Politico has a story today on the ongoing struggles at the Democratic National Committee. Chairman Tom Perez admits fundraising isn’t what it could be and blames lasting mistrust between the Bernie Sanders wing of the party and the Clinton wing:
“I knew it was a turnaround job when I ran, but I undeniably underestimated the depth of the turnaround job. We had to rebuild almost every facet of the organization, and equally importantly, we had to rebuild trust,” Perez said in a recent interview at party headquarters. “Not just people who had invested in the DNC, but others — they just felt the party had let them down.”…
The DNC’s 2018 will be about tailored expectations: adapting its 2017 strategy of targeted, under-the-radar field and infrastructure investments to a much bigger map of races and a much smaller pool of money than it would like to have. Officials say it’ll stay off TV — in part because it won’t have the money — but will fund staff on the ground, new voter turnout initiatives driven by new technology, and constituency-specific mailers and outreach by phone and text message…
“If you want to write a story that says RNC outraises DNC, that is the quintessential dog bites man story, and has been for some time. They’ve got a lot more wealthy people,” Perez said. “Am I content with that? Absolutely not. We have a size 12 vision that can enable us to win everywhere, and we currently have a size 9 budget.”
As Perez has focused on fundraising his way out of the mess Debbie Wasserman Schultz left behind, he and other DNC leaders are focused on gaining access to Bernie Sanders’ donor list. The idea is that Sanders’ list of younger, small-time donors could be a boon for the party and give Democrats in local races across the country a lot more potential voters (and donors) to contact. But the Berniecrats aren’t interested in handing anything over to a party apparatus which they still believe was rigged against them:
The dispute largely revolves around Sanders’ massive email list:The DNC wants it, but Sanders has no intention of handing it over. The Sanders line is clear: No way will he be providing his list or any other information to the DNC, as Perez has asked, or pitch in otherwise to an organization that he is demanding be reshaped. To the Sanders orbit, it’s not nearly enough that Perez backed the recommendations of a yearlong Unity Commission set up to revise internal rules that Sanders supporters argued disenfranchised the base.
“We still have a long way to go. We’ve made big steps forward in opening up the party and making the nominating process more democratic,” said Jeff Weaver, campaign manager for the 2016 Sanders campaign and a leader of the efforts on his behalf in the Unity Commission. “We’ve also got to make sure that all the different factions of the party are represented at the DNC. Tom can do a little bit more to bring in some other voices.”…
“I don’t think you should expect that to happen. If people think the Sanders list is just an ATM, they’re sadly mistaken,” he said. “It’s a list of millions of people who are motivated by a certain policy agenda. If they think it can be easily transferred, I think it’s a fantasy.”
In other words, there’s no way the DNC is getting a list of far-left progressives unless it agrees to move a lot farther in that direction. Given that people at the DNC were fired for their plans to damage Sanders during the primaries and that Perez himself cleared the decks the moment he came in, it’s fair to say there was a genuine problem at the DNC.
I don’t have any fondness for Sanders’ political outlook but why should he be expected to hand over the fruits of his efforts to people who tried to kneecap him. In fact, there’s a little capitalism vs. socialism lesson here if you look for it. If Sanders were operating based on the Karl Marx slogan “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” he really ought to hand over the list. If on the other hand, he sees the list as the product of his own effort, he ought to tell the party to go to hell. So far he seems to be acting like someone who sees the list as something he owns, not something he is obligated to share with anyone. Maybe there’s hope for Sanders after all.