Why Is the Democratic National Committee “Embattled”?

This is a surprising news story, only because it comes from the uber-Democratic Party news operation, NBC:

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has launched a major overhaul of the party’s organization, which has been stung by recent crises — and the DNC has requested resignation letters from all current staffers.

Party staff routinely see major turnover with a new boss and they had been alerted to expect such a move. However, the mass resignation letters will give Perez a chance to completely remake the DNC’s headquarters from scratch. Staffing had already reached unusual lows following a round of post-election layoffs in December.

The election was a disaster for Democrats. It wasn’t just the loss of the presidency, unexpected by them (although I predicted it). The Democrats also failed to come close to taking the Senate, as many had expected, failed to make any significant gains in the House, and their losses in state and local races across the country continued to pile up.

Perez is the party’s third leader in the past year, which was one of its most difficult on record.

It began with accusations that the DNC favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, continued with the wrenching exposure of hacked emails and the abrupt resignation of former chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and concluded with the shocking defeat of its presidential nominee and a divisive race for the new party chairman.

The grueling experience, which followed years in which many Democrats felt the Obama White House ignored the party organization, has left the DNC with a crisis of confidence and competence.

That is the great unspoken fact of American politics. Conservatives are hard on the Republican Party–we often denounce our party’s leaders as inept, or worse. But in fact, the Republican Party is riding a wave of historic success. It is the Democrats who are sliding downhill toward oblivion, if present trends continue. Has any major political party in any country ever had such an unsympathetic set of leaders as Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton? Not that I know of.

Hence the “embattled” status of the Democratic National Committee. It will take a lot more than a few staff changes to alter the fortunes of the Democratic Party, but NBC offers no evidence that any major rethinking is in progress. On the contrary:

Progressives also criticized the transition committee’s initial makeup, leading the DNC to add several more members from the left’s ranks.

Earlier this month, Perez held a meeting to discuss the issue with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sanders, both of whom supported Rep. Keith Ellison in the DNC chair race.

Schumer, pointing to Ellison and Sanders, told Perez, “If he’s happy, and if he’s happy, then I’m happy,” according to two sources.

Perez has included Ellison in many of the DNC’s public events so far, but the party’s charter makes no provision for a deputy chair, so Ellison does not have vote on the DNC. That could be fixed by naming the Minnesota congressman to one of the 75 slots the chairman gets to appoint to the national committee.

Ellison’s political director has also been helping to oversee staffing decisions in some key departments in the DNC, according to several sources.

The view that the Democrats’ problem is that they haven’t moved far enough to the Left is not widely held among objective observers, but it apparently seems plausible to NBC. Watch for the Democrats’ downhill slide to continue.

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