While it wasn’t exactly a clash of titans, it was a clash of ideologies. Tom Perez, who was largely backed by the political establishment including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and Keith Ellison (the first Muslim member of Congress) who was backed by Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer and the liberal arm of the Democratic Party, squared off in a battle for chairmanship of the Democratic Party on Saturday. They were joined by 5 other contenders, the top 2 of whom withdrew before the first vote. At the end of the day, Mr. Perez, the establishment favorite, emerged victorious and immediately thereafter asked the assemblage to accept Mr. Ellison as his deputy chair. That motion was passed unanimously.
What this means for the Democratic Party is largely left to speculation Mr. Perez has little or no experience in elective politics. While some contenders in the fray have expressed a desire to return to Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy, which he now expresses as a 50 year strategy, Mr. Perez has expressed desired to expand to an all ZIP Code strategy.
Hopefully with both Perez and Ellison at home there will be a balanced outreach to both the liberal and establishment wings of the party. Will they choose to battle the Tangerine Tyrant at every turn or will they leave that job to Congress? Or will they use the abhorrent policies of the current administration to rally the support among the base and middle America to seek a return of Democrats to seats of power in state legislatures, governors houses and Congress in 2017 and 2018? That, to me, is the greater question. The former should be left Congress and the latter should be left to the grassroots movement which has sprung up since the Tangerine Tyrant was sworn into office.
While I am somewhat disheartened by the elevation of Tom Perez to the chairmanship of the Democratic national committee, I am heartened by the addition of Keith Ellison as the deputy chair. Only time will tell. Stay tuned.