The long-time Democratic insider and high-ranking member of the party elite was most recently Obama’s Secretary of Labor, prior to which he was at one time considered as a possible running mate for Hillary Clinton. Perez earlier served under Bill Clinton’s government as a civil rights attorney, so he has extensive experience in government, but in today’s era, this also makes him the epitome of the “establishment”, which some observers say is the last thing that the Democrats need to be associated with nowadays. Perez’s DNC rival, Keith Ellison, however, was painted by many as being a “political insurgent” modelled off of the Sanders brand, and commentators compared the Perez-Ellison DNC race to a re-run of the Clinton-Sanders primary last year.
Both candidates rejected this comparison as a media-driven story, and Perez was quick to signal party unity by immediately appointing Ellison as deputy chairman of the party right after his narrow victory in the second round of voting. However, this didn’t stop the criticism coming in from some of Sanders’ supporters, who felt that the party had made a major mistake by continuing with the Clinton political legacy and forcing their faction to play second fiddle yet again. Even Trump got involved in the social media trash talking by tweeting – quote – “The race for DNC Chairman was, of course, totally "rigged." Bernie's guy, like Bernie himself, never had a chance. Clinton demanded Perez!” – end quote – seemingly channeling what many Sanders supporters were feeling was another unfortunate case of déjà vu. The President continued with his taunts by later tweeting that – quote – “Congratulations to Thomas Perez, who has just been named Chairman of the DNC. I could not be happier for him, or for the Republican Party!” – end quote.
It’s obvious that Trump has a political agenda in what he says, but he does hint at a more objective point about whether it wise or not for the Democrats to continue with Hilary’s failed political legacy by picking her surrogate as the party’s next leader instead of embracing the change that its most enthusiastic supporters hoped would radically breathe new life into the stale party.
Joe Iosbaker, activist and member of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, and Joe Lombardo, co-coordinator of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) stopped by to share their thoughts.
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