Democrats Still Struggling To Achieve Any Kind Of Party Unity
Tom Perez’s swear words aren’t working.
The new chair of the Democratic National Committee recently began cursing — “Republicans don’t give a shit about people” — as a way to fire up the base in his attempt to unify the party against President Trump. But in the three months since the Democratic party elected Perez as DNC chair over Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, Perez has struggled to bridge the gap between the establishment and progressive wings of the party.
Perez and the DNC have been especially unsuccessful in convincing their supporters to give the kind of money the RNC has brought in every month. The DNC brought in just $4.7 million in April — less than half of the RNC’s $9.6 million haul over that same time, according to FEC filings submitted by the parties this week. The RNC finished the month with $41.4 million cash on hand, dwarfing the DNC’s $8.8 million in cash on hand.
RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel took a victory lap after the numbers showed the RNC again dominating the DNC in the fundraising game. “These numbers are evidence of the overwhelming enthusiasm for President Trump and the tireless work by Republicans everywhere to ensure we work together to build on our majorities and elect Republicans up and down the ballot headed into 2017, 2018, and beyond,” McDaniel said.
Perez, an establishment figure on the left, has been unsuccessful in winning over the party’s left-wing, where many leaders believe the party has drifted too far right.
Throughout his speech at a Democratic convention in California over the weekend, Perez was heckled and interrupted by supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
One of the groups leading the resistance to Perez was the California Nurses Association, which packed the convention hall decked out in red clothing. The group’s leader, RoseAnn DeMoro criticized the Democratic party for being out of touch with its base.
“They are a party in absolute crisis and denial,” DeMoro told the Sacramento Bee. “They are too comfortable.”
“We are booing because we feel Perez is part of the establishment that keeps co-opting the progressive movement,” protester Gilbert Feliciano told the San Diego Tribune. “The corporatists have an ally with Tom Perez. We felt like it was important to come and voice our discontent.”
The heckling got so bad during Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s attempt to speak that the head of the California Democratic Party seized the microphone and told protesters to “shut the fuck up or go outside.”
Single-payer advocates interrupt @Mayor_Steinberg speech at @CA_Dem convention and John Burton steps in pic.twitter.com/mhcHDAdzcQ
— Christopher Cadelago (@ccadelago) May 20, 2017
The struggle for Perez isn’t new. The former labor secretary under President Obama faced stiff opposition from the Democratic base while running for DNC chair against Ellison, who was a favorite among many Bernie Sanders supporters. (RELATED: DNC Chair Tom Perez Booed At Reboot Tour)
That struggle continued last month when Perez was repeatedly booed during what was meant to be a national unity tour for the party.
Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson