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A Look At Tom Perez’s Disastrous Six Months As DNC Chair

- August 24, 2017

Six Months Into His Tenure As DNC Chair, Tom Perez Has Presided Over Some Of The Worst Fundraising Numbers In Recent History, And Warring Factions Within His Own Party

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TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • Six months into his tenure as DNC Chair, Tom Perez has overseen three of the worst monthly fundraising reports for Democrats since President Obama took office.
  • Despite record grassroots fundraising during his presidential campaign, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has refused to give the party access to his donor list, instead using his fundraising prowess to help a select group of progressive candidates.
  • During his awkward "unity tour" with Senator Sanders, Perez was booed and criticized for his use of profanity in speeches.
  • Nina Turner, director of Senator Sanders outside political group Our Revolution and member of his presidential campaign, has described the DNC as "dictatorial," "superficial," and "tone-deaf."
  • Facing pressure from progressives to demand ideological purity on certain issues, Perez came out in favor of a "litmus test" for candidates on abortion, only to be dismissed by his own party's leadership.

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IN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF TOM PEREZ'S TENURE AS DNC CHAIR, FUNDRAISING HAS BEEN HISTORICALLY LOW

The DNC's Fundraising During The First Six Months Of 2017 Has Been Abysmal

The DNC Has Struggled With Fundraising For Years "But Even By Its Own Standards, The Start Of 2017 Has Been Bad." "The DNC has had problems for years, often badly lagging behind the Republican National Committee in fundraising and struggling under the uneven leadership of Debbie Wasserman Schultz until her ouster last year. But even by its own standards, the start of 2017 has been bad." (Aaron Blake, "The Democratic National Committee's Abysmal Fundraising," The Washington Post , 8/21/17)

Lagging Fundraising During The Beginning Of Tom Perez's Term As DNC Chair Has Frustrated Democrats . "The lag in Democratic Party fundraising through the first four months of new party Chairman Tom Perez's tenure has frustrated Democrats, especially as liberals see a groundswell of enthusiasm in opposition to President Trump." (Ben Kamisar, "RNC Raises Millions More Than DNC In July," The Hill , 8/19/17)

  • Six Months Into His Tenure As DNC Chair, Tom Perez Has Overseen Three Of The Worst Monthly Fundraising Reports For The Democratic Party Since President Obama Took Office. " Tom Perez has been chairman of the Democratic National Committee for about six months. During that brief tenure, the committee has accounted for three of its 14 worst monthly fundraising reports since Barack Obama was elected president. And its latest month was its worst since Obama was inaugurated more than eight years ago." (Aaron Blake, "The Democratic National Committee's Abysmal Fundraising," The Washington Post , 8/21/17)

The Fundraising Numbers For The DNC For July 2017 Are The Worst Since January 2009. "The $4.7 million it raised in April was the lowest for that particular month since 2009. The $4.3 million raised in May was the worst for that month since 2003. And now the $3.8 million raised in July is the worst for any month since January 2009." (Aaron Blake, "The Democratic National Committee's Abysmal Fundraising," The Washington Post , 8/21/17)

The RNC Raised $37.2 Million More Than The DNC In The First Half Of 2017. "The DNC raised $38.2 million in the first half of the year, compared with the Republican National Committee's (RNC) $75.4 million haul during that period - a $37.2 million difference. As of June 30, the RNC has almost $45 million in the bank, while the DNC has just under $7.5 million, along with $3 million in debt." (Ben Kamisar and Amie Parnes, "DNC Shake-Up Leaves Dems Behind In Fundraising," The Hill , 8/17/17)

  • The DNC Raised $3.8 Million To The RNC's $10.2 Million In July. "The DNC raised just $3.8 million in July, compared to the $10.2 million raised by the RNC in the same month. While the GOP has no debt, the DNC added slightly to its debt in July, which now sits at $3.4 million." (Ben Kamisar, "RNC Raises Millions More Than DNC In July," The Hill , 8/19/17)
  • The DNC Raised $5.5 Million To The RNC's $13.5 Million In June. "The Republican National Committee (RNC) outpaced the Democrats in fundraising in June by over $8 million, raising a staggering $13.5 million compared to the DNC's $5.5 million." (Josh Delk, "DNC Adds To Debt After Falling Behind RNC In June Fundraising," The Hill , 7/21/17)
  • The DNC Raised $4.2 Million To The RNC's $10.9 Million In May . "The Republican National Committee raised nearly $10.9 million in May, more than twice the amount collected by its Democratic counterpart, new filings show. The fundraising haul brings to nearly $62 million that the RNC has collected this year. The Democratic National Committee raised $4.29 million in May and $32.7 million so far in 2017, according to the party's filings with the Federal Election Commission." (Fredreka Schouten, "Republicans Outpace Democrats In Party Fundraising," USA Today , 6/21/17)

