NBC News reported on March 28 that new DNC Chair Tom Perez has asked all DNC staffers to submit their letters of resignation by April 15. Though turnover is routine given a new boss, “the mass resignation letters will give Perez a chance to completely remake the DNC’s headquarters from scratch.”
Perez is depending on a transition advisory committee to lead interviews for new DNC staffers—but that committee consists of more of the same establishment status quo figures who ran the DNC into the ground and tipped the scales for Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries.
The committee—co-chaired by Leah Daughtry, who was hired by Clinton to vet and select her White House staff—was filled with Clinton partisans before Perez responded to criticisms from progressives by adding a couple Bernie Sanders supporters. The Democratic establishment hand-picked Perez, whipped votes in his favor, and propagated Islamophobic smears to ensure Ellison didn’t win the DNC Chair race.
Ellison, who was given a symbolic position as deputy chair, recently responded to criticisms of the race being rigged by scolding progressives. Conflating their discontent with apathy, he told a reporter with the Young Turks that people need to “buck up.”
The resentment many progressives still have toward the Democratic Party stems not just from bitterness that the DNC and Democratic establishment favored Clinton in the primaries—and has done the same in other races—but that their criticisms are still brushed off by party leaders as debatable.
The Democratic Party suppressed and criticized progressives throughout the primaries, and this was evident even without the leaked emails from the DNC and Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta. Barack Obama and the Democratic establishment selected Clinton as his successor; Obama’s former Counselor John Podesta served as Clinton’s Campaign Chair, Obama’s Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri resigned to work for Clinton’s Campaign, and Obama’s Department of Justice Press Secretary Brian Fallon did the exact same thing, signaling the Democratic Party’s transition was already expected to go from Obama to Clinton.
Super delegates were polled and whipped into supporting Clinton before she announced her campaign. Former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, after suggesting in an April 2015 interview that there might not even be a primary race for Clinton to have to compete in, lifted a ban on donations from corporate lobbyists and PACs to help Clinton keep up in fundraising against Bernie Sanders’ grassroots-fueled movement. The infrastructure of the Democratic Primaries was built for and by Clinton.
Democrats insist the party is united, but DNC has created a Unity Commission, consisting of Clinton and Sanders representatives. The Hill reported on March 17 that many Democrats cited that the DNC can’t enact reforms, because the primary rules are largely in the hands of state parties—but this is a deflective argument with the goal of quashing any push or demand for reforms.
The DNC should be honest with its support base and voters, enacting rules that ensure the DNC remains fair and balanced, put control back in the hands of the people and not wealthy donors, and work with state parties to create a more democratic primary process, rather than bully and manipulate progressives and voters into supporting the party again.