It’s not even 2019 yet, but as 2020 grows closer, internecine rivalries within the Democratic Party are already spinning out of control. The latest example: an email from DNC chair Tom Perez about a voter data proposal. Perez wants to build a new, for-profit data system that would combine all of the voter data held by state parties and outside organizations like unions into one giant database. State party officials aren’t too keen on that idea, calling it a power grab by the DNC.
Now, according to Politico, Perez has sent an email to state party officials slamming their counterproposal to keep voter data in its current form. Everyone is extremely mad.
“For some inexplicable reason, this proposal would tear down just about everything about our current data structure, reversing so much of the progress we made over the past decade,” Perez wrote.
The national chairman, describing his own reaction to the state proposal as “disappointed” and “dumbfounded,” accused the president of the Association of State Democratic Committees, Minnesota’s Ken Martin, of undermining the DNC by not keeping other state party officials “in the loop,” prompting withering criticism of Perez from state party leaders. [...]
Perez’s email — with the seemingly innocuous subject line “UPDATE on data” — immediately triggered an uproar Saturday among state party leaders, who held conference calls and communicated with a flurry of emails and texts. The DNC chairman was referred to in a call as “a bull in a china shop,” according to one state party official. Another state party official called him “petulant,” via text message.
State parties are afraid that the national database would financially benefit a few individuals in the party over everyone else. Their plan would, like Perez’ plan, incorporate data from outside groups like unions, but it would keep the data in the hands of the states, where is it currently. That plan was developed by the president of the Association of State Democratic Committees, Ken Martin.
Perez, to put it lightly, doesn’t agree with Martin.
“Ken’s new entity... amounts to having State Parties effectively going alone on technology and data,” he wrote in the email obtained by Politico. “You would have to find a replacement for VoteBuilder—either building or buying—as the DNC has sole rights to the platform.”
VoteBuilder is an online organizing platform used for campaigns. Perez is essentially threatening to deny this crucial software to the state parties were they to refuse cooperation with his new, for-profit database.
Officials are literally doing spit-takes over the email’s contents. Trav Robertson, South Carolina Democratic Party chairman, said the email’s contents literally made him “spit out my sweet tea.”
Alaska Democratic Party, Jay Parmley, told Perez in a response that he was being “petty.”
“I like Tom, but I think this was really poor judgment. It read like a letter from an 8th grader,” Parmley told Politico.
Perez’ tenure as head of the DNC has been filled with gaffes and controversies—whether it was his decision to intervene in the New York gubernatorial primary; his backtracking on the DNC’s ban on taking fossil fuel donations; or his warm words for Senate Democrats voting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh. The DNC has also had a lot of trouble doing the main thing it’s set up to do: raise money.
So it’s definitely smart for Perez to alienate the very people he needs to keep him in power, and to keep the party infrastructure from crumbling. Things are going great, folks! Onward to 2020!