Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) may be headlining the so-called Democratic Unity tour, which kicked off last week, but the DNC chair has found some rather cold receptions in Maine, Florida, and Utah.
He was booed in Maine:
Booed in Florida:
And Booed and heckled in Utah:
It highlights the base’s desire to move more leftward. It also shows that the pro-Sanders wing of the party is still infuriated over the damning emails from the DNC on the eve of the 2016 Democratic Convention, which showed senior staffers discussing ways to undermine the self-described democratic socialist. Sanders had mounted an insurgency campaign during the Democratic primaries that was more successful than anyone really projected. Young people, who were a core constituency of the Obama coalition, flocked to Sanders during the primaries. Moreover, the Sanders wing of the party also deeply distrusted Hillary Clinton. Many have noted that if Sanders had won the nomination, he would be president.
Still, that did not happen—and Clinton did handily beat Sanders in the primaries thanks to scores of Black Democrats voting for her below the Mason-Dixon line, with the deathblow delivered during the I-95 corridor primaries, which also all but sealed the GOP nomination for Donald Trump.
As Democrats try to regroup, it seems the scars from the 2016 campaign are still fresh in the minds of those progressives who feel that the Democratic Party, and Perez, are not far left enough. And believe me, Mr. Perez is pretty left wing.
Concerning his communications skills, Perez has come under criticism by the news media for his coarse language. During CBS’s Face The Nation, host John Dickerson took the DNC chair to task for his language on the rally circuit, noting that it’s coming off as calculated and devoid of substance at a time when the Democratic Party desperately needs a message. Dickerson noted how The Washington Post asked Perez about his use of language, where he responded by saying that Trump said much worse and he won the presidency. Dickerson asked if this was good politics. Trump’s GOP opponents went into the gutter with him and failed to defeat him.
“If you oppose a president for his coarseness, why would you imitate it?” he asked. Dickerson’s commentary seems to point that the de facto leader of the Democratic Party feels that shock value yields more dividends than a robust argument. Some will jump on this and say that this was a hallmark characteristic of Donald Trump, but Trump had a message. Cutting through the hyperbole, Trump detailed the collapse of America’s working and middle classes (i.e. empty factories) to bad trade deals, Washington red tape (and inaction), and the elites rigging the system. It worked. You don’t get that winning moment when Perez says that the GOP budget is ‘sh***y,” or that “Republicans don’t give a s**t about people.” That just sounds like a raving lefty lunatic from UC Berkeley. There will definitely be a time when the Left gets their act together and finds ways to oppose Trump. Right now, that seems to be taking a back seat to frothing at the mouth and whining. Yet, Sanders seems to be the one for the Left and Democrats to build something around message-wise. The problem is that he's not a Democrat, something that NBC's Meet The Press noted in their discussion about this unity tour.