By Richard Miller
WE.CONNECT.DOTS: No matter the outcome of Saturday’s battle for the chairperson for Democratic National Committee, the party leaders appeared to emphasize “diversity.”
The three leading candidates were:
Pete Buttigieg, age 35 – (pronounced “But–tigg– eej”) second term mayor of South Bend, Inc., Harvard educated, a Rhodes scholar, Navy veteran of the Afghanistan war, accomplished pianist and openly gay.
Keith Ellison, age 53 – a Bernie Sanders supporter, in his 6th term of Congress from Minnesota, Afro-American and the first Muslim to be elected to Congress.
Tom Perez, age 55 – Worked his way through Brown University as a trash collector among other jobs, and got a Harvard law degree. He served in various cabinet positions in Maryland and was the civil rights enforcer for the U.S. Department of Justice. Recently, he completed a four-year stint as President Obama’s Secretary of Labor. He is the first American-born of parents hailing from the Dominican Republic.
Perez won in a second ballot finish of 235 to 200 to become the first Latino to head either major national political party. He immediately appointed second-place finisher Ellison to the position of deputy national chair. Buttigieg withdrew before the first ballot, although observers claim he was second choice on many ballots.
Ellison had announced his candidacy last fall, drawing support from both Sanders and some Clinton backers. Jewish elements of the Democratic Party mounted an anti-Ellison campaign because of his positons on matters dealing with Israel.
This opposition caused his campaign to bog down and in late December Lopez announced his candidacy. Lopez had the backing mostly of Obama-connected politicos and unions. Joe Biden endorsed him while the outgoing President took no public position.
Buttigieg had the least endorsements, but they did include former PA governor and national chair Ed Rendell and Obama confidant David Axelrod. Neither had a vote.
While he is now viewed as a “budding star,” Mayor Buttigieg must first conquer of his own state. Indiana is redder than ever. Governor Mike Pence has been elevated to Vice-President. U.S. Senate favorite Evan Bayh bungled his attempt to re-take that state last year.
Buttigieg did run for a state row office in 2010 but lost handily.
Some contend Lopez got the nod because he had more organizational experience. There is no argument the Party needs rebuild from ground up.
Since 2010, the Party has lost an estimated 1,000 state legislative, governor, Congressional, Senate and state row office seats.
Democrats have run second, generally, since 1995 when Georgia Republican Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House of Representatives and introduced his “Contract with America.’
Even when President Obama cruised to a second term in 2012, Republicans were paying more attention to state legislative seats. Those legislatures would re-draw boundaries for new voting districts.
In a process known as “Gerrymandering,” the Republicans gained control of more government than the Party’s voter registration would support.
For example, in Pennsylvania Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by about one million. Yet, the GOP now holds 13 of the 18 Congressional seats, has a 34-16 edge in the Pennsylvania Senate and the largest margin in the state House since Eisenhower was president.
Pennsylvania went for Trump last year, first time GOP carried this state since Ronald Reagan.
Bottom Line: These compilations are the results of both GOP intelligence and Democrat incompetence. Lopez must convince rank-and-file Democrats that this kind of leadership is either going to get much smarter or be replaced.
Now Dem politicos are saying statewide candidates must run better in Western PA. State leaders gambled the turnout in Philadelphia and suburbs would erase any GOP showing in the West. They ignored Western Pennsylvania but were proved wrong.
The race for national Dem chair indicates Pennsylvania party honchos have yet to get the message. The state has eight National Democratic Committee members selected by votes of the state Democrat Committee members.
At the last state committee meeting it was suggested state committee members should be polled by the state’s national committee members on the selection of a national chair. However, Gov. Wolf and state chairman Marcel Groen had already announced their endorsement of Perez.
That was that.