After 2016 many Democrats were disillusioned. Hillary lost and there was a lot of blame to go around. One of the lingering concerns has been that the DNC will play favorites again and put a thumb on the scale to help one candidate over another. That concern has kept many people from contributing to the DNC. Tom Perez is aware of the mistrust and understands that concern. He has taken steps to make the process for nominating the presidential candidate transparent and fair.
I have met with Tom Perez and I have spoken by phone with Brandon Hynes, who is one of Tom Perez’s closest aides. Here is my take-away.
- When I met with Tom Perez, I voiced my concerns about fairness and transparency when it comes to the presidential nominee, which I care about deeply. I am also a member of Invest to Elect- Chicago, a group of savvy, engaged women who do their homework and study up on the candidates they support. The steering committee of that group also met in person with Tom Perez and expressed that group’s concern about the need for transparency and no favoritism. Perez has convinced us that the DNC is NOT going to play favorites.
- I know that if you are reading this you probably have not met me in person, or met the women of Invest to Elect, but I hope that you can have faith that we share your concern about this issue and that we did a good job of challenging Tom to convince us. He did. So much so that we are joining the DNC to help with its initiative to recruit, train and deploy boots-on-the-ground campaigners to be ready to help get the message out for WHOEVER becomes the Democratic nominee. The initiative is called Organizing Corps 2020. We are all in on this initiative. I will be writing about it in the future.
- There have been changes to the DNC rules to ensure neutrality and impartiality. There are strict new requirements that DNC officers and staff must be impartial. It is not permissible to express favoritism in internal communications or external communications. Employees and officers are barred from publicly endorsing any candidate for president. DNC staffers and officers are not allowed to make financial contributions to any candidate. Even bumper stickers for a favorite candidate are not allowed.
- The super-delegate power was reined in. The old school approach of using super-delegates to call the shots and choose the nominee will not happen anymore. This was done to be sure that the old boy network could not weigh in and overwhelm the natural selection process of finding a nominee who appeals to the most Democrats.
- Primary debates were designed to be as fair as possible. There will be 12 of them and there will be no “varsity/ junior varsity” squads. The debates have been designed to allow more candidates to qualify to participate through grassroots support. The goal is to be both transparent and inclusive. There will be a winnowing process. By the third debate candidates must have 130,000 unique donors who give at least one dollar and poll above 2% in four major well-respected qualifying polls. Some candidates might not like this but the DNC needs to have a viable way to help candidates who are demonstrating progress be able to have their voices heard.
- No candidate has received the donor rolls from the DNC. If you are being contacted by a candidate, that candidate may have started with a bigger donor list which is giving him or her a head start over some other candidate you might prefer. Joe Biden, for example, ran for president a few times and ran for VP with Obama. Because of that he may have a more robust national donor list compared to someone who is running for the first time. Bernie Sanders has a large group of dedicated donors he is tapping who are very loyal. The key is relationships. If a candidate has created relationships, he or she is entitled to reach out to them. It also matters who you hire to run your campaign and the relationships and contacts those hires bring with them are permitted to help your campaign.
- Perhaps most convincing of all, Brandon described a meeting he attended where Tom was asked by a group of donors if he would try to steer the party away from a candidate who would be “too far to the left”. Tom said: Nothing will be done to steer the party away from a more left-wing candidate. If that is the choice, that person will be the nominee. The DNC will not be putting its thumb on the scale.
The DNC is not behind one person. Instead, it is committed to making sure whoever becomes the nominee is chosen fairly, with transparency and is given a fully functioning, fully funded, technically ready state of the art support system that can move into high gear as soon as the nominee is selected no matter who that may be.
There will be people who do not believe that the DNC has turned over a new leaf. For those of you who cannot believe that sort of change is possible, I wish you could meet with Tom in person as I did. Maybe that would influence you. Trust gets created when you meet someone face to face the way I did and the way the steering committee of Invest to Elect Chicago did. Absent that, you can only rely on others you trust to tell you the truth.
The reason I started my blog, the Markin Report, was to become a trusted voice on Facebook. There was so much misinformation I was reading on Facebook and still see there. I wanted to try to be a voice of reason and accurate information. I do not always get everything right, but I do try my best to speak truthfully and accurately. And I am always open to anyone who has a useful correction for me. I welcome your corrections, edits, suggestions and insights.
I can tell you this- when it comes to Tom Perez, I believe him. I believe Tom understands how much it damaged the DNC that Hillary was the heir apparent and that the nominating process was so flawed. Tom Perez and the DNC are determined to avoid the smoke filled back rooms and special deals that helped to damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. His hope is for us to fall in love with a candidate but then fall in line to support the candidate who becomes the nominee. My North Star, my goal, is to get Trump out of office and get in as many Dems as possible across the country and on Capitol Hill. I endorse Tom Perez and the DNC and I hope you will too.