Former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez recently took the helm as chair of the Democratic National Committee, and while new party leadership often leads to major staffing changes, this time, things are different.
Perez wants to clean the slate completely.
The chairman asked for the resignation of all committee staffers in an attempt to completely overhaul the organization. The DNC had been plagued by issues leading up to the 2016 presidential election, including those which suggested collusion between the previous chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and the Clinton campaign.
This information, found in leaked DNC emails, served to fracture the Democratic Party by alienating supporters of Bernie Sanders. Those supporters form a large part of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, and they have seen a recent surge in in support both in state-level delegate elections, as well as the popularity of their de facto leader, Senator Sanders himself.
Perez’s move of trying to start fresh in the DNC is likely an attempt to reach out to the progressives, most of whom backed Rep. Keith Ellison in the race for party chair. Progressives had been upset about the lack of left-leaning members of the DNC transition team, a concern that was remedied by adding more progressives to the team.
After the Democrats’ defeat in November, and following the resignation of the previous chairwoman on the heels of the leaked emails, the pressure is on the DNC to both reunite the party and to move forward in a direction that can make up ground in the 2018 elections.
Asking for resignation letters from staffers does not mean that they will all be let go, but it does give Perez the opportunity to completely overhaul the committee if he chooses.