The DNC's road from 'on the ropes' to securing a Democrat in the White House
But their fight is still not over as they face Ga. runoffs, slim House majority.
In the early days of Tom Perez's stewardship at the Democratic National Committee, he first met in 2017 with a small cadre of Hillary Clinton campaign staffers, who were fresh off a devastating loss to Donald Trump, to chart a path forward for the party committee that struggled for much of the 2016 cycle.
Among those in the conversations with the new chair and senior leadership at the DNC -- which stretched over the course of the 2020 cycle and included an in-person meeting in October 2019 -- was Robby Mook, Clinton's campaign manager for her 2016 bid, who offered his thoughts on the DNC's most cardinal role within the party. He argued for setting up a campaign-in-waiting, he recalled, to reinforce a nominee's fledgling campaign with data infrastructure to compete with the GOP, more robust field organizing resources for once the primary concludes and more deliberate coordination with state parties.
"The hard part about being a chair is a million people are going to come to you telling you to do a million things," Mook said in an interview on Wednesday. "But at the end of the day, the most important thing that only you can do is to build an infrastructure ... only (Perez) can do that."
Nearly four years later, the DNC is in a far different position than it was in the aftermath of the 2016 election, having successfully buoyed the triumphant campaign of the party's standard-bearer, Joe Biden. Still, Democrats face challenges ahead as they confront a splintered reality that reflects much of the country's deep divisions.
The party is reveling in President-elect Joe Biden's "decisive" victory over Trump, as Perez put it, yet it is also grappling with a series of down-ballot losses, in which Democrats in crucial House and Senate races fell short, leaving Trumpism within the halls of Congress.
"The thing about 2018 is we were able to win in states, in races, that were deep Trump territory," Perez told ABC News on Thursday. "We always knew in 2020 it was going to be tougher to win those races."
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