota, announced his candidacy with the endorsements of several notable progressives, including Elizabeth Warren, as well as key establishment figures like Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid. At the time, Ellison appeared to be the clear front-runner. However, the Obama White House worked hard over the following month to convince then-Labor Secretary Tom Perez to run for DNC chair. Perez launched his candidacy a full month after Ellison, drawing speculation that establishment Democrats were desperate to challenge Ellison’s election to the DNC’s top position. As has been the case for so long in the Democratic Party, Perez, the establishment candidate, was chosen over Ellison.

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