What You Need To Know About The DNC Ahead Of Its Fall Meeting

- October 18, 2017


Eight Months Into His Tenure As DNC Chair, Tom Perez Has Presided Over Some Of The Worst Fundraising Numbers In Recent History, And A Democratic Party With A Growing Identity Crisis



  • Eight months into his tenure as DNC Chair, political neophyte Tom Perez has overseen three of the worst monthly fundraising reports for Democrats since President Obama took office-part of a larger trend of poor fundraising that has Perez getting poor reviews.
  • Democrats spent millions of dollars and still failed to flip any of the open seats in special elections held earlier this year in Georgia, Montana, South Carolina and Kansas.
  • The DNC announced they would donate only 10 percent of the $300,000 they received in donations from Harvey Weinstein-and that 10 percent is being funneled to the DNC's political allies.
  • During the race for DNC Chair, Tom Perez pledged that as DNC Chairman he would be fully committed to uniting the Democratic Party, but the only thing he appears to have committed to this year is a second job; teaching at his alma mater, Brown University.
  • Democrats are suffering an identity crisis-they're still struggling to figure out what their message is while 67% of Americans think Democrats are out-of-touch.



The DNC's Fundraising During The First Eight 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 Through The First Months 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)

  • Seven Months Into His Tenure As DNC Chair, 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 seven 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 DNC's Money Woes Persist," The Washington Post , 9/21/17)
  • Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) Attributed Perez's "Rocky Start" To His "Political Inexperience" And The "Controversial Manner In Which He Was Elected" And Said Perez Has "A Lot Of Room For Improvement ." "Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) lamented what he considers Perez's rocky start. 'There's a lot of room for improvement," he said. He attributed Perez's struggles to both his political inexperience and the controversial manner in which he was elected." (Amie Parnes, "DNC Chief Attracts Criticism From Dem Insiders," The Hill, 10/12/17)

In The First Eight Months Of 2017, The RNC Raised A Total Of $93.3 Million- Over Double The $46.3 Million Raised By The DNC During That Same Period. "The RNC raised a total of $93.3 million in the first eight months of 2017, while the DNC brought in $46.3 million." (Mallory Shelbourne, "GOP Outraised Dem Rivals In August," The Hill , 9/21/17)

In August, The DNC Raised $4.4 Million To The RNC's $7.3 Million. " The Republican National Committee (RNC) outraised the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in August, continuing a streak that has seen the RNC consistently fundraise more than their Democratic rivals in 2017. The RNC raised $7.3 million, while the DNC raised $4.4 million - a nearly $3 million difference. (Mallory Shelbourne, "GOP Outraised Dem Rivals In August," The Hill , 9/21/17)

The DNC's Low August Fundraising Numbers Are "Not An Anomaly" But "A Sign Of A Continuing Trend." "August is not an anomaly; it's a sign of a continuing trend. July 2017 was the DNC's worst fundraising month since January 2009. In June, the DNC didn't fare much better, and the organization posted fundraising lows in April and May unseen in nearly a decade for those months. Between January and July 2017, the RNC out-raised the DNC in small donations by $12 million, an embarrassment for a party that claims to represent working, middle class, and low income voters." (Michael Sainato, Op-Ed, "Out-Fundraised By RNC, DNC Suffers Another Embarrassing Month," Observer , 9/21/17)

  • In July, The DNC Raised $3.8 Million To The RNC's $10.2 Million. "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)
  • In June, The DNC Raised $5.5 Million To The RNC's $13.5 Million. "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)
  • In May, The DNC Raised $4.2 Million To The RNC's $10.9 Million . "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)


In The Special Elections Held In 2017, Democrats Spent Millions Of Dollars And Still Failed To Flip Any Republican-Held Seats

While The RNC Has Reported "Zero Debt" This Year, The DNC's Debt Has Continued To Accumulate, Increasing From $3.4 Million In July To $4.1 Million In August. "The GOP has significantly more cash on hand than the Democrats. The DNC has only $6.8 million, compared to the RNC's $45.8 million. The RNC reported zero debt, while the DNC increased its debt to about $4.1 million - up from $3.4 million last month." (Mallory Shelbourne, "GOP Outraised Dem Rivals In August," The Hill , 9/21/17)

