After a grueling, trash-talking 2016 election, the new leader of the Democratic National Committee hasn’t exactly taken great pains to raise the level of political discourse in America.
Tom Perez’s latest attack on Republicans is: they “don’t give a sh-t” about voters.
The DNC chairman unloaded on the GOP at a rally on Monday in Maine, after leveling the same attack weeks earlier in New Jersey. Analysts say it’s part of a strategy to rev up the Democratic base. But, after then-candidate Donald Trump was slammed last year for casting off civility in politics – with profanity-laced speeches and an insult-driven debate style – Perez’s rhetoric could be taking his party down the same path in spite of calls for a more unifying message after their 2016 drubbing.
“Republican leaders and President Trump don’t give a sh-t about the people they were trying to hurt,” Perez, an Obama administration labor secretary, said Monday in Maine about the GOP’s plan to replace ObamaCare, known formally as the Affordable Care Act.
Though Perez was blasted for similar comments in New Jersey, he and fellow Democrats have apparently turned the blistering talking point into a populist battle cry.
The Democratic Party’s official store is selling a “Democrats Give a Sh-t about People” T-shirt, for $30 apiece.
“I totally get what Perez is doing,” Jennifer Victor, a politics professor at Virginia’s George Mason University, said Wednesday. “His job is to energize the base with anger or whatever else it might take because Democrats are the down-and-out party. And he’s not facing the strategic dilemma of, say, a senator who might compromise every once in a while. But it’s definitely not civil.”
During the hard-fought DNC leadership race, Perez was cast as the more moderate choice, in a contest against Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.
Rob Carter, a member of the Maryland Republican Party, said electing the former local Maryland official to lead the beleaguered DNC still marked a “seismic shift to the left” that ignored Democrats’ pleas to appeal more to middle America.
“Talk about not understanding your voters, the selection of Tom Perez was ironic at best,” he said.