In a symbolic House vote on Wednesday, members of the Congressional Black Caucus voiced their displeasure with Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, the latest sign of the infighting and fracturing that Democrats have been desperately trying to keep away from the public eye. Inside their caucus this week, the black Democrats insisted that they have “no confidence” in Perez’s DNC leadership.
Much of their anger seems directed at Perez’s decision to strip power from the party’s so-called “superdelegates.” This decision was an olive branch to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and the voters who felt that the superdelegates allowed Hillary Clinton to ride to victory over Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders in 2016. Under the rules for 2020, the superdelegates will not have any say in the nominee-selection process until and unless the vote goes to a second ballot at the national convention.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Caucus chairman Cedric Richmond (D-LA) said that the superdelegate rules were chiefly among the reasons his group voted to express no confidence in Perez.
“I think just a lack of respect for our members,” he said. “You know, during the Hillary race if we went to 300 places for Congress, we went to 400, 500 places for Hillary. It’s one of the things with being a party leader. Our members were just not happy.”
In a statement defending Perez and the DNC, spokesman Adrienne Watson said the reforms made after the 2016 election were a response to public demand.
“An overwhelming majority of DNC members approved these historic reforms to strengthen and grow our party, increase transparency, and put our nominee in the best possible position to win in 2020,” said Watson. “As last Tuesday showed, when we empower our grassroots we succeed. We look forward to continuing our work with the caucus to build a strong and diverse party.”
While bad blood lingers between members of the Democratic Party on Capitol Hill and the party’s official campaign apparatus, not all is well within Congress, either. Would-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing a growing backlash from within the party, particularly among incoming and freshman Democrats who think it’s time for a change. Pelosi is still expected to win the vote and become the next Speaker of the House, but it won’t be the easy ascension she’d hoped for.
Not all of these fractures comes down to Progressives vs. The Establishment, but that’s definitely the biggest problem facing the Democrats as they move forward to 2020. If there is any glue that binds them together, it is a shared disdain for President Trump. Whether or not that will be enough to hold the party together, we shall see.