The Democratic Party has a new leader in Tom Perez. The former Labor Secretary secured enough votes to declare victory over Rep. Keith Ellison. His victory signals that the DNC is not yet ready to embrace the Bernie Sanders wing of the party- opting for yet another leader bred from the establishment.
Perez seemed to get little attention until the weeks leading up to the DNC vote in Atlanta. Prior, all indications were that Ellison was on a path to secure the chairman role. Ellison secured key support from Senator Bernie Sanders and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. He became the face of the most progressive members of the party; those who had hoped he would represent a victory for the failed Sander’s movement. Once again, however, the establishment wing prevailed by flexing its muscle in the second round of voting.
Tom Perez gained support from former Vice President Joe Biden and other Clinton confidants. His victory is seen as an indications of the persisting Obama and Clinton influence over the party. Perez wasted no time attacking President Trump calling him the “worst president in history”. He vowed the Democrats would take the fight to President Trump, indicating the strategy for the party moving forward is to be obstructive at every end. Perez said his Democratic Party would ensure President Trump is a one term President.
The Democratic leadership has faced controversy since former Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was accused of rigging the primary in favor of Hillary Clinton. The DNC replaced her with Donna Brazile, who was later outed for leaking debate questions to the Clinton campaign prior to debates. Since then the party has experienced an internal struggle on the direction it should take. People viewed Perez as one of the more liberal members of the Obama cabinet and in an effort to feign unity, Perez appointed Ellison as Deputy Chair– a move to keep the party from further fracture. Whether Perez can succeed in keeping the party unified remains to be seen.
President Trump congratulated Tom Perez on his victory on twitter Saturday afternoon, with a signature jab thrown in for good measure.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017
The Democrats will now move forward with their strategy to pump life back into the party– a party that has suffered defeat in the Presidential election, failed to gain control of congress, and only controls 17 states through Democratic governors.