ABC is reporting that Tom Perez, Secretary of Labor and former President Barack Obama, has been named chairman of the Democratic National Committee:
More than 400 party insiders gathered in Atlanta this weekend to cast their ballots. The former Obama appointee will try to rally the party of Democrats still reeling from its presidential election defeat and crippled by down-ballot losses across the country over the last decade.
Many in the party’s progressive wing had rallied around Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, expressing their frustration with the status quo of the party. They felt strongly that Ellison better identified with the grassroots movement growing across the country in opposition to Trump.
Perez had fallen one short shy of victory in the first round of voting.
NBC is reporting Perez has asked that his main rival, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), a Muslim Member of Congress, be named deputy chair.
JUST IN: Tom Perez moves to elect Keith Ellison as deputy chair of Democratic National Committee https://t.co/piJvs5dfK9
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 25, 2017
Earlier this week the New Republic, liberal publication of long standing, argued that “the case for Tom Perez Makes No Sense.”
If Perez is like Ellison—in both his politics and ideology—why bother fielding him in the first place?
There is one real difference between the two: Ellison has captured the support of the left wing. Ellison backed Sanders early in his primary race against Hillary Clinton, and was one of the first candidates to announce his bid for DNC chair. His election would generate goodwill from Sanders supporters—or, to put it another way, would avoid the enmity that would surely result from a Perez win.
The 400 party insiders who met in Atlanta on Saturday felt otherwise.
The Republican National Committee released this statement Saturday afternoon from Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel about the election of Perez as DNC Chair:
The Democrat Party has lost touch with the American people. Voters spoke loud and clear last November that they wanted a change in Washington and to reverse the failed policies of the last eight years. Families across the country are tired of skyrocketing premiums when they were promised affordable health care. They’re tired of the Obama Economy that’s left too many behind. President Trump and Republican representatives heard the voters’ message loud and clear, and now hold a near historic number of offices across the country. By selecting a D.C. insider, Democrats only create deeper divisions within their own party by pushing a far left agenda that rejects a majority of their base outside Washington. The DNC would be well-served to learn from two straight election cycle losses, encourage the leaders in their party to listen to what the voters want, and get to work with Republicans to fix the mess they created.