The Democrats have ruined everything!

Or not.

Unlike some people I know (who, just maybe are reading this), I did not follow the DNC Chair election all that closely.  Mostly, because I don’t think who the person ultimately is matters all that much.  Not many people attributing Trump’s win to former RNC Chair Reince Priebus.  That said, I followed closely enough to find the reaction of the far-left Bernie lovers (mind you, not suggesting that all Bernie lovers are far-left) seriously annoying and off-putting.  Not surprisingly, I’m not alone in this as fellow pragmatic liberals Drum and Waldman have good takes on this.  Drum:

The election for DNC chair is over, and Tom Perez won:

What do you call it when you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results? Oh yeah: the Democratic Party.

Sigh. This is so ridiculous. I know that Keith Ellison was the “Bernie guy” and Perez was the “Obama/Hillary guy,” but it’s nuts that this got turned into some kind of ideological showdown. Not only are Ellison and Perez about equally progressive, but DNC chair isn’t a policy position anyway. It’s a fundraising and managerial position. I didn’t really care one way or the other between the two because I have no idea which of them is a better manager and fundraiser…

Besides, national-level purity contests are stupid. Democrats are fine at the national level. It’s every other level that they suck at. Anybody who spends any time or energy continuing to fight over some national standard of progressiveness at the DNC is just wasting everyone’s time. From a party standpoint, state and local races are all that matter for the next couple of years.

And Waldman really lets loose:

As soon as Tom Perez beat out Keith Ellison to become the next chair of the Democratic Party, the grumbling began, in press releases and Facebook posts and tweets. Instead of a real progressive whose heart beats to the thumping rhythm of grassroots organizers marching purposefully down the street to win over their fellow citizens, Democrats chose another establishment stooge, just showing how out of touch these captives of big business are! This party doesn’t deserve the support of true progressives!

Give me a break.

That the race between Perez and Ellison turned in some quarters into a depressing rerun of the 2016 primary campaign was perhaps inevitable, even if neither Perez nor Ellison saw it that way. But there are some people for whom taking affront is their preferred mode of political engagement, who wouldn’t know who they were if they weren’t shaking their fists at a corrupt establishment. To those people, I say: You might want to do some thinking about what the Democratic Party is, and isn’t.

But the idea that Tom Perez is an establishment stooge is laughable. He rebuilt the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division after the horror of the Bush years, turning it into an aggressive advocate for the rights of all Americans. He was one of the most pro-worker labor secretaries we’ve ever had. And people who have worked with him positively gush over his skills as a manager and leader.

Not only that, Perez, Ellison, and pretty much everyone else agree on what Democrats need to do right now. They need to rebuild the party at the state and local level, spreading their message everywhere and becoming competitive in districts they’ve been ignoring. They need to be unbending in their opposition to what Donald Trump and the Republican Congress are trying to do. They need to focus on registering voters and fighting voter suppression efforts. In short, they need to construct the foundation on which future electoral victories will be built.

Nevertheless, there are some people who appear angry that the Democratic Party is not the ferry boat that will carry us across the poisonous River of Accommodation to the socialist utopia that awaits on the other side. Which is true. It’s a liberal party, not a radical leftist one. But it has also moved significantly to the left in the last few years, on a whole range of issues.

Then again, maybe I’m just an establishment stooge.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

2 Responses to The Democrats have ruined everything!

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    Sometimes I think the Bernie people are like the Trump people in that they have and nurture their grievances.
    I actually watched the two hour debate and felt a surge of hope. The candidates for DNC Chair all were younger than most of our elected officials and they were energetic. Of the eight in the debate, I thought six were dynamic. They did agree on a 50 state effort, candidates for every elective job. The two state Democratic chair showed leadership, especially in outreach to younger, not so engaged potential voters. I would have been happy with any of those six. The other two didn’t have the level of leadership savvy, I thought.
    Perez lost no time in naming Ellison as his deputy and I have no doubt Ellison would have named Perez the same. After all, they had had dinner together the night before….not a secret. Leave the whining to Trump.

  2. rgbact says:

    Party leaders get lots of media time, so I wouldn’t call them irrelevant. . The DNC has ensured that party stalwarts don’t have to deal with the heated primaries that many Republicans have had to deal with. Some voters might see that as a flaw……especially given how badly they did in 2016.

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