News Release

How to Unrig the Democratic Party


Karen Bernal — the chair of one of the largest caucuses of the California Democratic Party, the Progressive Caucus — sent a letter Thursday night to Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, a few hours after Bernal and colleagues met with Perez’s Senior Adviser Will Hailer at DNC headquarters in Washington for 90 minutes Thursday afternoon.

The “Democracy and the Party” section of the just-released Autopsy and the full report provide context for the current uproar over Donna Brazile’s new account of the Clinton campaign “rigging” the primary, “internal corruption” and “unethical” finances at the DNC.

PBS reports: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren says 2016 Democratic primary was rigged.”

KAREN BERNAL,  nekochan99 at hotmail.com, @karenbernal5
Bernal chairs the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party. She wrote the section on social movements in the Autopsy report and co-wrote the section on the future of the Democratic Party.

NORMAN SOLOMON,  solomonprogressive at gmail.com, @Roots_Action
    Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and former national coordinator of the Bernie Delegates Network. He participated in the meeting at the DNC Thursday. Solomon wrote the war section of the Autopsy report and co-wrote the “The Future” section with Bernal. Solomon is also the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. Research for the Autopsy report was funded by Action for a Progressive Future, the organization that sponsors RootsAction, which currently has 1.3 million active supporters online nationwide.

Following is the letter to the DNC, PDF here:

Tom Perez
Chair, Democratic National Committee
430 South Capitol Street SE
Washington, DC 20003

Dear Chairman Perez:

My colleagues and I were pleased to meet with Will Hailer and others on the DNC staff today. Given the urgency of strengthening our party’s efforts for the midterm elections, I am submitting the following questions and respectfully request that you send along responses to the questions by Thanksgiving.

1) What are the DNC’s plans to further accelerate its gear-up of staffing to fight against the multi-front assaults on voting rights that include voter ID laws, purges of voter rolls and intimidation tactics?

2) How can we assure fellow Democrats that the DNC has committed itself to scrupulously adhering to its Charter’s requirement to be evenhanded in the presidential nominating process?

3) What is the status of decision-making as to the voting power of superdelegates at the 2020 Democratic National Convention?

4) In an article published on Nov. 1, 2017 by The Progressive, journalist Christopher D. Cook wrote: “My repeated calls to the Democratic National Committee for comment on the [Autopsy] report went unanswered. When messages left on the main line went unanswered, I called the donations and member services line, where I was sure to get a live person. Stunningly, that office claimed it had no phone number it could give me for press or communications.” Why would a journalist encounter such problems in reaching the DNC?

5) In a recent article published by The Nation (“The Obsession With White Voters Could Cost Democrats the Virginia Governor’s Race,” Oct. 23), Democracy in Color founder Steve Phillips described a disturbing continuation of spending priorities that lavish enormous amounts of funds on ostensibly persuadable voters who normally vote Republican — while relatively neglecting people of color even though they comprise an essential portion of our party’s base. How do you explain such priorities and do you intend to help change them?

6) On May 28, 2017 (NBC News, “Open Letter to DNC Chair: ‘There’s Too Much at Stake to Ignore Black Women’”), thirty-one eminent African-American women, including seven members of Congress, wrote to you about serious concerns: “The Democratic Party has a real problem. The data reveals that Black women voters are the very foundation to a winning coalition, yet most Black voters feel like the Democrats take them for granted. The Party’s foundation has a growing crack and if it is not addressed quickly, the Party will fall even further behind and ultimately fail in its quest to strengthen its political prospects.” In the five months since then, what has the DNC done to address the concerns expressed in that letter, and what are your plans for the near future in that regard?

Thank you very much. I look forward to hearing from you.

With best wishes,
Karen Bernal
Chair, Progressive Caucus
California Democratic Party