Lights, Camera, Perez: Channeling DWS, Perez Uses DNC To Boost Himself

- April 20, 2017

The DNC Is More Concerned With Promoting Tom Perez And Boosting His Name Recognition Than With Helping Democratic Candidates Win Elections


  • While the DNC has focused their efforts on sending Chairman Tom Perez around the country on a "unity tour" and a "turnaround tour," Democrats lost in Kansas and came up short in Georgia.
  • The DNC did not make a significant investment in the recent Special Election in Kansas's 4th Congressional District, upsetting progressive groups who worked to elect the Democrat candidate.
  • Ousted Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was heavily criticized for using the position to advance her own interests and brand instead of the party's.
  • The favorability ratings of the Democratic Party among Democrats are at their lowest point since December of 2014.


Tom Perez And Keith Ellison Went On A Two Week "Democratic Turnaround Tour" In Late March That Did Not Stop In Either Kansas Or Georgia.

On March 24, Tom Perez And Keith Ellison Launched A Multi-State "Democratic Turnaround Tour." "Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez and Deputy Chairman Keith Ellison will hit the road Friday to kick off the reeling party's 'Democratic turnaround tour.' The newly minted party chairman and the Minnesota congressman will first head to Michigan - a state Democrats lost in the 2016 presidential race for the first time in almost 30 years - before stopping in New Jersey, Texas and Virginia over the next two weeks." (Ben Kamisar, "Perez, Ellison Start Multistate 'Turnaround Tour' for Dems," The Hill , 3/23/17)

Tom Perez And Bernie Sanders Launched A Unity Tour On April 17 With Stops In Several Different States But Not Georgia.

Sen. Sanders (I-VT) Joined Tom Perez On A Tour Across The Country "Aimed At Mending A Party Fractured By 2016's Primary Battle." "Sen. Bernie Sanders will join new Democratic National Committee chairman this month on a multi-state tour aimed at mending a party fractured by 2016's primary battle, people familiar with the plans tell CNN. The tour will begin April 17 and last roughly one week. The exact locations are still being nailed down, but the tour is expected to begin in Maine and is also likely to include stops in Florida, Arizona, Kentucky, Nevada, Nebraska, and Utah." (Miranda Green and Eric Bradner, "Bernie Sanders, Tom Perez Plan Multi-State Democratic Unity Tour," CNN , 4/6/17)

Tom Perez And Sen. Sanders' Tour Stopped In 8 Different States. "The new head of the Democratic Party is seeking to present a united front by partnering with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on a tour of red and purple states. Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez will join the former Democratic presidential candidate on visits to Maine, Utah, Nebraska, Montana, Kentucky, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada. Dubbed the 'Come Together and Fight Back Tour,' the joint effort is also aimed at helping bridge the gap between Establishment Democrats who supported Perez for the DNC post and liberals like Sanders who backed his main rival, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison." (Maya Rhodan, "Democrats Promote 'Unity' On Tour With Bernie Sanders," Time , 4/10/17)


After Coming Up Short, Liberal Groups Criticized The DNC And DCCC For Not Spending Any Money In Kansas Until The Final Weekend.

The "Knives Came Out For The Democratic National Committee And DCCC" After It Became Clear The Republican Candidate Would Win In Kansas. "On Tuesday night, as soon as it became clear that voting would push Estes past Thompson, the knives came out for the Democratic National Committee and DCCC. Why had these committees, which were reporting higher fundraising numbers thanks to the Trump backlash, sat out KS-04 until the final hours? Why had DNC chair Tom Perez, who talked about a '57-state-and-territory strategy,' told the Washington Post (specifically, told me) that the DNC was not putting late money into the Kansas Democratic Party." (David Weigel, "Four Big Lessons From Kansas's Special Election," The Washington Post , 4/12/17)

