By Rohin G. February 26, 2017
Former Labor Secretary and new DNC chair, Tom Perez
Photo Credits-Wikimedia Commons
On Saturday, February 25, former labor secretary Tom Perez narrowly beat progressive congressman, Keith Ellison for the post of chair in the Democratic National Committee. Many staunch progressives, including myself, who had supported Congressman Ellison for DNC chair were disappointed by the results of the day’s vote. Not only had our favored candidate lost the race to become chair of the DNC, the delegates present also voted down a resolution which would ban corporate lobbyist donations to the party. Tom Perez was the Secretary of Labor during President Obama’s second term and led the civil rights division of Justice Department during Obama’s first term. Although Perez is considered by many to have been one of the most progressive members of the Obama administration, many also consider him to be a member of the Democratic Party’s establishment wing.
Although the results of the DNC elections are disappointing to many progressive activists, there has been significant progress in the DNC. Although the delegates voted not to ban lobbyist donations to the party, new chair, Tom Perez has expressed concern over the “corrosive influence of money in politics”. Perez has also praised the small dollar fundraising practices used by Senator Bernie Sanders’ primary campaign, stating in an interview with the Huffington Post, that he wanted to look into implementing fundraising practices that draw upon small donations instead of donations by large corporations and super-PACs. Chairman Perez has also been an advocate for empowering activists and protesters against President Trump’s agenda. Perez has supported a strategy by the DNC that involves working in all states and not just during election years. This strategy based on local parties will help reduce that harmful effects of President Trump’s policies and help the Democratic party stay relevant with voters across the country.
Probably the Best thing for progressive activists that the new chair, Tom Perez has done so far, is naming Congressman Keith Ellison as deputy chair. Now, a staunch progressive is at the table to make decisions at the DNC. This morning, Perez and deputy chair, Ellison held a joint press conference. In showing a sign of party unity, they wore each other’s campaign pins. In addition to this, Tom Perez stated that he supports healthy primary contests for incumbent democratic candidates, opening the door to more progressive candidates. It is quite clear that chair Tom Perez is ready to work with progressive members of the Democratic Party. Although progressive activists’ top candidate lost the race for DNC chair, this DNC is one of the most progressive we have seen. So, fellow progressives, stay strong and keep fighting for a better America.