QUESTION ASKED: Why did Keith Ellison lose the DNC race?
As this year’s “establishment” candidate, Perez posed almost no ideological challenge to Ellison or Sanders voters, or the party platform they had helped to write. (Ellison served on the 2016 platform committee.) He broke with them on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which, as a member of the Obama administration, he supported. But when he did so, he always posited TPP as an improvement on deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he’d opposed.
But on most of the left’s other causes, Perez was simpatico. Inside the Obama administration, he supported raising the minimum wage and endorsed the Fight for $15 campaign; he pushed through regulations that hiked overtime pay; he sued states that implemented voter ID laws. In the summer of 2016, when he was floated as a running mate for Hillary Clinton, conservatives labeled him radical, and progressive groups said he’d be preferable to the eventual choice, Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.).
Ellison would have struggled to run to Perez’s left, and he largely did not try.
In other words, Perez won because he’s just as “progressive” as Ellison, but carries less baggage.
For the 2017-18 DNC, it’s still about marketing, not about moderation.