A sit down with the head of the Democratic National Committee….
Doing a rough job during the times of Trumpism….
Perez has been chairman of the DNC since early last year. He took office on the heels of a scandal. In the 2016 primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the DNC negotiated a secret fund-raising agreement to benefit the Clinton camp. Public exposure of that deal enraged Sanders supporters and led to the first contested election for a DNC chair in more than 30 years. The ensuing campaign, between Perez and Congressman Keith Ellison, only deepened the party’s divisions. Ellison, a stalwart progressive, was among the most ardent supporters of Sanders in Congress. His bid for control of the DNC reflected a movement to dislodge the establishment. Perez, meanwhile, was widely seen as a fixture of that establishment. After serving in the Justice Department under Eric Holder, he was named secretary of labor, where he inflamed the left by removing penalties on five banks that were convicted of market manipulation.
When DNC members elected Perez as chair, the left wing of the party raised alarms—but Perez quickly installed Ellison as his deputy and the two claimed to begin a “bromance.” Since then, Perez has guided the Democratic strategy for the midterms. His approach has been either pragmatic or erratic, depending whom you ask. He has praised democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as “the future of our party,” even while promising to support Democrats who voted for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and endorsing the calcified New York Governor Andrew Cuomo against upstart Cynthia Nixon. Perez believes these are tactical choices to help Democrats on November 6. His critics believe his ameliorist tendencies are a threat to the party’s core values. A blue wave could assuage those critics, while anemic returns could lead to his ouster. In a 30-minute discussion five days before the election, under the wary oversight of his deputy communications director, Sabrina Singh, Perez tried to explain why his agnostic approach is the best way to run the map….