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Grassroots liberals threaten a #DemExit after Tom Perez wins DNC chair election

"The same-old, same-old isn't working."


Samantha Grasso


Posted on Feb 25, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 10:36 pm CDT

Democrats elected Tom Perez to be the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee on Saturday, making him the first Latino to do so. Perez, a former labor secretary under President Barack Obama, won the election after the second round of voting, with Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison in second by just 35 votes.

According to NBC News, Ellison, the DNC chair pick of grassroots voters and liberals who rallied behind former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, urged the party to unite under Perez’s lead.

“We don’t have the luxury, folks, to walk out of this room divided,” Ellison said. “We don’t have that luxury, and I just want to say to you that it’s my honor to serve this party under Chairman Perez.” 

Perez also appointed Ellison to be deputy chairman. However, the call to action and deputy position didn’t stop Ellison supporters from airing resentment against establishment Democrats.

“If you polled Democrats outside of this room, Keith would win,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’s campaign manager for his 2016 presidential bid, told the Washington Post. “Keith’s support is from the people on the street.”

As chairman, Perez will face the challenge of rebuilding the party after a failed presidential election and losses in the House and the Senate. But grassroots progressives disagree with the new leadership and his ability to bring about the change they’re calling for, expressing the disconnect on Twitter with the hashtag #DemExit.

Even President Donald Trump congratulated Perez on Twitter, appearing to acknowledge the doubt surrounding the new chairman’s ability to unite the party before the next mid-term and presidential elections.

Sanders congratulated Perez on the election, though he continued to stress the need for Democrats to change.

H/T NBC News

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*First Published: Feb 25, 2017, 6:07 pm CST