tv Newsmakers Tom Perez DNC CSPAN March 4, 2018 6:00pm-6:30pm EST
by education secretary betsy devos. to aipaced toa -- for speeches from vice president pence and ambassador nikki haley. c-span, newsmakers is next with democratic national committee chair tom perez. that is followed by a special election debate between the candidates running in pennsylvania's 18th congressional district. steve forbes is among the group of business leaders who talks about current events and other issues at a recent libertarian conference. greta: this week on newsmakers, the chair of the democratic national committee, tom perez. thank you very much for being here. mr. perez: thank you. hollm we also have james an and susan page. susan: thank you. mr. perez: great to be with all of you. susan: there was this remarkable meeting with the president,
and bipartisan group of people talking about gun control. the president embraced the democratic proposals democratic-backed proposal when , it comes to gun control. i wonder should democrats seize this opportunity, make a deal with the president, or do you have doubts about whether you can trust him to follow through on these things he says at that meeting? tom: this is like charlie brown and the football. you put the football and lucy pulls it out. we saw this with the dreamers. leadinghis remarkably with senator durbin he said he wanted to help the dreamers. we see this with gun issues. we see it with this off-the-cuff statement about trade enforcement. he is just not reliable. that is the problem we have here. it's a problem for the american people, problem for the american workers. he tells the carrier plant he will save those outs and those jobs are gone. he told dreamers i will pass the clean dream act. common sense gun violence
reduction measures and the second commitment cannot coexist. -- second amendment cannot coexist. i just don't have much faith in him. he met with the an that same day. you saw him backtracking within hours. susan: i wonder if you have any concerns as an american about that kind of chaos we saw this week at the white house, including the announcement thursday on tariffs which took even white house staffers by surprise. are you concerned we are seeing something quite serious happening at the white house? mr. perez: i think is the most dangerous president in american history. he's not trustworthy. that is a really significant problem when you're president is in trustworthy. our allies don't know which america they're going to be dealing with. when you see so many examples, whether it's dreamers, the russian intrusion in our elections -- his biggest integrity issue is russia, yet
he still hasn't instructed anybody to do something about it. this has national security implications. this has economic implications. if an application of moral -- abdication of moral leadership. you look at the number of people who have had to leave. sex scandals, the culture of corruption. this is dangerous stuff. our image around the world has taken an absolute beating as a result of this. james: one of the reasons you mention, it's looking like it's going to be a good year for democrats. the president's historically unpopular. you unveiled a plan to contact 50 million voters in 2018, very ambitious. fundraising has been hard despite the energy and enthusiasm at the grassroots level. $41 million in cash on hand, $70
-- the dnc has $7 million. are the democrats going to have enough money? mr. perez: very confident we will continue to win. we won one of the special elections this last week in new hampshire, and before that florida kentucky, missouri, , and elsewhere. on the fundraising front, we raised $67 million last year 2015, 2013,re than 2007, 2005. in 2005, the republicans outraised us to do one. -- two ton one. republicans outraged, it's a downsized man's story. two thirds of donors were small dollar donors. the average on my donation was $21. the most important thing for me and the reason i have so much confidence moving forward is that while the republicans raised more money than the democrats, undeniably -- they
have a transactional party. they are morally bankrupt. they are spending that money to help roy moore get elected in alabama. they are excited about joe arpaio, a sheriff in arizona. a lawless sheriff. they are spending a lot of money defending or paying donald trump's legal bills. the moral bankruptcy other public and party. the party of lincoln's dead. in the democratic party, we are winning because we're fighting for the issues people care about. good jobs, health care, retirement security. james: because we are with c-span, a lot of people care about these races follow this stuff closely. we are starting to get into primary season now. in pennsylvania there is the special election in western pennsylvania where democrats used to win a lot. trump won this district. you mentioned sex scandals. the republican congressman resigned because of a sex scandal.
democrats have spent 10 times more money than -- republicans have spent 10 times or money the democrats. there's some criticism from the left of it not enough resources being spent there. an example of something weather is a lot of grassroots enthusiasm and maybe the resources might make a difference. obviously, you have to conserve somewhat. how do you make those decisions? are you confident there will be enough resources to win that special election. mr. perez: district 18 with conor lamb. donald trump one. by 18-20 points in 2016. connor is running a good campaign. we were proud to help in that race and to have helped raise money for him and other things. i think enough of that is a real -- and upset is a real possibility. i will tell you why. he's fighting for the issues people care about. there is a lot of union members out there. i've been in the neck of the woods.