A Weak War Chest And Accumulating Debt Is A Concern For Democrats Ahead Of The 2018 Midterms

The Democrats Face The Possibility Of Being Outgunned Financially Ahead Of 2018 Midterms When They Will Try To Make Gains In The House And Senate. "They're also concerned about the implications of being financially outgunned ahead of a pivotal midterm election cycle, where Democrats will attempt to take the House while defending a number of Senate seats." (Ben Kamisar and Amie Parnes, "DNC Shake-Up Leaves Dems Behind In Fundraising," The Hill , 8/17/17)

When Factoring In Existing Debt, The DNC Is "Bleeding Money Rather Than Building Up A War Chest" For 2018. "Notably, the DNC is also bleeding money rather than building up a war chest with which to fight the 2018 election. The DNC's cash on hand has dropped from more than $10 million when Perez took over to less than $7 million today. The committee has also seen its debts rise to $3.4 million. Combining its cash on hand with its debt, the DNC was $7.4 million in the black shortly after Perez took over at the end of February and is now just $3.4 million in the black." (Aaron Blake, "The Democratic National Committee's Abysmal Fundraising," The Washington Post , 8/21/17)

DESPITE THEIR FUNDRAISING WOES, SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS WON'T GIVE THE PARTY HIS DONOR LIST

Democrats Are Frustrated They Can't Translate Grassroots Energy Into Donations, But Senator Sanders Mastered This During His Run For The Presidency

Democrats Are Frustrated That They Can't Translate Grassroots Energy Into Effective Fundraising. "The lagging fundraising has frustrated some Democrats, who see Trump's sinking favorability and stalled agenda and the ongoing Russia probes and wonder why the national party can't translate that grassroots energy into donations." (Ben Kamisar and Amie Parnes, "DNC Shake-Up Leaves Dems Behind In Fundraising," The Hill , 8/17/17)

Senator Sanders Campaign "Set Fundraising Records And Fostered A Grassroots Network." "The campaign has set fundraising records and fostered a grassroots network of individuals now literally invested in the candidate's success. On the trail, Sanders is quick to note that the average donation is a mere $27 and that the campaign has taken in more than 4 million individual contributions." (Clare Foran, "Bernie Sanders's Big Money," The Atlantic , 3/1/16)

Senator Sanders Was Able To Raise Millions In Small Dollar Donations In A Matter Of Days Simply By Asking His Supporters For Contributions. "When Bernie Sanders makes a demand for money, he gets it. After winning the New Hampshire primary, the Democratic presidential candidate broadcast a plea. 'I'm going to hold a fundraiser right here, right now, across America,' Sanders declared, urging anyone who would listen to visit his website and make a donation-'whether it's 10 bucks, or 20 bucks, or 50 bucks.' Money poured in at a rapid clip. By the end of the next day, the campaign had collected a staggering $8 million." (Clare Foran, "Bernie Sanders's Big Money," The Atlantic , 3/1/16)

Throughout The Primary Season, Senator Sanders Compiled A List Of About 2.5 Million Contributors, Many Of Whom Are Young And New To Politics, Making The List Extremely Valuable. "Sanders finishes the primary season with a fundraising list of some 2.5 million contributors, including legions of millennials new to politics. 'It's largely a younger list,' said Anthony Corrado, a political scientist who studies campaign finance at Colby College. 'I expect it includes many new donors that aren't amongst the traditional source of candidate or party finance.'" (Peter Overby, "Will The Millions Of People Who Gave Money To Bernie Sanders Give To Democrats?," NPR , 6/15/16)

Senator Sanders Refuses To Give His Donor List To The DNC Despite Their Financial Struggles, But Did Use It To Fundraise For Progressive Candidates

Since Senator Sanders Dropped Out Of The Democratic Primary, He Has "Steadfastly Refused" To Give The Party Access To His Fundraising List . "And yet, since he dropped out of the primary, Sanders has steadfastly refused to hand over his list to the Democratic Party, much to the chagrin of those who say it could be crucial to help build opposition to Donald Trump's presidency." (Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis, "Bernie Sanders' Team Explains Why He Won't Hand Over His Donor List," The Huffington Post , 6/29/17)

