DNC chairman says ‘time is ripe’ to reexamine order of state primaries
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez on Wednesday said he wants to talk about caucus reform and review the status of the primary cycle to reflect a more diverse voter base and representative candidates.
“I think the time is ripe for that conversation,” Perez said in an appearance on CNN. “I want to make sure that we reflect the grand diversity of our party in everything we do.”
“The candidate who is going to win this race … is the candidate who does the best job bringing together this entire diverse coalition of the Democratic Party,” he said. “African American voters are the backbone of the Democratic Party.”
The chairman notes that after the 2016 election cycle, questions surrounded the idea of superdelegate reform as well as primary and caucus reformations.
Perez said 14 states had caucuses during the last election, and seven of those now have primaries instead. Three of the most recent switches to government-run primaries include Kansas, Maine and Hawaii.
“I think the next frontier of discussion in the Democratic Party needs to be ‘do we need further caucus reform?’ Because parties shouldn’t be in the business of running elections,” Perez said. “Parties should be in the business of helping Democrats up and down the ticket win.”
CNN anchor John Berman asked Perez about his thoughts on the “whiteness” of the remaining Democratic hopefuls.
“I think we need to have a broad conversation about money in politics … and how do we make sure we have a level playing field for everyone,” Perez said.
Perez applauded candidates such as Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Andrew Yang and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro for representing the diversity of the Democratic National Committee during the first leg of the election. All three have since dropped out of the race, with Yang doing so on Tuesday night after the New Hampshire primary.
“The candidates who remain understand that civil rights is core to who we are as Democrats,” he said. “Diversity and inclusion is not an idle set of words for Democrats; it’s our DNA.”