there were a lot of union voters who voted for donald trump. they voted for him because he promised change. what they are seeing is the change their getting is not change that's improving their lives. when you put the affordable care act -- that's on improving the lives. when you nominate and confirm a supreme court justice poised to take away the rights to organize union members get that. ,when you talk tough about trade but now the trade deficit with china has increased and you see the buildings donald trump built with chinese deal -- chinese steel, union members get that. he is talking about good jobs and a brighter future. i think he has a chance. you look at everywhere where we have been winning, and the common denominator is these issues or areas has been they were trumped districts that we have been able to win in. we have been able to win. we can win everywhere. that's the lesson i learned in
2017. whether it's oklahoma last year or pennsylvania this year. susan: let's talk about texas the first real primary severe , -- of the year our next in tuesday texas. a firestorm from a decision by the democratic campaign for research on one of the progressive candidates. two things. was it the right thing for them to do, and does this signal some tension between progressives in your party who have a lot of energy and other less liberal element to the party that may be concerned about how the parties moving too far left? mr. perez: we have been able to win elections -- susan: was that the right thing for the dccc to do? mr. perez: i wouldn't have done it, because i think when we talk about the issues, when we do what we did in virginia, they talked about the issues at the
end of the day ralph northam won the race. we came out of their very strong. i would have done it differently. ability toc has the endorse in the primaries and they do that from time to time. again i would have done it , differently. as we move forward what i'm seeing everywhere is -- including places where there are spirited primaries, democrats like we did in virginia at the end of that. it increased turnout put wind in our back for the general elections. we are going to keep fighting. again, i feel we have some real opportunities in statehouses. some real opportunities in governors. i've been traveling across the country, oklahoma recently. there is a great candidate for governor there. south dakota, they have the best candidate i think it probably 40
years. james: in a place like south dakota or oklahoma progressives can win but sometimes -- joe manchin from west virginia is not as liberal as a lot of other senators. my bigger picture question is republicans lost a lot of winnable races in 2010-2012 because of extreme candidates. they could have won. mr. perez: there is a long list. james: republicans would've had the majority. they could have won a senate majority in 2012 if they had not nominated an unelectable candidate. in mitch mcconnell, republicans 2014, at nbc got aggressive rnc got aggressive about deals, people, rubbing aggressors the wrong way on their side. in general, the party controlling the white house, you
are the leader of the democratic party. what role do you seek to make sure democrats don't nominate christine of a o'donnell in a state like south dakota or oklahoma? mr. perez: i don't believe we should be annoying candidates. the people of texas should make the decisions in taxes. the people of virginia last year, i think what worked best was everybody he went to the polls felt like they had a fair shake and a candidate had a fair shake. that's a me is the most important thing. when you look at what we are doing is democrats and's 2017, one of the keys to our success has been that the candidates have been fielded have been spectacular. i spoke personally almost all the candidates here. i wanted to tell them the new dnc is about helping elect democrats to the school board to the oval office and we did help them. they were incredibly qualified. in oklahoma, i met new members
who are democrats of the state legislature and the state senate. spectacular candidates talking about important issues in oklahoma, which in oklahoma is public education. kids are going to school four days a week in public schools because the republicans have pushed -- the budget to the bone. actually through the bone. what gives the optimism about 2018 is that we are fielding really good candidates and the candidates who are winning are winning in the aftermath of very fair, open, safe primaries, -- spirited primaries where there is a lot of high road debate going on. our unity is our greatest that is the key to success. strength of the party. susan: i wonder if it entire about what happened in california to a democratic icon, senator dianne feinstein. elected five times to the senate
from california but failed to win the endorsement of the california democratic party because her challenger argued the time and come for a new generation of leadership. he also argued she was too likely to compromise on positions important to progressives. mr. perez: i think it's a 60% threshold to get the nomination in california. this isn't the first time this has happened during their convention. when i read stories that this was unprecedented, it's not. the one thing i've learned when i talk about unity is we have to be careful not to confuse unity with unanimity. unity doesn't mean we have to agree on all the issues are and in california they are having a very robust debate about health care and how do we -- we all believe as democrats that health care is a right for all and not a privilege for a few. thanks to president obama, we are 90% of the way there.
