Say, whatever happened to that guy who got stuck with the job of being DNC Chairman last year? You remember him, right… Tom Perez? He’s sort of dropped off the media radar lately. Maybe he’s just busy raising money and gearing up for the midterms. That would make sense, but things aren’t always that simple in the real world. I noticed a press release from the RNC this week which claims that Perez has been holed up in his office quite a bit and DNC insiders are saying that although he campaigned for the position with great gusto, Perez actually hates his job.
As DNC Chair Tom Perez tries to rally his liberal base and blame Republicans for the Schumer Shutdown, it’s worth noting that he is reportedly “miserable” and “hates” his job.
Vice News dropped this bombshell scoop on the DNC yesterday. (Keep in mind RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel killed it in 2017 – setting a record for the most raised by a party committee chair in an off-year. A well-funded RNC means a well-funded ground game and data operation in the states. The opposite is true at the DNC, and Perez’s failures have Democrats sounding the alarm.)
The comparison is rather stark. Chairwoman McDaniel didn’t just exceed the Democrats’ fundraising efforts in 2017. She beat them like a rented mule, more than doubling the amount of contributions the DNC recorded and setting a record for off-year donations. The corresponding reports about how Perez is taking the news showed up in this report from Vice.
Perez started off his tenure with some lofty goals and inspiring promises. In addition to funding the Democrats’ national efforts for the midterms, the new chairman recognized that their state-level organization was in disrepair. He pledged an additional ten million dollar fund specifically allocated for state parties to rebuild and staff up for the 2018 battles. Thus far, however, Vice reports that it simply hasn’t happened. In fact, not only have they not sent ten million dollars to the state parties, they don’t even have ten million on hand.
That money hasn’t arrived.
In fact, the DNC didn’t even have $10 million on hand as of November 30 and declined to comment on whether it had the money now. And even if it did, it wouldn’t distribute the money right away, frustrating state party officials who are anxious about the coming midterm elections and describe the effort to rebuild as slow and halting.
“What our fear is, is that no matter how high this wave is in 2018, that we won’t have the ability to take advantage of that and win governors races, congressional races, and state legislative races that would normally be out of reach but could be competitive,” Ray Buckley, the chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, who ran for DNC chairman last year, told VICE News.
Fundraising is one of the most tedious aspects of professional politics and it’s particularly difficult when the economy is in the dumps and people are tightening their belts. But last year we were surging and that happy trend is now continuing into 2018. People are shelling out for the RNC, so why can’t Perez work that magic and get the same bump for his party? Particularly in what is supposed to be a “wave election” year for the Democrats, one might imagine that donors would be coming out of the woodwork.
Vice quotes one anonymous DNC official as saying, “Tom is just really miserable in the job, which is part of why it’s not going well.” They go on to say that he “hates fundraising” which is why there isn’t much of it getting done. (Conversely, McDaniel reportedly spends up to six hours per day on the phone, shaking the bushes for every dollar she can pull in.) You almost have to sympathize with Perez. Dialing for dollars is no fun, and many candidates have to be prompted to do it by their staff. Trust me… I’m speaking from experience on that count.
But at the same time, he couldn’t possibly have asked for this position and been unaware that fundraising was a major part of the job description. Perhaps he thought that the #RESIST movement would be so angry about Trump’s election that the money would rain down on him from the skies. Now he has to spend his days asking people for cash and he’s “miserable” in his position. If the Democrats really are serious about building a blue wave this fall, they might want to consider putting a new captain at the helm.