There are several members in the Democratic National Committee (DNC) who are criticizing Chairman Tom Perez’s decision to endorse New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is a two-term incumbent. Many members of the committee say that Perez did not inform them of the decision to endorse the Governor. They believe the endorsement destabilizes the efforts to gain the needed trust of young voters and independents, as well as progressives that are already doubtful of the role that the DNC will play going forward.
According to Yasmine Taeb, a Virginia Democratic National Committeewoman, “What does he think the response is going to be from progressives who already had doubts about the DNC?” Another senior Democratic official, who chose not to be named, called the decision an “unforced error.” The unnamed official believes that any type of misstep results in the committee having to spend the time to repair relations with young Democrats and rebuild their trust.
However, the statement by the chief spokesman, Xochiti Hinojosa, for the DNC said, “This was not an endorsement by the DNC, nor will the DNC be using resources toward this primary.” Whether the decision was personal or political, it still has received a lot of criticism within the DNC.
The endorsement of Cuomo for the New York primary also adds to the memories of the 2016 primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The primary will conclude in five months and many believe that Perez stepped right into the landmine that critics have been waiting for. The endorsement has led to many progressives dredging up old history rather than moving forward like the Democratic Party would prefer.
California Committeeman Michael Kapp said, “[The endorsement] is not a positive step for our Party, especially as we’re trying to rebuild and expand.” However, Perez’s decision underscores the tough position the Chairman found himself in. At the risk of alienating Democratic donors who supported Cuomo in New York and upsetting the progressives within the Party, Perez chose a decision that has left a lot of people baffled by the endorsement and by the lack of communication to inform them prior to making it public.