Democrats Failed To Flip Any Of The Four Open Seats Vacated By House Republicans In Georgia, Montana, South Carolina And Kansas. "Democrats tried an inoffensive moderate message in Georgia. They ran a banjo-strumming populist in Montana. They called in the cavalry in South Carolina and tried to catch their foe sleeping through a long-shot in Kansas. None of it worked. In the special elections for House seats vacated by Republicans who wound up in President Donald Trump's Cabinet, Democrats went 0-for-4." (Eric Bradner, "Democrats Just Went 0-4. When Will They Win?," CNN , 6/21/17)

  • In Georgia, Democratic Candidate Jon Ossoff Spent Over $22.5 Million Dollars. "Ossoff's campaign spent more than $22.5 million on the race - or, to be exact, $22,532,263.57 more than the Democratic candidate who faced Price last year. Put another way, Ossoff spent $22,532,263.57 more to finish 9.5 percentage points better than Democrats did last time in the district." (Brett LoGiurato, "Democrats' Loss In Georgia Should Be A Big Wake-Up Call," Business Insider , 6/20/17)

Barry Burden, Director Of The Elections Research Center At The University Of Wisconsin, Said It Is "Surprising That Democrats Have Not Managed A Single Victory Yet." "It is a bit surprising that Democrats haven't managed a single victory yet, and haven't had more success in turning their anger against the Trump administration into something tangible,' said Barry Burden, the director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 'The party can weather that for a while, but at some point it could become demoralizing.'" (Clare Foran, "Why Do Democrats Keep Losing In 2017," The Atlantic , 6/23/17)

Looking Ahead, 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)


In A Hollow Gesture Of Self-Dealing, The DNC Said It Would Only Give $30,000 Of The $300,000 Harvey Weinstein Has Donated, And The DNC Would Pass The Money On To Three Democratic-Leaning Political Organizations

The DNC Received "About $300,000 From Weinstein Over The Years." "The DNC has received about $300,000 from Weinstein over the years, federal election records show." (Jonathan Easley, "DNC Takes Heat For Giving Weinstein Money To Political Groups," The Hill , 10/6/17)

The DNC Gave $30,000 To Emily's List, Emerge America, And Higher Heights; All Three Of Which Are Political Groups That Seek To Elect Democrats . "The DNC said it will donate the $30,000 it received from him in the last campaign cycle to Emily's List, which supports women candidates that support abortion rights, Emerge America, which recruits and trains Democratic women for office, and Higher Heights, which supports black women running for office. The DNC said it chose the three groups 'because what we need is more women in power, not men like [President] Trump who continue to show us that they lack respect for more than half of America.' But the DNC quickly came under fire for not giving the full amount it had received from Weinstein over the years, and for donating to political groups that seek to elect Democrats." (Jonathan Easley, "DNC Takes Heat For Giving Weinstein Money To Political Groups," The Hill , 10/6/17)

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) Said That The DNC "Ought To Give Him [Weinstein] The Money Back." MSNBC's THOMAS ROBERTS: "What about the money? Are you supportive of the DNC giving back money?" REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): "They should give it back to him. First of all, they may not have known what was going on, but the fact that they now know." ROBERTS: "They know now." REP. WATERS: "They know now, they ought to give him the money back and make sure that the word goes out that the Democratic Party does not welcome that kind of money coming into our campaigns and dealing with you know, our elections. It is not to be accepted by us." (MSNBC's "MSNBC Live" 10/15/17)

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After Winning The DNC Chairmanship, Tom Perez Promised To Unite His Party, But So Far, Has Failed In His Attempts To Do So

On February 25, 2017, After Four Months Of Campaigning And A "Chaotic" Day Of Voting, Tom Perez Was Elected Chairman Of The DNC, Beating His Competitor, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), In The Second Round Of Balloting. "Tom Perez, the former labor secretary for President Barack Obama, was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee on Saturday, replacing interim chair Donna Brazile after a rollicking, four-month race and a chaotic final day of voting. Party members landed on a decision on who should be in charge of Democrats' official party apparatus after two rounds of balloting. With 218 votes necessary to win, the final tally was 235 votes for Perez and 200 votes for Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison." (Gabriel Debendetti, "Perez Elected DNC Chairman," Politico , 2/25/17)

