Imagine you’re one of the 447 members of the Democratic National Committee. You’re about to cast your ballot in the election for a new chairperson. While there are six candidates, it’s come down to just two. The first is Tom Perez, former Labor Secretary, political centrist, establishment favourite, and Hillary supporter. The other is Keith Ellison, Representative from Minnesota, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, left-wing, grassroots and blue collar workers favourite, and Bernie supporter. After an election in which the Democratic Party lost the vote of the working classes, and screwed over their Progressive wing when the DNC rigged the primary against Bernie when he was the better candidate, surely the logical thing to do would be to target the working class vote with a progressive message?
But, of course, the Democratic Party has done the opposite of the logical thing, and elected Tom Perez as DNC chair.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with Tom Perez as a person. He is a perfectly able politician. However, I question as to whether or not he is the right person to lead the Democratic Party against Donald Trump.
One thing the Democrats should have learned from the election is that they could not afford to ignore what the Left was saying. Another thing would be that there is no appetite in America for the same old centre-ground establishment politics which have characterised the last several decades of American history, and despite whatever attempt Perez makes to appeal to grassroots organisations throughout his tenure as DNC chair, he is always going to be held back by the fact that he is a figure of the Democratic Party establishment. As a result, I fear that any chance the Democrats have of making some sort of recovery at the 2018 mid-term elections have been considerably lessened.
But, of course, it is still early days, and time will tell what sort of approach Perez takes to leading the Democratic Party. In his defence, he did take one very considerable step in the right direction by appointing Keith Ellison as his Vice-Chair, and when he took to Twitter to reply to Trump’s reaction to Perez’s victory said ‘Keith Ellison and I will be your worst nightmare’, which suggests he will regard Ellison as his equal, rather than his subordinate.
Needless to say, I will be watching with great interest.