Senator Sanders Successfully Used His Fundraising List To Help 13 Down-Ballot Progressives. "Sanders has already deployed the list to help 13 down-ballot progressives. The fundraising, with Sanders's imprimatur, was a success." (Peter Overby, "Will The Millions Of People Who Gave Money To Bernie Sanders Give To Democrats?," NPR , 6/15/16)

SENATOR SANDERS' REFUSAL TO HAND OVER HIS DONOR LIST UNDERSCORES A RIFT BETWEEN HIS PROGRESSIVE FOLLOWING AND PEREZ'S DNC ESTABLISHMENT

Perez And Sanders Went On An Ill-Fated Unity Tour That Cemented These Divisions

Perez Said The Goal Of The Tour Was To Repair The Relationship Between The Progressive Wing Of The Party And The DNC. "Perez said the goal of the joint trip is to begin to chip away at the trust and credibility gap that currently exists between the DNC and progressive Sanders supporters. 'This is exactly why we're going to every corner of this country,' Perez said. 'To rural America, to urban America, to every corner in between. To talk and listen and learn.'" (Scott Detrow, "Sanders' Unity Tour With DNC Chair Exposes Rifts But Also Suggests Common Goals," NPR , 4/22/17)

At The Kick Off Event, The Audience Cheered For Sanders And Booed The DNC. " The early returns have not been promising. At a kick-off event in Maine on Monday, the audience roared for Sanders and booed at the mention of the DNC." (Gregory Kreig, "Democrats' 'Unity Tour' Is Highlighting Their Many Divisions," CNN , 4/21/17)

During An MSNBC Interview Sanders Refused To Identify Himself As A Democrat. "During a joint interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Tuesday night, Sanders said he does not even consider himself a Democrat. 'I am an independent,' Sanders affirmed. The self-identified democratic socialist serves in the Senate as an independent, although he caucuses with the Democrats and ran in the Democratic presidential primary last election cycle." (Miranda Green and Eli Watkins, "Sanders, Perez Unity Tour Is Off To A Bumpy Start," CNN , 4/19/17)

During The Tour, Perez Garnered Criticism For His Use Of Foul Language

While On The Unity Tour, Perez Regularly Used Profanity In His Speeches. "Perez, who has been traveling the country on a unity tour meant to unite the party after a bruising election season, regularly uses curse words in his speech, often to say some variation on his claim that Republicans 'don't give a s--- about people'" (Mallory Shelbourne, "DNC Chair Perez Criticized For Frequent Swearing," The Hill , 4/24/17)

CNN Host John King Criticized Perez For His Language. "But Republicans aren't the only ones criticizing Perez. CNN host John King criticized Perez on the channel, while a panel Monday similarly slammed his language. 'I think that's unnecessary,' King said. 'I think you can do it with manners, I really do. Passion's good. Manners good also.'" (Mallory Shelbourne, "DNC Chair Perez Criticized For Frequent Swearing," The Hill , 4/24/17)

The Director Of Sanders' Outside Political Group, Our Revolution, Has Openly Attacked The DNC

Nina Turner, Director Of Senator Sanders Group Our Revolution, Described The DNC As "Dictatorial," "Superficial," And "Tone-Deaf." "'Dictatorial.' 'Arrogant.' 'Pompous.' 'Superficial.' 'Tone-deaf.' 'Tone-dead.' 'Out of line.' 'Insulting' - 'absolutely insulting.' These are the words that Nina Turner, president of the group founded by Bernie Sanders to further his 'political revolution,' used in an interview to describe the Democratic National Committee." (Ruby Cramer, "Every Democrat, Like Every American, Should Support A Woman's Right To Make Her Own Choices About Her Body And Her Health," Buzzfeed News , 8/9/17)

Turner, A Member Of The Sanders Campaign, Said After His Primary Loss That The Democratic Party Might Not Be Worth Saving. "Turner, who made a splash in 2015 by jumping from Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign to Sanders's, has become a superstar among left-wing activists who think the Democrats have become so 'corporate' as to raise questions about whether they're worth saving." (David Weigel, "Nina Turner, A Democratic Party Critic, Takes Reins Of Sanders-Founded Group," The Washington Post , 6/29/17)

Turner Dismissed The Idea That Warring With The DNC Will Deepen The Party Divide By Saying She Wants To "Flip That On It's Head" And Place Blame On The Establishment For Not Working With Progressives. "Turner rejected the idea that a new DNC fight would stir up old feelings of division and mistrust. 'I want to flip that on its head," she responded. 'Why won't the Democratic Party partner with the progressive left - i.e. Our Revolution?'" (Ruby Cramer, "Every Democrat, Like Every American, Should Support A Woman's Right To Make Her Own Choices About Her Body And Her Health," Buzzfeed News , 8/9/17)

