Tom Perez wears many hats. He’s chairman of the Democratic Nationwide Committee (DNC), a former senior official on the Division of Justice, and the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic.
All three identities got here to bear Thursday on the Monitor Breakfast, a day after President Trump fired Lawyer Normal Jeff Periods and two days after Democrats reclaimed the bulk within the Home and grabbed not less than seven governorships away from Republicans. It was probably the most such “flips” of state chief govt for both occasion since 1994.
Looking forward to 2020, Chairman Perez stated Mr. Trump is “completely” beatable.
One of many classes of this cycle is that “now we have to increase the citizens, now we have to compete all over the place,” Perez stated, citing Nevada for example.
The Democrats gained the Nevada governorship for the primary time in 20 years, and beat Sen. Dean Heller – the one incumbent Republican senator to lose – in a cycle dominated by Democratic incumbents defending Senate seats in states gained by Trump in 2016. Democrats have been additionally profitable in pink states, comparable to Kansas (governor), and Montana and West Virginia (Senate), although the occasion misplaced floor total within the Senate.
A handful of races stay undecided – together with Georgia governor, the place Democrats are claiming “voter suppression,” and the Senate seat in Florida, the place there’s “a military of legal professionals down there” engaged on the recount, Perez says. Democrat Andrew Gillum, who misplaced an in depth race for governor of Florida, opened the door Wednesday to a attainable recount in his race as properly.
One lingering problem for the DNC is fundraising. The committee was outraised this cycle by the Republican Nationwide Committee by about 2 to 1, as donors have given to Home and Senate occasion committees, exterior teams, and particular person candidates. Democratic billionaires George Soros, Tom Steyer, and Michael Bloomberg funded their very own political initiatives.
The DNC’s 2016 election cycle was marred by the discharge of stolen emails that confirmed occasion officers had favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders for the presidential nomination. The scandal price the occasion in donations and within the belief of its members.
Whereas fundraising is vital, Perez says, it isn’t all the pieces. In 2006, the RNC outraised the DNC by about 2 to 1, and the Democrats gained each the Home and the Senate. In 2010, President Obama’s first midterm, the DNC outraised the RNC “significantly,” Perez says, and the Democrats acquired crushed.
“For me, the objective has by no means been to match them greenback for greenback,” says Perez, who took over the chairmanship quickly after Trump’s inauguration. “The objective is to lift sufficient cash to implement our recreation plan, and our recreation plan is a 50-state technique.”
Perez additionally fielded questions on Trump’s firing Wednesday of Lawyer Normal Periods and the controversial resolution to make Periods’ chief of workers, Matthew Whitaker, performing lawyer common. Mr. Whitaker, whose earlier job didn’t require affirmation by the Senate, now has decisionmaking authority over particular counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential collusion between Russia and Trump associates within the 2016 election.
“What occurred yesterday doesn’t cross the odor take a look at,” stated Perez, former assistant lawyer common for civil rights in the course of the Obama administration.
He known as Mr. Whitaker’s appointment “an effort to do an finish run round many years of sound observe to make sure that a Senate-confirmed particular person was on the helm of the Justice Division.”
As DNC chair, one among Perez’s key duties is party-building and voter outreach – together with to the nation’s fast-growing Hispanic group. Hispanic voters total lean Democratic, however Perez doesn’t purchase the argument that demography is future.
“That’s fingernails on a chalkboard for me,” the chairman says. “Demographics is just future if you’re on the market constructing relationships with individuals, if you’re on the market listening, and if you’re on the market combating for the issues that folks care about.”
In Florida, the big Hispanic inhabitants – particularly the quick development within the Puerto Rican group – is taken into account a key to state Democrats’ future. However reaching out to potential new voters is hard, Perez says, when they’re coping with displacement after hurricane Maria hit the island final yr.
“The secret is, exhibiting up in a culturally competent, linguistically acceptable method,” says Perez, who speaks Spanish. “And after we have been doing all of the Puerto Rican outreach in Florida, the primary query you at all times ask is, ‘How can I assist?’ It is not, ‘Hello, I’m Tom, we’d like your vote.’ ”
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