Democrats Were Hoping Jon Ossoff Would Avoid A Run Off Election in GA-06, But Ossoff Fell Short Of Their Goal. "Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel will meet in a runoff for a greater Atlanta congressional seat in a race with national implications. … Ossoff harnessed opposition to President Trump to lead an 18-candidate field in the typically conservative district, but he fell short of the majority needed to win outright. Democrats were hoping Ossoff would be able to garner the 50 percent necessary to avoid a runoff and capture the seat. The special election was a 'jungle primary,' meaning the top two contenders - regardless of party - would face off if no one could capture a majority of the vote in the first round." (Democrat Jon Ossoff Comes Up Short In GA, Special Election, Runoff Set For June," CBS , 4/19/17)

Politico Reported That Democrats Are Beginning To Worry After Two Successive Close Special Elections Without Winning Either. "As it became clear late Tuesday evening that Jon Ossoff would fall just short of the 50-percent mark in the first round of voting in a suburban Atlanta special election, Democrats back in Washington started leafing through their calendars and asking: When does the winning start? Ossoff's moral victory - capturing 48 percent of the vote in a conservative oriented district - was welcome, but after two successive close-but-no-cigar finishes in House special elections in Georgia and Kansas, a new worry is beginning to set in." (Gabriel Debenedetti, "Democrats Begin To Wonder: When Do We Win," Politico , 4/19/17)

Progressive Groups Took Credit For Their Work In Kansas And Contrasted That With How Little The Party Did. "Today, more than ever, groups that plunged in early for Thompson (Our Revolution, Democracy for America, Daily Kos) are trumpeting what they did to call voters and send money by contrasting it with how little the official party did." (David Weigel, "Four Big Lessons From Kansas's Special Election," The Washington Post , 4/12/17)

The Daily Kos Accused The DNC And DCCC Of Not Campaigning In Kansas Or Georgia. "Supposedly, the DNC is back in the 50-state mode, at least, vague promises were made in order to take Keith Ellison (a Bernie backer) down and install the old school favorite Tom Perez, a member of the Obama cabinet and a loyalist to the Clinton faction. I've been called out for failing to name the DCCC, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is fair, because they are the folks who divvy up the money - but the DNC sets policy to some extent. Geeze! However, I have the definite impression that, despite promises made, the DNC failed to put any sizable amount of money and campaign power down on critical races in Kansas, Georgia, and Montana. Indeed, only the Daily Kos was named as a major mover in raising money and public awareness for these races - to my knowledge the Kos is not a branch of the Democratic Party." (Karen Hedwig Backman, "Did The DNC (Or The DCCC) Pony Up In KS, GA And MT," Daily Kos , 4/11/17)

  • The Daily Kos Suggests Donors Give To Them And Not To The DNC. "It seems to me that the DNC sat on its hands and did diddly squat - just like it always does. Why the hell hasn't there been a robust 50-state campaign mounted, with money raising for critical races (and every race should be a critical race and no Republican should run unopposed by a Dem), and Democratic big guns ready to go to these states to aggressively campaign for more Democratic representation? Seems to me that money should be withheld from the DNC until they get their shit together, and people should refer to the Kos for candidates to back financially and campaign for." (Karen Hedwig Backman, "Did The DNC (Or The DCCC) Pony Up In KS, GA And MT," Daily Kos , 4/11/17)

Sen. Sanders Said The DNC "Should Have Put More Resources" Into The Kansas Special Election. "Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), one of very few national political figures who campaigned with defeated Kansas congressional candidate James Thompson, said on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday that Democrats should have done more to win Thompson's race. 'In Kansas, it is true that the Democratic candidate lost,' Sanders said. 'It is true that the Democratic Party should have put more resources into that election.'" (David Weigel, "Ahead Of Democratic Unity Tour, Sanders says Party 'Should Have Put More Resources' Into Kansas," The Washington Post , 4/17/17)

