A major fight is unfolding in the Democratic party over voter data. Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez wants to centralize the information in a large central database. But many state-level Democrats see this as a power grab and want to maintain their own data.

Alex Thompson reported at Politico:

DNC Chair Tom Perez goes to war with state parties

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez launched an attack on his own party’s state organizations Saturday with a long and angry email over the future of the party’s most valuable asset — its voter data file.

Just days before an important Tuesday meeting in D.C. on the future of the data operation, Perez sharply criticized a new proposal from state party leaders and singled out prominent state officials by name.

“For some inexplicable reason, this proposal would tear down just about everything about our current data structure, reversing so much of the progress we made over the past decade,” Perez wrote.

The national chairman, describing his own reaction to the state proposal as “disappointed” and “dumbfounded,” accused the president of the Association of State Democratic Committees, Minnesota’s Ken Martin, of undermining the DNC by not keeping other state party officials “in the loop,” prompting withering criticism of Perez from state party leaders.

In other words, Democrats who often argue in favor of one-size-fits-all top-down strategies for the American people, aren’t too keen on those ideas when they are applied to them.

As Thompson notes, the timing on this couldn’t be worse:

The backlash threatens to splinter the state parties and the national committee — technically separate entities — just as Democratic contenders are preparing to launch presidential campaigns…

The fight is likely to deepen the intraparty gridlock on how best to prepare a data operation for the eventual 2020 nominee — a goal both sides share but over which they are in deep disagreement on the means.

Even the Democrat cheerleaders at CNN are calling out Perez.

Jeffrey Cimmino reports at the Washington Free Beacon:

CNN: Perez Has Gone ‘Bananas,’ Is Threatening State-Level Democrats

CNN anchor Brianna Keilar said Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez went “bananas” in his effort to build a voter database using data from state-level Democrats.

“The DNC chair, Tom Perez, wants voter data, right, from Democrats in the states. He’s trying to build this big, for-profit database. This is a big deal that he’s trying to do this, but he kind of went pretty bananas on these state Democrats, threatening to cut them off from using DNC resources that are basically just from the DNC that they lend out, like organizing tools, campaign tech tools, tools that actually in the hands of state democrats would favor the party nationally,” Keilar said. “What do you make of this?” she asked Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager.

“Well it’s really complex,” Mook responded. “The data arrangement in our party is a little bit more complicated than for the Republicans.”

See the video below:

Jazz Shaw of Hot Air has an excellent analysis of what’s really going on here:

This dustup may appear strange on the surface, but it’s actually part of a trend that’s been taking shape for a number of years. Political analysts often credit Barack Obama’s campaign success to the extensive data handling operation they put together. Obama’s team rolled up data on voters and donors from all across the nation to maximize their fundraising and get out the vote efforts and it paid off in a big way.

Perez appears to be trying to continue that success at the national level by harvesting all possible data from the state parties and using it to channel resources toward the party’s 2020 candidates. The problem is that at least some of the state parties see this arrangement as something of a one-way street, with not enough help coming back to the local teams.

As usual, money and control are at the root of this. The grassroots voters in the Democratic party never fully embraced or trusted Tom Perez. Now he is handing them proof that they were right about him.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.