  • After Nobody Won On The First Ballot, Protests "Nearly Drowned Out Interim Chairwoman Donna Brazile When She Announced The Results Of The Election." "The protests that nearly drowned out Interim Chairwoman Donna Brazile when she announced the results of the election made the challenges clear to Perez, who bested Rep. Keith Ellison on the second round of voting after Perez fell a single vote short on the first." (Alex Seitz-Wald, "New DNC Chief Tom Perez Faces Divided Party, And Trump," NBC News , 2/26/17)

Upon His Election As Chairman, Perez Pledged To Unite And Repair The "Fractured [Democratic] Party." "Newly elected Democratic national chairman Tom Perez pledged on Sunday to unite a fractured party, rebuild at all levels from 'school board to the Senate' and reach out to chunks of rural America left feeling forgotten in the 2016 election." (Hope Yen and Bill Barrow, "Democrats' New Chairman Perez Pledges To Repair, Unite The Party," The Associated Press , 2/26/17)

That Same Day, Perez Tweeted That He, DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison, And "Democrats United Across The Country" Will Be Republican's "Worst Nightmare." (Tom Perez, Twitter Feed , 2/25/17)

To Promote Party Unity, DNC Chair Tom Perez And Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Embarked On Unity Tour; However, The Endeavor Seemed To Only Showcase The Division Between The Moderate And Far Left Wings Of The Democratic Party

In April, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) And Newly Elected DNC Chairman Tom Perez Announced They Would Embark On A "Cross-Country Outreach Tour" In A Unified Effort To "Revitalize The Democratic Party." "Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will join Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez in a cross-country outreach tour to states Democrats lost in 2016. The trip will begin in Maine in mid-April and will reach several states, including Kentucky, Florida, Nevada and Arizona, according to The Washington Post. 'This is part of our effort to revitalize the Democratic Party, to turn it into a grassroots party - to tell people that Donald Trump's agenda is not what he promised them,' Sanders told the Post." (Brandon Carter, "Sanders, Perez Plan Cross-Country Tour," The Hill, 4/7/17)

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 For The Tour, 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 Day Two Of The DNC's "Unity Tour," Sanders Reiterated The Fact That He "Does Not Consider Himself A Democrat." "Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said Tuesday night that he still does not consider himself a Democrat despite taking part in a Democratic National Committee (DNC) unity tour with the party's new chairman, Tom Perez. 'No, I'm an Independent,' Sanders said when asked by MSNBC's Chris Hayes whether he now identifies as a Democrat." (Ben Kamisar, "Sanders: I Don't Consider Myself A Democrat," The Hill , 4/18/17)

The Director Of Senator Sanders' Outside Political Group, Our Revolution, Has Openly Attacked The DNC-Tearing Open 2016 Battle Scars That Continue To Divide Democrats

Nina Turner, Director Of Senator Sanders Group Our Revolution, Has 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, 8/9/17)

Turner, A Member Of The Sanders Campaign, Said After Sanders' 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 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)


Perez Promised To Be Committed To The Job If Elected DNC Chair, Yet In September, He Accepted A Side Job Teaching At Brown University

In December 2016, While Campaigning To Be DNC Chair, Perez Emphasized The Need To "Have Someone Committed Here For The Long Haul," And Said He Was "Absolutely Committed To That." "'This is a fulltime job Nick. When I chatted with Bruce Poole and told him I decided to put my hat in the ring for this we had that conversation,' Perez said. 'You've got to have someone committed here for the long haul and I'm absolutely committed to that.'" (Daniel Strauss, "Tom Perez Formally Jumps Into DNC Race," Politico , 12/15/16)

In September, Brown University Announced That DNC Chairman Tom Perez Would Be Returning To His Alma Mater To "Teach As A Senior Fellow" This Fall. "Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez is returning to Brown University, his alma mater, to teach as a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for Public Affairs, the university announced Thursday. 'It's a great honor to welcome Brown graduate Tom Perez to Watson this fall,' the institute's director, Edward Steinfeld, said in a statement." (Oliva Beavers, "DNC Chairman To Teach At Brown University," The Hill , 9/7/17)