we are having a spirited debate in california and elsewhere about how to get that last 10%. that is a source of debate within the party. did senator feinstein or her allies reach out to you to get help to get over the finish line so she wouldn't face this situation which is not catastrophic but a little embarrassing for a senator with her longevity? mr. perez: i did not speak to senator feinstein before the convention last week. i can't say i was surprised. if you look up and down the ticket, i don't think -- i'm not sure anybody get up to 50%. i think there is one candidate who may have gotten to 60%. in california, there's a spirited debate within the democratic party about where we should go on important issues. what to me is most important is that the end of the day and you have seen this in california and
elsewhere, people have understood our number one goal and our number one and paradis goal is to take back our democracy. -- imperative goal is to take the our democracy. make sure this most dangerous president in american history is someone we are confronting and putting our values forward very clearly. james: in illinois there is another primary and spirited debate coming up the week after next. dan lipinski, democratic congressman from chicago board of -- vote for a 20 week abortion ban. he's a democrat. you are neutral in that race. is there a place for someone like dan lipinski in the emocratic party? someone who has not supported choice consistently? mr. perez: there are a lot of democrats who have a different view on that.
i want joe manchin to get reelected and we are awake -- making -- working hard to make sure that happens. i think the democratic party has that place. at the same time, i'm on her best product that platform. our platform clearly said a woman's right to choose is not sadly matter of roe v. wade. it's also a matter of women's economic empowerment. believe in that platform. at the same time, i also want to make sure joe manchin gets reelected. james: but not dan lipinski question mark -- dan lipinski? mr. perez: when you have a primary like that, we've learned of the d&c that when you are in perception time to put the thumb on the scale in the primary, that can undermine public confidence. that's why we've been neutral. james: let's talk about that. susan: every question james asked was about financial difficulties you had.
the rnc out received by two to one. does some of that reflect continuing ones in the primaries, the presidential primaries last time around and the feeling by the bernie sanders forces that the dnc did have their thumb on the scale? mr. perez: when i got to the dnc we had a ton of work to do. it was a ton of work. we were like a shell of our former selves. it was year ago to the day, february 26 when the election was. notwithstanding those challenges, and 2017 we were able to raise $67 million. in 2015 and 2013 we had the white house. what i was most proud of it was two thirds of our money was in small dollar donors. one of the folks we hired who is fundraising ise some of you work for senator sanders. senator sanders did a spectacular job of getting small dollar fundraising. i'm excited we were able -- we
had four people in our finance shop. we were supposed to have when i 30 got there. it took until august to really staff up to its entirety. even with that, we were able to do that. the republicans always outraised -- outraise us. when you look at what they talk about, they were able to out raise the democrats in the money. they can't talk about the issues because they supported roy moore. they want to support joe arpaio. they have to pay a lot of legal bills. they have a sock in their mouth on the issue of sexual harassment. they have a sock in their mouth on these issues of the russians. as a result the moral bankruptcy of the republican party to me is the big story. we have been able to lead with our values and that is how we are winning. we are talking about key issues on people's minds. good jobs retirement security, , access to health care. good public education. susan: point-blank, how much money do you have on hand?
perez: we raised more money 2018 than any other january in our history. if the question is do we have a , money to implement the game plan? absolutely. greta: that's one we think is -- susan: the latest fcc report, $6.5 million. a debt of $6.2 million are you basically broke? mr. perez: no. i think we will win an election. we invested $1 million in alabama. we have made more investments to strengthen state parties in the last year than any time in the last 20 years. and i'm proud of that. that's how we are helping to win elections. organizingents in help get boots on the ground in oklahoma. our investments in organizing in ohio helped get signatures on a
ballot initiative that force republicans to come to the table -- compromise on a new way electoral commission to build fair maps. we keep winning elections, and we keep investing. that's the most important outcome, is winning and making those investments in long-term organizing. in making sure we have the technology tool to compete because the republicans beat us at our own game. they invested in organizing. they built a technology infrastructure that was undeniably impressive. that is the catch up we are playing right now. i am proud of the help we have been able to provide. james: you mentioned someone from the sanders campaign is helping you out in your reorganization efforts. what to supporters of bernie sanders who are worried the scale was tempted into back in a
fair shake, how is 2020 going to be different? what you doing to make sure the playing field is level next time? what can you tell them about things that are going to change question mark mr. perez: the commission met in 2017 for your viewers. -- for your viewers, the union commission, there were people from the sanders campaign, the clinton campaign. folks that i put on the commission. the goal is to figure out what are some recommendations that can help ensure that the process is a much everyone that we are making it easier for people to vote, and that people have confidence in the democratic party. that's what it was about. there were some great recommendations that i am braced. as we speak right now, the dnc is actively attempting to operationalize those recommendations. recommendations such as making primaries -- making caucuses more open.
