"Business as Usual"

Over the weekend, former Labor Secretary Tom Perez was elected chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The usual suspects are bitterly complaining about his victory, saying that he represents "business as usual" in the Democratic Party.

I have stayed out of all the DNC chair stuff, but I feel obliged to say something about this "business as usual" narrative.

Let's take a look back at the 2016 campaign for a moment.

The Democratic primary saw a woman and a Jewish man take turns making history by being the first woman or Jewish person to win primaries/caucuses.

The party eventually nominated the first female major party candidate in history. She then ran on the most progressive platform the Democrats have ever put forward.

The Democratic convention was run by three Black women: Marcia Fudge, Donna Brazile, and Leah Daughtry.

The breakout speaker at that convention was a Muslim man: Khizr Khan.

That convention also featured the first ever trans speaker at a major party convention: Sarah McBride.

Hillary Clinton's campaign had the most diverse campaign staff ever, including a gay campaign manager: Robby Mook.

Eventually, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million votes, getting more votes than any white male candidate ever.

The DNC just elected the first Latino chair ever, Tom Perez. Had his strongest contender, Keith Ellison, won, the DNC would have elected its first Black Muslim chair. Ellison will serve as deputy chair of the DNC, so Dems will be led by a Latino and a Muslim. (Which is a fairly stark repudiation of Trump's domestic agenda.)

All of this is being described as "business as usual."

I don't know what political system the people saying that have been looking at, but that is not "business as usual."

This is the perfidy of the argument that "identity politics" don't matter. It allows people to ignore and dismiss marginalized leaders—and the people whom they represent at the table, many of whom have never had that sort of representation before. And to ignore and dismiss those leaders in a moment when a fascist president is elevating white supremacy.

Thus we get incredible arguments that Dems need to pander more to aggrieved white people when we need to combat white supremacy. And somehow pandering to aggrieved white people is positioned as the opposite of business as usual.

That is exactly—and perilously—wrong.

[This was originally published as a thread on Twitter.]

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