Sen. Sanders's Former Campaign Team Was Critical Of The DNC's Strategy In Kansas. "Bernie Sanders' former presidential campaign team, now running a group called Our Revolution, piled on: 'The Democratic Party can no longer ignore districts that they consider "safe" for Republicans.' Even the Democratic candidate in Kansas himself said the party needs to become active everywhere - even in conservative districts and states. '(DCCC) and DNC need to be doing a 50-state strategy,' said James Thompson in his concession speech." (Alex Roarty, "Liberals Fume At Democratic Establishment For Refusing To Take More Risk," McClatchy , 04/13/17)


Debbie Wasserman Schultz Was Criticized For Using the DNC, First and Foremost, As A Vehicle to Boost Herself

Previous DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz Was Criticized For Spending "More Energy Tending to Her Own Political Ambitions Than Helping Democrats Win." "The perception of critics is that Wasserman Schultz spends more energy tending to her own political ambitions than helping Democrats win. This includes using meetings with DNC donors to solicit contributions for her own PAC and campaign committee, traveling to uncompetitive districts to court House colleagues for her potential leadership bid and having DNC-paid staff focus on her own personal political agenda. She's become a liability to the DNC, and even to her own prospects, critics say." (Edward-Isaac Dovere, "Dems Turn On Wasserman Schultz," Politico , 9/7/14)

Chris Cillizza Of The Washington Post Wrote That, "Wasserman Schultz, From The Jump, Seemed Dead Set On Using The Perch To Promote Her Own Political Interests Rather Than Put What Was Best For Obama First." (Chris Cillizza, "Why Debbie Wasserman Schultz Failed," The Washington Post , 7/25/16)

One Democratic Strategist Said She Focused, "On Why She Wasn't Getting More Media Hits." "But, Wasserman Schultz's emphasis on her own political future - and the need to make sure she was front and center when it came to media attention and interviews- rubbed lots and lots of people the wrong way. 'She ignored infrastructure, instead focusing on why she wasn't getting more media hits,' noted a longtime Democratic strategist familiar with the inner workings of the party committee. 'Fundraising was anemic.'" (Chris Cillizza, "Why Debbie Wasserman Schultz Failed," The Washington Post , 7/25/16)

During the DNC Chair Race, Democrats Wanted A "Low-Wattage" Candidate

During The DNC Chair Race, A Number Of Leading Democrats Wanted "Low-Wattage, But Deep-In-The-Muck Leadership…" "A number of leading Democrats argue that what their party needs right now is the kind of low-wattage, but deep-in-the-muck leadership of the sort that Reince Priebus brought to the Republican National Committee in his nearly six years as chair - an emphasis on party building, data honing and centralized leadership which provided the backbone for Trump's win." (Edward-Isaac Dovere and Daniel Strauss, "DNC Race: Low On Energy, Ideas, Imagination," Politico , 1/28/17)

Among All Americans, The Favorability Of The Democratic Party Is Now Underwater And Has Dropped Since January.

Only Seven-In-Ten Democrats And Democratic-Leaning Independents Have A Favorable View Of The Democratic Party Right Now According To A Recent Pew Poll. "Seven-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (70%) now express a favorable view of the Democratic Party. However, these ratings of the party among its backers are now lower than at any point since December 2014, after the Democrats' midterm election loss. As recently as January, 82% of Democrats and leaners held a positive view of the Democratic Party, and fully 87% did so in October. This decline is most pronounced among Democratic leaners. In January, about seven-in-ten (73%) Democratic leaners said they viewed the Democratic Party favorably; that share has fallen 18 points to just 55% today, one of the lowest ratings the party has received from its leaners over the last two decades. ( Pew Research Center , 1501 A, 2.9% MoE, 4/5/17-4/11/17)

Over 50% Of Americans Have An Unfavorable View Of The Democratic Party, Up From January When 45% Had An Unfavorable View. "About half of Americans have an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party, while 45% have a favorable view. In January, slight more had a favorable than unfavorable view (51% favorable to 45% unfavorable)." ( Pew Research Center , 1501 A, 2.9% MoE, 4/5/17-4/11/17)




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