too many times you have to win the lottery to vote in the caucus. that's not fair. they will end up being less caucuses as a result of some of the recommendations of the commission. also reducing the number of superdelegates. i think the most important thing we need to do are two things are 2020. number we've got to make sure one, process is fair in fact and fair in perception. not everyone feels like they got a fair shake. equally importantly, whenever we get to the nominee in 2020, that person is handed a technology infrastructure and in organizing infrastructure that will enable them to hit the ground running. those are the two principal tasks moving in 2020. greta: we have a few minutes left. susan: before 2020 we have 2018. in a poll put out in this week's paper we found that americans
two to one wanted to elect congress in november that will stand up to president trump, not one that would mostly cooperate. what are the odds do you think that democrats will win control of the house of representatives in these midterms? mr. perez: i think we can win th both the house and the senate. you never have a wanted was a guarantee, but we do have -- the reason we have the wind in our back is we are fighting for the issues people care about. people want a president who is honest, who levels with them. people want a president who brings people together and doesn't divide. people want a president fighting for good jobs and health care. this president has done the opposite at every single turn. people are embarrassed by this president. we had promises made. the workers in indiana at the carrier plant, i will save your jobs here at than those jobs
wisconsin, the kimberly-clark employees, 600 of them losing their jobs after he got this massive tax break. what do they do with it? stock buybacks and job losses. i think we can win both the house and senate because we are fielding good candidates and meeting with our values. usb to put odds on it. i will leave that to las vegas automakers. i feel good about our chances. not only in the house and senate, but up and down the ticket. susan: before i get james the less question, one follow-up. if democrats win control of the house, now it's a realistic -- there are some democrats in the house already talking about impeachment proceedings. nancy pelosi has tried to tampa down that talk. but if democrats win control of the house, would there be a push to pursue impeachment proceedings against the president? mr. perez: i think when we have
a successful november, i'm confident the first thing we're going to be doing is fighting for better wages for workers, fighting to make sure were protecting health care. fighting to make sure we have a tax system that is fair because this tax giveaway for wealthy people and corporations is coming at the expense of our children's future. i think those will be the areas you see the congress focus on, making sure we passed the clean dream act for dreamers. making sure we take on the issue of common sense gun violence protection issues. i think those are the issues you will see democrats focusing on because those are the issues that make sure we are meeting with our values and building an america where everyone feels like they are getting ahead. greta: one last quick question. .ames: economic issues win it is easy to get distracted by
the commotion in washington. there's a legitimate investigation into russian interference. the dnc was hacked. should democrats also be talking about russia and the threat that poses to our democracy? how do you that without making that without overshadowing the argument you're trying to -- mr. perez: i do talk about it because most serious threat to our electoral integrity is not these made up voter fraud allegations. the most serious threat is russian interference. when no the are going to do it again because they were successful in 2016. they tried it in virginia to get involved in that campaign. they will continue to try. that is why we need to talk about this. the president's actions in this, and the people around him, the culture of corruption, imagine if we had a president, hillary clinton. -- a president hillary clinton.
and so many of the people around her and then indicted or had to resign under scandalous circumstances. hearings.50 benghazi that is all they would be doing. this russia interference issue is very serious. the involvement at the highest ,evels of this administration the wagons keeps circling around this because it's pretty clear. this president continues to be putin's poodle. i can't understand why he wants to be a lapdog of putin unless putin has something on him. that's the only thing i can think of as a reasonable expiration for why this president, mr. tough negotiator -- mr. tough guy negotiator has tin's poodle. greta: i'm sure we could report,
but we have to leave it there. thank you very much. >> monday on c-span's landmark cases, we explore the civil rights cases of 1883. the supreme court decision that struck down the civil rights act federal law that granted all people access to public accommodations like trains and theaters regardless of race. justice john marshall harlan, the great dissenter cast the lone vote in opposition in his dissent eventually eclipsed the legacy of the majority opinion. explore this case with danielle holli walker, dean of howard university's law school. an attorney and member of the u.s. commission on civil rights. watch landmark cases live monday at 9:00 eastern on c-span, c-span.org, or listen with the free c-span radio app. for background of each case will you watch, order your copy of
the landmark cases companion book. is available for $8.95 plus shipping and handling at c-span.org/landmarkcases. for additional resources there is a link to the national constitution center's interactive announcer: a look at the house race in pennsylvania congressional district between e andlican rick saccon democrat mr. lamb. courtesy of wtae in pittsburgh, this is just under one hour. a local race on the national stage. >> drawn national attention. announcer: a special election for the