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03 March, 2017

Election of Tom Perez to DNC chair shows the DNC establishment has learned nothing

Failing to learn from the humiliating losses of the last election, establishment Democrats continue to cater to their oligarchical donors while rejecting the party’s progressive base and its future.

By Whitney Webb

Part 2 - A Washington insider disguised as a ‘progressive’

Despite presenting himself as a champion of “progressive” ideals, Perez is as establishment as they come. A controversial member of the Obama administration, Perez has been flagged for a number of top positions by Democrats in recent years. When Eric Holder resigned from his position as attorney general, Perez was named as a possible replacement. Following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Perez was rumored to be a choice to fill the vacant seat on the court. He was even ranked as the 3rd most likely candidate for Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 election.

Though Perez was edged out as Clinton’s vice presidential pick by Tim Kaine, he made his commitment to Clinton no secret during the election. It should come as little surprise, then, that Perez’s personal email address appears in a number of the now-infamous Podesta Emails, 20,000 pages of emails published by WikiLeaks in October and November from the personal Gmail account of Clinton campaign chair and D.C. insider John Podesta.

Perez’s email correspondence with Podesta clearly shows that Perez was intimately involved with Democratic Party establishment figures in actively working to thwart Sanders’ primary campaign, particularly in Nevada. In a lengthy email sent to Podesta and Maya Harris, a senior advisor to Clinton, Perez lays out strategies to help Clinton secure a win at the state’s caucus. In the email, dated Feb. 2, 2016, he asserts that if Clinton could do well in the Nevada caucus, “then the narrative changes from Bernie kicks ass among young voters to Bernie does well only among young white liberals.” This narrative of Sanders supporters being predominantly white was widely recognized as a smear tactic on the part of Clinton supporters, one which Salon described as “a dirty, dangerous game.

Other emails show Perez working to discredit Sanders by other means. In an email to Podesta dated March 2, 2016, Perez expressed his excitement at his upcoming appearance on the Telemundo network, where he hoped to “trumpet [Clinton’s] strong support among Latinos and put a fork once and for all in the false narrative about Bernie and Latinos.” Yet, Latino support for Sanders was anything but a false narrative, particularly at the time Perez made this claim.

Perez also openly admitted earlier this month that the primary had been “rigged” against Sanders. However, before the end of the day, he had retracted the comment, tweeting: “I have been asked by friends about a quote and want to be clear about what I said and that I misspoke.” He also made sure to add that Clinton had won the primary “fair and square.

It is worth noting that Perez, in his correspondence with Podesta, used a personal email account. Perez, like Clinton, has come under fire in the past for allegedly using his personal email account in order to avoid being accountable to Freedom of Information Act requests.

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