by Henry Rogers
Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez has faced constant backlash from his own party after endorsing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the primary Thursday — breaking with his own beliefs that the DNC should not get involved in primary elections.
Perez’s decision was a surprise to many Democrats, including his own deputy chairman, Keith Ellison, who disagreed with Perez’s endorsement of Cuomo in the primary election. Perez himself has continued to urge Democrats to not get involved in primaries and assumed the role of chairman after controversy surrounding the DNC’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election. But Perez went against his own messaging Thursday, and Democrats are not happy.
“The Democratic Party should not intervene in the primary process,” a spokesperson for Ellison told NBC News. “It is our role to be fair to all contestants and let the voters decide.”
Ellison’s statement, disagreeing with his superior, is by far the most shocking; but Democrats across the country are lashing out over the primary endorsement.
“The entire reason we hold primaries is because voters should decide who’s on the ballot, and not party bosses,” Karthik Ganapathy, a spokesperson for MoveOn.org, told NBC News “It’s wrong for those in charge of official party infrastructure to put their thumb on the scales and try to influence the outcome of elections before the primary voters who form the party’s grassroots base have had a chance to cast their ballots.”
Many well-known Democrats have continued to complain on Twitter, asking Perez “why” he made the decision to interfere in a primary election.
Tom, all I can ask is “Why?” Earlier you said the party shouldn’t get involved in primaries. & Keith said the “Party shouldn’t intervene in the primary process” it should “be fair to all…& let the voters decide.” So why alienate progressives, why? https://t.co/tt2HGbJp46
— James J. Zogby (@jjz1600) May 25, 2018
MSNBC anchor Joy Ann Reid called Perez’s decision “very odd” and hinted that Cuomo’s challenger Cynthia Nixon would have been a good choice for the Democratic party.
Very odd. And way off the plot at a time when women candidates are romping nationwide… https://t.co/Xuy2McDEZG
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) May 24, 2018
Former Bernie Sanders surrogate, Nomiki Konst, blasted Perez on Twitter, saying the DNC is “not allowed to intervene in primaries” and the DNC’s rules must be taken seriously.
As someone who spent 1yr+ of my life traveling the country for DNC Unity Reform Commission…If we want to unite the party and win elections again, we must take the DNC’s rules seriously. The DNC is not allowed to intervene in primaries – otherwise why would we have primaries? https://t.co/jXgX3j1UBe
— Nomiki Konst ????? (@NomikiKonst) May 24, 2018
Liberal radio host Bill Press also disagreed with Perez, calling his actions a “colossal mistake,” during a Friday morning podcast.
“Didn’t we learn anything in 2016? The Democratic National Committee should not be taking sides during the primary — any primary. They did it for Hillary over Bernie. It cost them a lot of support. It was unfair. They lied about it. They were found out about it by the emails, and Donna Brazille blew the whistle on them and yet here they are making the same mistake all over again. There is no reason for the DNC to get involved in the Democratic primary in New York State,” Press said in the podcast. “This is going to hurt the Democratic Party, hurt the chances for the Democratic Party to be united in these 2018 elections and going into 2020. Tom Perez, don’t know why you did it. Big mistake.”
The split among the party is not a good sign for Democrats if they plan on winning back a majority in the 2018 congressional elections.
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Henry Rogers is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation. Follow Henry Rodgers On Twitter.