The Left Should Root for the Success of DNC Chair Tom Perez

Good piece in The Nation, which remains an excellent source for all things not-Russia.

Tom Perez is not his backers. Tom Perez is not the people who recruited him into the race. Tom Perez is more than the role he played in this DNC race (stalking horse for an establishment determined to stop the candidate preferred by the left). Tom Perez is an individual with an impressive record fighting for, and achieving, the things progressives value so highly. If his record seems to make him an odd choice to play Clintonite water-carrier, the history of his recruitment backs up that impression. The Democratic establishment, which initially tried to recruit Joe Biden and Jennifer Granholm), settled for Tom Perez after their preferred candidates begged off, because they recognized that the sort of party hack centrist (Hi, Tim Kaine!) that they would have preferred would not have stood a chance in the post-Hillary Democratic Party. Tom Perez represents the first time the corporate establishment of the Democratic Party has had to settle for a “half a loaf” outcome in a fight with the left. Think about all of those times progressives have complained about such a dilemma, and how victories by “lesser of two evil” candidates have been interpreted as evidence of the predominance of the “evil” side. Well, in 2016, the shoe is on the other foot, and that should give every progressive Democrat hope and optimism for the future.

While the justification for his candidacy may have been to lock out the party’s progressive wing, Perez himself has done very little to suggest that her has any interest in fighting that battle as Chair. His first action as DNC Chair was to appoint Keith Ellison to the Deputy position. Though this action is only the start of the process of incorporating the Sanders left into the party, it is not a bad opening bid. We will have to see where Perez goes from here, but it is worth keeping an open mind. As the history of Perez’ interactions with movement-progressives demonstrates (including an interesting episode involving Keith Ellison), he is someone with whom we can work.

Progressives should keep an open mind. Hold Perez accountable when there is cause, certainly. Pressure him, sure, because Lord knows he will be facing pressure from the centrist, big donor side. But there is  no call at this point for treating him, personally, as the enemy.

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