Fractured, frustrated Democrats to pick leader in Trump era
- Author: Leroy Wright Feb 28, 2017,
Feb 28, 2017, 2:27
Tom Perez, a labor secretary under Barack Obama, narrowly won the race over Ellison, a congressman from Minnesota who was endorsed early by Sanders, the senator from Vermont who was the runner-up past year for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Perez gave a speech before the vote, and he said Democrats face "a crisis of confidence" and a "crisis of relevance".
And he made it clear that Democrats can not work with President Donald Trump, whom he called a liar and a racist. An openly gay Navy veteran of the Afghanistan war and a Rhodes Scholar, Buttigieg raised his profile, and will continue to enjoy buzz as a rising Democratic star without alienating any party faction.
Perez takes over a party that has not only lost the White House and congress, but several governorships and state legislatures, including Minnesota's.
Ellison donned a "Team Tom" button while Perez pinned on a "Keith for DNC" one as they stood side-by-side to warn of threats too serious to be derailed by intraparty scuffles. A prominent Jewish donor to the Democratic Party and the Anti Defamation League (ADL) had called for the defeat of Mr. Ellison, calling his views on the Israel-Palestine conflict "anti-Semitic".
That said, the fight for the DNC chairmanship did tell us something notable about the state of Democratic politics.
Perez won after reaching the threshold of 218 votes out of the 435 members of the DNC.
In subreddits, Facebook groups, Twitter accounts, and in progressive and pro-Sanders social media pages, many mourned the election of Perez, who served as President Obama's Secretary of Labor and was widely seen as the establishment candidate.
Talking to voters on the ground regularly and understanding what happened between 2012 and 2016 in areas like Macomb County, where voters supported Obama in 2012 but solidly supported President Donald Trump in 2016, is key to the party's future success, Perez said.
President Trump quickly tweeted his response, "Congratulations to Thomas Perez, who has just been named Chairman of the DNC. I could not be happier for him, or for the Republican Party!". The vote went to a second round after Perez fell one vote shy of the 214.5 needed to win on the first ballot.
Despite the loss, Ellison is not leaving Atlanta empty-handed. "And if we waste even a moment going at it over who supported who we are not going to be standing up for those people".
"We need a total transformation", the senator from Vermont said.
Brazile said the party has worked with cybersecurity experts to address vulnerabilities.
They say those organisations then can capitalise on the widespread opposition to Trump by getting frustrated voters to elect more Democrats.
Mr Trump no doubt is watching the DNC race closely.
Brazile is urging Congress to investigate whether Russians hacked the Republican National Committee. "They're going to ask the question of all of us: Where were you in 2017, when we had the worst president in the history of the United States?".
No RNC emails were leaked during the 2016 campaign.