Turner Attacked DNC Staffers Who Were Critical Of Sanders, And Speculated Whether "A 'Young, New, Burgeoning Party' Would Be A Better Vessel For Progressive Energy" After Sanders Lost The Democratic Primary. "After Sanders's Democratic primary bid ended, she speculated whether a 'young, new, burgeoning party' would be a better vessel for progressive energy. During the Democratic National Convention, after hackers released a trove of emails from the Democratic National Committee, Turner gave a rousing speech to the left-wing 'People's Convention' attacking staffers who had been revealed as critics of Sanders." (David Weigel, "Nina Turner, A Democratic Party Critic, Takes Reins Of Sanders-Founded Group," The Washington Post , 6/29/17)

FACING PRESSURE FROM PROGRESSIVES, PEREZ SUPPORTED A LITMUS TEST ONLY TO HAVE THE IDEA DISMISSED BY OTHER LEADERSHIP FIGURES

There Is Growing Pressure From Progressives To Demand Ideological Purity From Potential Candidates

Ben Tulchin, A Pollster For Senator Bernie Sanders During His Presidential Campaign, Has Said That They Consider Healthcare A "Litmus Test" Within The Democratic Party. "The Vermont senator himself has not explicitly said he'll support primary challenges to those who won't support his push for a so-called Medicare-for-all health care plan. But there are plenty of signs that Sanders and his allies view the issue as a defining moment for Democratic lawmakers. 'Our view is that within the Democratic Party, this is fast-emerging as a litmus test,' said Ben Tulchin, the pollster for Sanders' White House run." (Gabriel Debenedetti, "Sanders 'Litmus Test' Alarms Democrats," Politico , 8/7/17)

Nina Turner, President Of Our Revolution, A Progressive Group Spawned Out Of Senator Sanders' Presidential Run, Said "To Me, There's Something Wrong With Them." About Democrats Who Wouldn't "Unequivocally" Support Medicare-For-All. "'Any Democrat worth their salt that doesn't unequivocally say Medicare-for-all is the way to go? To me, there's something wrong with them,' said former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, president of Our Revolution. 'We're not going to accept no more hemming and hawing. No more game playing. Make your stand.'" (Gabriel Debenedetti, "Sanders 'Litmus Test' Alarms Democrats," Politico , 8/7/17)

Tom Perez Voiced Support For A Litmus Test, Only To Be Contradicted By Democratic Leadership

DNC Chair Tom Perez Said, " Every Democrat, Like Every American, Should Support A Woman's Right To Make Her Own Choices About Her Body And Her Health." "Perez was basically declaring that a position held by 1 in 5 or 1 in 4 Democrats and lots of blacks and Hispanics is not a valid position in his party. 'Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman's right to make her own choices about her body and her health,' he said." (Aaron Blake, "Democrats' Self-Inflicted Abortion Problem," The Washington Post , 4/24/17)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Rebuffed Him, Highlighting The Party's Struggle Over Whether They Should Demand Ideological Purity. "Over the weekend, Democratic National Committee Chairman Thomas Perez drew a line against supporting any candidates who oppose abortion rights, only to have House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rebuff him. And the split says plenty about Democrats' struggles to unify behind any cohesive political strategy -- specifically, whether to embrace purity or pragmatism." (Aaron Blake, "Democrats' Self-Inflicted Abortion Problem," The Washington Post , 4/24/17)

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Supported Rep. Nancy Pelosi's Comments Saying "We're A Big Tent Party" And Highlighted His Support For Pro-Life Catholic Senator Bob Casey. MSNBC's JOE SCARBOROUGH: "Yesterday, Nancy Pelosi said forget all the nonsense you're hearing, yes, we want pro-life Catholics in our party, and if they run, we can support them. You certainly showed that in Pennsylvania, that a pro-life Catholic." SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): "Oh, I got killed. I got criticized." SCARBOROUGH: "You got killed, but he's still the senator in Pennsylvania." SCHUMER: "And a great senator." SCARBOROUGH: "That's still a vote your way." SCHUMER: "You bet. Look, we're a big tent party as Nancy Pelosi said, but we are - let's make no mistake about it, we're a pro-choice party. We're a strongly pro-choice party. We think that's where the American people are and, in fact, if anything, are moving even more in that direction." (MSNBC's "Morning Joe," 4/24/17)


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