Election 2020

Perez: Dems Must 'Lead with Our Values' to Win Back Working Class

Labor Secretary Tom Perez speaks at a news conference at the Treasury Department in Washington on June 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

The newly elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee told CNN this morning says he intends to win back working-class voters with a strategy that “will lead with our values” and “lead with our actions.”

“We talk to them about how, literally hours into the Trump administration, he was a fraud. He made it harder for first-time homeowners to buy a home hours into his administration. Days later, he made it harder to save for retirement,” said Tom Perez, former Labor secretary under President Obama.

“He nominates a justice — a judge for the Supreme Court who wants to eviscerate collective bargaining. When we lead with our values as Democrats, and talk about what we’ve done to make sure we’re protecting Social Security, protecting Medicare, growing good jobs in this economy, if you want good jobs, elect a Democrat,” he said. “That’s the message that we have to communicate. It’s a message that is true. It resonates in every ZIP code. And that’s what we’re going to be doing all over this nation, leading with our values, leading with the facts.”

“And the facts are, Democrats grow the middle class, Democrats protect economic security. And we need to do a better job of communicating that message everywhere.”

Perez said the reason for all of the protests since Jan. 20 is people telling President Trump “you don’t stand for our values.”

“We have to make sure that we’re out there everywhere talking about how we’re the party of good job creation, we’re the party of middle-class security, we’re the party of inclusion,” he added. “We believe our diversity is our greatest strength.”

The DNC chairman touted Saturday’s special election in Delaware, where Democrat Stephanie Hansen won by a wide margin to enable her party to keep the majority in the state senate.

“The DNC, grassroots activists came in to help elect Stephanie Hansen by a whopping 16 percent,” he said. “This is the definition of the DNC and the Democratic Party coming together to make sure we help elect candidates from the statehouse to the senate to the school board.”

Trump tweeted after Saturday’s vote, “Congratulations to Thomas Perez, who has just been named Chairman of the DNC. I could not be happier for him, or for the Republican Party!”

“The race for DNC Chairman was, of course, totally ‘rigged.’ Bernie’s guy, like Bernie himself, never had a chance. Clinton demanded Perez!” he added.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) backed Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), as did many of his congressional colleagues.

Perez said he and Ellison “got a good kick out of that, Donald Trump up again in the morning tweeting about us.”

“You know, our unity as a party is our greatest strength. And it’s his worst nightmare. And, frankly, what we need to be looking at is whether this election was rigged by Donald Trump and his buddy Vladimir Putin,” he added. “And I’ll tell you, having Jeff Sessions oversee such an investigation, it’s really unfair to any foxes across America to say that would be the fox guarding the henhouse.”

Sanders told CNN that Perez “has a real opportunity in his hands” to “understand that, in fact, the way the Democratic Party has been run for decades has not worked.”

“The idea that Trump thinks that the Republican Party is going to be the party of working people, when he has appointed people to his administration who want to cut Social Security, want to cut Medicare, want to cut Medicaid, or who want to provide a budget which will give huge tax breaks to billionaires like Trump, and then cut back on education and health care for the American people, if that’s a party that stands for working people, God help us all,” he said. “…He has appointed people who are going to decimate the needs of the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor.”

The senator said Trump “doesn’t have a point” in his tweets alleging a rigged DNC vote. “That’s what the system is. And one of the things that Tom is going have to change is to figure out how we elect national Democratic leaders. I’m not quite impressed with the process that now exists.”