During the campaign for DNC chair, Tom Perez’s supporters pushed against Congressman Keith Ellison’s candidacy by claiming that the DNC chair needs to commit to the position as a full-time job. In response, Ellison promised to resign from Congress if he was elected DNC chair. Perez ultimately won the election, but so far his tenure has been far from stellar: The DNC has posted abnormally low fundraising numbers nearly every month since he took office.
On September 6, Perez accepted a teaching position at his alma mater, Brown University. The Providence Journal reported, “Perez will lead a study group called ‘Governance and Leadership in Challenging Times,’ and it will feature speakers including Denis McDonough, Obama’s former chief of staff; Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo; Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, and others.” Accepting a teaching gig in a separate state isn’t going to improve the DNC’s stature with voters or help it recoup its losses across the country. To make matters worse, Perez further alienates Native Americans by accepting the gig at Brown University while the Pokanoket Tribe has been protesting and marching over a land dispute with the school since last month.
While he manages a party in disarray, Perez is taking a position usually reserved for retired elected officials. True to the course’s name, this is a challenging time for the Democratic Party. Republicans hold majorities in both houses of Congress, and Democrats have lost over 1,000 seats in state legislatures across the country in the last decade. In 26 states, Republicans hold the governorship in addition to majorities in the state house and senate.
The DNC has done little to revamp its reputation, which was tarnished in the 2016 election after former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned due to favoring Hillary Clinton. Perez has ignored his promise to campaign in all 50 states. Instead of bothering to compete, he has conceded races in traditionally Republican strongholds. Additionally, after his Unity Tour with Bernie Sanders ended in embarrassment, he gave up on trying to unite the party’s establishment with progressives. Democrats face a steep battle to recover their losses in 2018, but Tom Perez is dedicating his time elsewhere.