This week’s episode of Primary Concerns reveals with extreme clarity that Tom Perez should not be chair of the DNC. The podcast offers a thirty-minute interview with the former Clinton aide, and begins with a half-hour chat with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (Keith Elison declined to participate). I only made it through ten minutes or so of Perez’s talk, but it was enough to know he’s the wrong choice.
Unlike Buttigieg, Perez’s comments were little more than anti-Trump and “protect our freedoms” platitudes. His answer to questions about the taint he carries with him from the DNC hacks was to be transparent by booking debates earlier so that no one can complain that the scheduling was politicized.
On the other hand, Buttigieg talked about his work solving real problems in the kind of Midwestern, working-class, diverse community that Democrats lost in 2016 — things like shoveling snow and filling potholes. Real life stuff, not partisan abstractions. And he talked over and over about tapping the grassroots momentum that’s exploded since the Women’s March, allowing it to continue growing organically, to turn standing-room-only town halls into races for school boards, city councils, state houses, governors’ mansions and on and on.
He talked about attending the Women’s March in South Bend, pointing out that he’s the only one of the three DNC candidates who participated in the largest demonstration in American history. My aunt and uncle went to that one, too, and though there were only a few thousand people there, it was a powerful experience for them and for the mayor. It was peaceful, Buttigieg said, hopeful, and totally fueled by regular folks driven by nothing more than their own desires to keep America great. South Bend and Michiana, where I grew up, are a perfect example of the kind of community where Democrats need to win.
Listen to the candidates side by side. It’s obvious in their voices and their answers. One clearly brings the changes the party needs. The other is just more of the same.