The treachery of Tom Perez
It takes a special kind of incompetence to sell out the Democratic Party's activist base and not even raise good money off it
Tom Perez is chair of the Democratic National Committee because wealthy centrist liberals — above all then-President Barack Obama — needed a convenient stooge to keep the party machinery out of the left's hands.
He's serving his big donor masters loyally, and in the process failing his party, the United States of America, and humanity as a whole. Most egregiously, he recently reversed a ban on the party accepting donations from fossil fuel corporations, with the limp excuse that "[w]e're not a party that punishes workers simply based on how they make ends meet." The man is an obstacle to human flourishing.
Let's take a brief tour of Perez's ignominious DNC career. After swearing up and down to treat the leftist Democratic caucus fairly, and thus convincing Keith Ellison to serve as his deputy, Perez executed a quick double-cross. He had insisted while running for DNC chair that it needed to be a full-time gig, but in September 2017 he took a high-paying teaching position at Brown. He then purged supporters of Bernie Sanders and Ellison from the top party ranks (most of them women and people of color, by the way), and substituted them with centrist Clinton loyalists.
Then in April this year, it was discovered that the DNC was paying Hillary Clinton's post-campaign group Onward Together over $2 million to rent her email list and data tools — incidentally unlike Obama, who simply gave his email list to the committee in 2012. In May, after having promised that the committee should be neutral in primary elections, Perez personally endorsed the incompetent, corrupt Republican-enabler Andrew Cuomo in the New York governor's race.
Almost certainly because all this cynical double-dealing alienated the party's base of enthusiastic small-dollar donors, Perez's DNC has been consistently obliterated by the Republican National Committee at fundraising. The RNC raised more than twice what the DNC did in 2017, a trend that has continued throughout this year. What's more, much of those RNC donations are coming from under-$200 donors, not from the natural Republican constituency of sociopathic plutocrats. (Logically enough, leftists are sending their donations to individual campaigns instead.)
In other words, Tom Perez is being soundly whipped at grassroots fundraising by Ronna Romney McDaniel.
So Perez has turned to the few big-money donors who aren't on board with Trump, especially Mike Bloomberg — who has openly promised he will not support Sanders Democrats. Money woes probably also help explain the fossil fuel corporate PAC about-face. Despite the excuse of listening to workers, Perez and the committee refused an amendment that would bar corporate donations while allowing those of fossil fuel workers and unions.
That brings me to climate change. To repeat, this is by far the biggest problem facing the United States and human civilization writ large. The first order of business for climate policy is a gigantic green investment package, but the second is eradicating the fossil fuel industry. The coal, oil, and natural gas industries must disappear in short order, and their property in the form of extraction rights to buried carbon reserves must be deleted forever. The vast majority of that stuff must stay in the ground if catastrophic climate change is to be avoided.
Huge problems call for aggressive solutions. Does it sound like Perez and his cronies are willing to mount a savage trench war against one of the world's most profitable industries in order to save America and humanity? Of course they aren't. Like their mewling, hapless Democratic forebears in 2009-10, they might halfheartedly push some ultra-complicated market-based emissions control scheme with one hand while taking Big Oil PAC donations with the other, and then give up after about five minutes.
It all goes to show how useless political "centrism" tends to be for dealing with really severe problems. Quite often the middle of the political spectrum is not the place to find sensible, realistic solutions.
It seems pretty likely that Democrats will win a big victory in the upcoming midterms. But this will be in spite of Perez's wretched, corrupt leadership, not because of it. Indeed because the DNC is so broke, a great deal of campaign activity is happening outside the formal party altogether.
It takes a special kind of incompetence to sell out the party's activist base and not even be able to raise good money off it.