Establishment Democrats are trying to talk the narrative of “party unity” now that Tom Perez is Chair of the DNC. Their victory lap comes with talking points of uniting against Donald Trump, and that we must stop attacking Democrats with shaky records. Criticizing or holding a primary against any Democrat (especially centrist establishment ones) is being framed as hurting “unity.” Party unity, however, means something quite different to progressives.
Tom Perez winning the DNC race was not a total surprise. Establishment Democrats seem to have learned nothing from their defeat in 2016. There were warning signs, but many progressives within the party were angered by the DNC vote. Even as DNC representatives were blasted with phone calls and emails to vote in favor of Keith Ellison, they still voted against the will of these constituents.
Now that Perez has won, his advocates are blasting social media and the airwaves to shame progressives who refuse to support the DNC choice. Party unity is the focus point, and that this unity is more important than policy squabbles or genuine ideological differences. Apparently, ignoring the will of their constituents is also not a serious sticking point either. Unity is paramount. Progressives have made their case clear, however. We will not unite around the establishment.
Establishment proponents of Tom Perez seem genuinely shocked that progressives don’t like him. Some pundits have espoused the idea that he and his primary opponent, Keith Ellison, share pretty much the same views. This point, however, is not entirely truthful. There were key differences between Perez and Ellison. These differences, once again, centered around the issues the establishment ignores so often; economics of the working man.
Tom Perez is in favor of TPP. He also does not believe that the Democratic Primary in 2016 was rigged against Bernie Sanders. As Labor Secretary under Obama, Perez didn’t lift a finger to fight against actions by corporations and Wall Street that harmed American workers. Perez is not vocal about opposing corporate financing of our elections. To the establishment and centrists, these are insignificant areas of disagreement. Progressives could not disagree more.
The ending of corporate financing of the Democratic Party is of utmost importance to progressives. Removing money from politics altogether is as well. Progressives will never compromise on this, it is a core value. As much as the centrists and establishment apologists want progressives to bow and unite around them, it’s not going to happen. The establishment certainly is trying hard to sway us, though.
Identity politics seems to be playing heavy in the establishment defense of Perez. He is being hailed as a civil rights champion, and that progressives should support him strongly on that issues alone. While Perez has a good record on civil rights, his record is bad when it comes to money in politics. We can’t rely on identity politics to sway the left anymore. Establishment Democrats don’t understand that American workers have been hurting for thirty years.
I usually don’t make predictions public, but I will make one now; Democrats will lose the 2020 elections. Based on the election of Perez, the establishment has learned nothing from 2016. The centrist establishment of the Democratic Party is continuing the same failed strategies that defeated them in the polls. This is clear now, especially after the DNC voted down an Obama-era ban on accepting corporate money from lobbyists.
The establishment has learned nothing. If “party unity” is what they wanted so badly, why would they push for someone like Perez? It was clear that progressives didn’t want him. Also, if Perez and Ellison were so similar in their views, why not just support Ellison? It would have made progressives somewhat pleased, and would have got them closer to achieving the unity they so desperately want. They opposed Ellison because the corporate backers of the Democratic Party don’t want progressives in charge.
Keep in mind, Ellison wasn’t even the most progressive choice in the DNC race. He was more acceptable to progressives than Tom Perez, but that honor would go to someone like Sam Ronan. He got little to no coverage for his campaign. Ellison was as progressive as you could get, within the acceptable DC establishment parameter. They still voted against him.
Party unity is unlikely for the Democrats. If establishment Democrats thought that their constituents were annoying before the DNC election, they haven’t seen anything yet. Progressives are not going to lie down. Unity is based on policy goals, not party loyalty no matter what. You can’t defeat Donald Trump’s agenda with Hillary Clinton politics. She lost for a reason. Progressives who’ve followed politics for a while are not shocked by any of this.
Why do Democrats lose? Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks has always summed it up perfectly. Democrats lose because they are paid to lose. If we continue to swallow the establishment load, progressives will never win. Establishment Democrats are the epitome of Einstein’s definition of insanity. They continue the same failed strategy because their donors pay them to. As long as this continues, progress in America will die a slow and painful death.