It is time the Democratic National Committee stopped taking Bernie Sanders into consideration as it goes about the business of organizing and electing Democrats. Sanders by his own words, which he states often and loudly, is not a Democrat. The leader of the organization he founded ‘Our Revolution’ has clearly stated they have no commitment to electing Democrats. So it’s time to get over the debate within the DNC over who supported whom in the last election.
This time around the criteria for being on the DNC, which by the way is all volunteer, should be you are a Democrat and enthusiastically committed to supporting Democrats in the general election. We need to be realists. Tom Perez won the chairmanship of the party and has the right to name people who supported him to the national committee. Why would anyone question that? His list of nominees is diverse and representative of every area of the country and every group that has supported Democratic victories. It’s time to stop the squabbling and move forward.
I have been a Democrat all my life. I have often supported the losing candidate in a primary. But after the primary I step up and support the winner going all out to ensure they win the general election. I don’t wait for them to come to me before I do that. As a Democrat and someone who is a progressive I know how important it is to win as we work toward Democratic majorities in state legislatures, winning governor’s mansions, and taking back the majority in Congress in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
It appears too many of the insiders in the DNC have lost track of those goals and are fighting intra-party fights that hurt all of us who want to see progress made on all the issues we care about. I have written about him before but a person to emulate is Tom Perriello who ran a primary against Lt. Governor Ralph Northam for the Democratic nomination for governor of Virginia. Though I thought his race was a waste of money, I applauded Perriello because after his loss he immediately turned around and enthusiastically endorsed Northam. No negotiation, no waiting, he did it the night he lost. Hillary Clinton did the same for Barack Obama in 2008 at the convention. Then she and Bill went out on the stump and worked their hearts out to elect him. She didn’t talk about herself or make demands on him, she just worked hard to elect him.
The only people who should have a voice in the DNC are Democrats. You can fight about issues and fight about the way forward but if you are not willing to join the party your views don’t matter in the internal workings of the party. The stupidity of some people still claiming the DNC fixed the last primaries is amazing. These people clearly don’t even understand our electoral system. The DNC doesn’t run primaries, states do. They don’t take their orders from the DNC as to how they actually run them. In fact what the DNC did in 2016 was generously let a non-Democrat run in Democratic primaries. Maybe now they learned their lesson for the future. It was Claire Boothe Luce who first said, “No good deed goes unpunished.”
We have a host of good candidates across the nation running at every level of government. Some are already nominated without opposition, others are running in primaries. We need the DNC to be ready and able to support every Democrat who stands for the basic principles of our party and is committed to voting for the Democratic leadership whether it be in their statehouse or Congress. We need to support Democrats and not get sidetracked with third-party candidates because we don’t agree with every position the Democrat may take. There will never be a candidate with whom you agree 100 percent unless you are the candidate. If you don’t like the options in a primary get out there and run. But if you run in a Democratic primary be prepared to commit to support the winner with everything you have as they should be prepared to support you if you win.
I have high hopes for the DNC to regain its footing and move the party forward. Having recently had the chance to chat with Jess O’Connell, the new CEO of the DNC, I am sure under her wise direction and with her wealth of experience, the party will be successful in 2017, 2018, 2020 and beyond.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.