WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tom Perez, former Barack Obama labor secretary and establishment Democrat, was elected as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in Atlanta on Saturday as the party slid into chaos over the course of nearly six hours.
While Perez made history Saturday becoming the first Latino leader of the Democratic Party, those present experienced, first-hand, the deepening of divisions that have mired their party since Election Day.
Perez’s win was indicative of the Democratic Party’s refusal to heed the voices of its constituents’ calls for change. “It’s going to be a major problem” if Perez wins, Jane Flemming Keeb, chair of the Nebraska Democrats, said in an interview with The Young Turks.
Former Bernie Sanders for President campaign manager called Perez a “candidate of the insider”:
Jeff Weaver says if @TomPerez (“candidate of the insider”) wins DNC race, it’ll “send a horrible message to millions & millions of people.”
— Ruby Cramer (@rubycramer) February 24, 2017
Perez called for a motion to suspend the DNC rules as he called to appoint Keith Ellison deputy chair of the DNC. The motion, met with overwhelming approval, was granted.
“The silence is deafening. The motion passes,” Perez said in the absence of any “nay” votes after those assembled voiced their “ayes.”
Perez received 235 votes, while Ellison received 200.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who endorsed Ellison, congratulated Perez on his victory but implored him to steer away from his establishment roots:
At a time when Republicans control the White House, the U.S. House, U.S. Senate and two-thirds of all statehouses, it is imperative that Tom understands that the same-old, same-old is not working and that we must open the doors of the party to working people and young people in a way that has never been done before. Now, more than ever, the Democratic Party must make it clear that it is prepared to stand up to the 1 percent and lead this country forward in the fight for social, racial, economic and environmental justice.
However, one of the key issues on Sanders’ platform, removing the use of lobbyist funds and its influence in politics, fell on deaf ears. A measure that would have reinstituted a ban on corporate lobbyists lining the pockets of the DNC to buy influence, was voted down. The measure was initially put in place by former President Barack Obama:
Dems punt on reinstituting corporate lobbyist donations
— Jonathan Easley (@JonEasley) February 25, 2017
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