As one wit so trenchantly noted, “The progressives needed to receive some kind of gesture. And they have received one: an enormous middle finger.”
Another poerson called this, “a suicide note,” for the party.
Keith Ellison lost the race for head of the DNC to Tom Perez:
The Democratic National Committee was bracing for a backlash if Thomas Perez won its chairmanship, and it got one. In the AmericasMart meeting room where Perez defeated Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), nine protesters from Democracy Rising carried out the protest — chants of “party of the people, not big money” as Perez and outgoing interim DNC chair Donna Brazile gritted their teeth. Writers on the left, including Nathan J. Robinson, Matt Bruenig and Corey Robin, were quick to ask whether the Democratic establishment had a death wish.
The answer is not that the Democratic Party Establishment has a death wish, but rather that they were following the Iron Law of
Organizations Institutions, which states that power WITHIN an organization will be pursued at the even at the expense of the power OF that organization.
In another calculated f%$# you directed at the Democratic wing of the Democratic party, the DNC also voted down a ban on corporate and lobbyist donations, becase they just had to twist the f%$#ing knife.
The best summary of what happened is this:
Before this gets turned into another thing where the establishment Democrats posture as the reasonable adults victimized by the assaults of those left-wing baddies, let’s just be very clear about what happened here. It was the establishment wing that decided to recruit and then stand up a candidate in order to fight an internal battle against the left faction of the party. It was the establishment wing that then dumped massive piles of opposition research on one of their own party members. And it was the establishment wing that did all of this in the shadow of Trump, sowing disunity in order to contest a position whose leadership they insist does not really matter.
It should be noted that in terms of publicly stated positions, there was not a whole lot of difference between Perez and Ellison, but there is one that was VERY important, though it is sort of inside baseball.
Specifically, Perez expressly eschewed putting some distance between the DNC and the multi-million dollar consultants strip mining the party:
The DNC is going through an existential crisis, being at its weakest state since 1920. This is not the Democrats’ first existential crisis, though. In 2005 the DNC members were at war with national consultants who they claimed were sucking up the resources of the party. It was that year when Vermont Governor Howard Dean won and enacted his 50 state strategy. But it came with a fight over resources, contracts and state funding. And while the 2017 DNC elections have been billed as the Bernie vs. Hillary or the progressives vs. establishment fight, it is actually the 2005 fight over funding, on steroids.
It’s become a common statement over the past few months: The Democrats have raised more money than ever and lost more seats than ever (1,000+ seats nationwide since 2009). They had an elaborate convention, beautifully crafted marketing, what was praised as the most sophisticated data operation to date and teams of veteran campaign strategists working in what was supposed to be the easiest Presidential race in recent history. But around 9:45pm ET on Nov 8, it was clear that the house of cards was on the verge of collapse. And that by the next day, the DNC would have to not just answer how they lost the Presidency and so many other races, but: Where did all that money go?
Former Chair Candidate, NH State Chairman Ray Buckley broke the news during the Phoenix DNC forum that as an executive member he had never seen the budget — and that most leaders at the DNC, as well as all of the members, had no idea where the record amount of money raised was being spent. When the DNC Chair candidates debated over whether the party should accept lobbyist money (which was banned under Obama’s administration), Buckley stated “the question should not be about whether we need the lobbyist money, but rather where we’ve spent all this money we’ve raised.”
Several DNC members have privately disclosed that they received calls on behalf of Tom Perez from Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, a partner of Precision Strategies and former Executive Director of the DNC when the OFA was housed within it. Dillon is also a Co-Chair of the upcoming Unity Commission, forged out of the 2016 rules committee. The goal of the Unity commission is to set the DNC’s new rules.
Members have repeatedly discussed the frustration with the conflicts of interests within the Democratic party. For Dillon — whose firm received $571,573 from HFA and $593,397 from the DNC, totaling almost $1.2 million — having a seat as a co-chair of the DNC’s rules committee, raises red flags.
One DNC member voting for Mayor Pete Buttigieg stated, “When a firm with a large contract with the DNC co-chairs the new rules committee and makes calls on behalf of a DNC candidate, you can’t help but wonder whether Perez’s interests lie with the DNC members or if he’s cut a deal to keep the contract with Precision.”
Today, it is openly acknowledged by many members that the DNC and the Clinton campaign were running an operation together. In fact, it doesn’t take much research beyond FEC filings to see that six of the top major consulting firms had simultaneous contracts with the DNC and HRC — collectively earning over $335 million since 2015. (This does not include SuperPACs.)
One firm, GMMB earned $236.3 million from HFA and $5.3 from the DNC in 2016. Joel Benenson, a pollster and strategist who frequents cable news, collected $4.1m from HFA while simultaneously earning $3.3 million from the DNC. Perkins Coie law firm collected $3.8 million from the DNC, $481,979 from the Convention fund and $1.8 million from HFA in 2016.
And, it would be irresponsible of me to not note that by a simple glimpse of FEC filings, former Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and some of her senior staffers remained on payroll with the DNC until December, well past she resigned on July 25, 2016.
What does this all mean? The DNC, which lacks an open budget, has been allocating dozens multi-million dollar contracts without accountability from its members and leadership. The money, of course, did not go into state parties and organizing, and the majority of members I’ve interviewed expresses resentment and frustration.
But as we approach the DNC vote on Saturday, the question over conflicts of interests remaining in the party, is a priority. When I asked Sec. Tom Perez during an interview whether he’d ban conflicts of interests, he answered “The people I talk to want to build a Democratic party that works for everyone…. We have a big tent in the Democratic party.” Secretary Perez, a civil rights attorney surely knows that conflicts of interests would be alarming when presented in a court room. How can a party that condemns Trump’s vast conflicts continue to allow those with millions of dollars in consulting contracts with the national party be in leadership positions at the DNC and/or be voting members. Who controls whom?
At a time when the Democratic party is hemorrhaging members nationally and experienced eight years of crushing losses, many are questioning how a few consulting firms could continue their lobbying for national contracts. Some answer: just raise more money to send to the states. But it’s not just that these national contracts are expensive, it’s that the consultants’ track records are horrifying.
Corrupt AND incompetent is a toxic brew, and I’m depressed enough to consider going to a Democratic Socialists of America meeting.