Oh my: DNC rift opens wider as Perez boots Ellison supporters

Should a man as bad at the core task of party chairs as Tom Perez has been this year touch off a civil war within his organization? NBC News reports that Perez has initiated a “shake-up” at the DNC, but it looks more like a power play for a man desperate to protect himself from a revolt. Numerous long-term officials have gotten the boot, many of whom backed his deputy chair Keith Ellison for the job.

Oh, and the long arm of the Clintons has not gone away, either:

A shake-up is underway at the Democratic National Committee as several key longtime officials have lost their posts, exposing a still-raw rift in the party and igniting anger among those in its progressive wing who see retaliation for their opposition to DNC Chairman Tom Perez. …

Complaints began immediately after party officials saw a list of Perez’ appointments to DNC committees and his roster of 75 “at-large” members, who are chosen by the chair.

The removal and demotion of a handful of veteran operatives stood out, as did what critics charge is the over-representation of Clinton-backed members on the Rules and Bylaws Committee, which helps set the terms for the party’s presidential primary, though other Sanders and Ellison backers remain represented.

Among those ousted, according to NBC, are three key Ellison backers and longtime DNC officers — Ray Buckley, Alice Germond, and Barbara Casbar Siperstein, also known as the DNC’s first transgender official. Two of the three also backed Bernie Sanders for president, along with James Zogby, who got kicked out of his sixteen-year tenure on the Executive Committee.

According to Germond, who has served for four decades at the DNC, Perez never even gave them the courtesy of a phone call first. “I understand that to the winner go the spoils,” Germond tells NBC, but … really?

“It is quite unusual for a former party officer who has been serving on the DNC for forever to just be left out in the cold without even a call from the chairman,” said Germond, who was a vocal Ellison backer for DNC chairman. “So I assumed it had something to do with myself support for Keith.”

Perez began this project seven months ago, when he asked for the resignations of all staffers within the DNC. That made some sense, as the new leadership team — which included Ellison, supposedly with Perez’ enthusiastic assent — wanted the option of reorganizing after a decade of abject failure. There may be a good argument for bringing new blood into the DNC too, and removing the deadwood that allowed the party to drift so far from the voters. However, the singular trimming of the branches on the Ellison/Sanders side of the tree looks a lot more like a purge. Perez is circling the wagons as questions about his fundraising competence multiply in number and increase in volume.

Also, would a “fresh blood” initiative bring in supporters of the Clinton establishment that has controlled the party for a quarter century and proved so inept in the last election? Why put Clinton surrogates in charge of the primary process, unless Perez is extending the efforts at the DNC to warp the process for another run at the coronation?

Republicans should be well advised to stay out of the way while the DNC eats itself. They should, however, feel free to pass the popcorn.