Party Leaders Cannot Agree On What The Democratic Party's Message To Voters Is

In July 2017, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY) Was Unable To Explain His Parties' Core Message To Voters Saying, "That Message Is Being Worked On ." "House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley hesitated when asked about his party's core message to voters. 'That message is being worked on,' the New York congressman said in an interview this past week. 'We're doing everything we can to simplify it, but at the same time provide the meat behind it as well. So that's coming together now.'" (Steve Peoples and Bill Barrow, "With 2018 Looming, Democrats Divided On Their Core Message," The Associated Press , 7/17/17)

  • This Admission Comes Eight Months After Democrats Suffered A Crushing Defeat At The Hands Of The Republican Party "In Part" Because They Lacked A Consistent Message. "The admission from the No. 4 House Democrat - that his party lacks a clear, core message even amid Republican disarray - highlights the Democrats' dilemma eight months after President Donald Trump and the GOP dominated last fall's elections, in part, because Democrats lacked a consistent message." (Steve Peoples and Bill Barrow, "With 2018 Looming, Democrats Divided On Their Core Message," The Associated Press , 7/17/17)

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) Said Democrats Have Had Trouble Persuading Voters That They Understand The "Financial Hardship" Many Americans Face And It Is A "Real Problem For Us That We [Democrats] Are Perceived As Limousine, Latte-Drinking Liberals." "Representative Ryan thinks the party understands the financial hardship that many Americans face, and has better policy prescriptions to help them than the GOP. But he's not convinced the party has persuaded voters of that: 'It's a real problem for us that we are perceived as limousine, latte-drinking liberals,' Ryan said. 'Democrats can't just message our way out of this. We need to put out bold and aspirational initiatives that will excite voters to the point they want to associate themselves with, and work for, the Democratic Party.'" (Clare Foran, "Why Do So Many Americans Think Democrats Are Out Of Touch," The Atlantic, 4/29/17)

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) Said That The Special Election Losses Earlier This Year Should Be A "Wake Up Call," And It Is Time Democrats "Stop Rehashing 2016 And Talk About The Future." "One prominent Democrat who did not adhere to that message was Rep. Seth Moulton, of Massachusetts, who said Ossoff's loss should be a 'wake up' call for Democrats. 'Time to stop rehashing 2016 and talk about the future,' he tweeted. 'We need a genuinely new message, a serious jobs plan that reaches all Americans, and a bigger tent not a smaller one. Focus on the future.'" (Brett LoGiurato, "Democrats' Loss In Georgia Should Be A Big Wake-Up Call," Business Insider , 6/20/17)

Voters Think The Democratic Party Is Out Of Touch With The Average Person

Sixty-Seven Percent Of Voters Think Democrats Are "Out Of Touch" With The Concerns Of The Average Person. "One number in the Post-ABC poll really stood out to me as something that should worry Democrats pondering the party's future: Asked whether the Democratic Party is in touch with the concerns of the average person, just 28% of respondents said it is -- as opposed to 67% who said Democrats are out of touch. Those numbers are worse than the 'in touch/out of touch' numbers for either the Republican Party or Trump in that same poll." (Chris Cillizza, "This Poll Number Should Scare Democrats," CNN , 5/24/17)

  • Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) Stated That When Two-Thirds Of The Country "Thinks That Your Party Is In La-La-Land," That Should Be A Wake-Up Call That The Democratic Party Needs To "Improve Its Brand." "'This should be a huge wake-up call,; said Tim Ryan, the Ohio congressman who made an unsuccessful bid post-election for House minority leader. 'Having two-thirds of the country think that your party is in la-la-land, that's a bombshell. That should wake everybody up,' the Rust Belt Democrat who represents a state that Trump won and has argued the Democratic Party needs to improve its brand said, 'and we should, as a party, be woken up already by the fact that people took a chance on Donald Trump.'" (Clare Foran, "Why Do So Many Americans Think Democrats Are Out Of Touch," The Atlantic, 4/29/17)

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