Few people understand the fine art of failing upward — but members of the Democratic Party seem to have it down to a science.
Yet another prominent Democrat left dead in the water by the 2020 presidential election has reportedly managed to catapult himself into contention for a major promotion.
According to Edward-Isaac Dovere at The Atlantic, “the pieces are coming together” for perpetual left-wing lobbyist and political operative Jaime Harrison to assume the role of Democratic National Committee chairman in the new year.
Harrison lost a high-profile legislative race to Republican Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham last week in South Carolina, leaving full congressional reclamation out of reach for a Democratic caucus desperate to control the political process in Washington after four years of conservative leadership and split government.
For numerous pundits and party leaders, however, inconvenient defeat was apparently not the defining characteristic of Harrison’s campaign but its proven capability to connect with donors was, pulling down roughly $100 million in contributions from across the country.
Sitting party Chairman Tom Perez was a similarly strong earner, lifting the DNC out of debt, establishing a stronger national campaign infrastructure and boosting employee morale in light of the unexpected — and downright embarrassing — defeat handed to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
With intra-party morale and cooperation back in a precarious position following another round of unexpected congressional losses and a messy 2020 Democratic presidential primary, Perez will not be running to retain his position.
The DNC will, as a result, be on the lookout for yet another big earner to take up the mantle come February 2021. And several key players are stepping into Harrison’s corner.
NEW from me: the pieces are coming together quickly for @harrisonjaime to be the new DNC chair, including @WhipClyburn who says “all of Biden’s friends know what I feel about it.”https://t.co/0WzlFyTpOm
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) November 12, 2020
“The timing just seems right, frankly,” said Trav Robertson, Harrison’s successor at the helm of the South Carolina DNC.
State DNC chair for nearly four years, Harrison previously set his sights on the federal party chair in 2017.
His initial bid failed to gain traction and he eventually dropped out to endorse Perez. But not before securing the support of then-House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn.
A renowned member of the Democratic caucus, Clyburn has been a member of Congress since January 1993, assuming the role of Democratic House Majority Whip twice in the last decade.
Something of a king-maker on Capitol Hill, the 14-term representative has once again decided to back Harrison.
“I think he’s better prepared than he was when I supported him the first time,” Clyburn said.
DNC leadership is technically elected, but tradition has long seen party delegates defer to the choice of sitting presidents with the same party affiliation. Chairs Tim Kaine and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, for instance, were hand-selected by former President Barack Obama.
According to The Atlantic, Clyburn has yet to have the ear of presumptive President-elect Joe Biden with regard to the topic. He has said, however, that “all of Biden’s friends know what I feel about it.”
And honestly, why would on earth would Harrison be deprived of the opportunity at this point?
The man fits every major criterion for a Democratic Party promotion: he recently lost a high-profile federal race and he has a pulse.
Per @Politico, frontrunners for Biden cabinet include:
State: Susan Rice
AG: Doug Jones
HHS: Michelle Lujan Grisham
Transport: Eric Garcetti
Commerce: Meg Whitman
Energy: Ernest Moniz
Interior: Tom Udall
Agriculture: Heidi Heitkamp
VA: Pete Buttigieg https://t.co/SkN9Rsjhyr
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) November 7, 2020
In fact, within the Biden camp, cabinet-level conversation seems to have revolved around Democratic electoral losers since long before the establishment media began calling the race for Biden last week.
A recent report from Politico indicated sources close to the matter are pointing to several such characters as most likely to enter a Biden White House on day one.
Beaten handily by political newcomer Tommy Tuberville in the state of Alabama last week, incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones reportedly leads the pack for U.S. Attorney General, while Secretary of Agriculture seems a lock for Heidi Heikamp, who lost her North Dakota Senate seat in 2018.
Biden is reportedly also considering 2020 Democratic presidential primary dropout Pete Buttigieg for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs — an unsurprising move considering the candidate’s withdrawal just days before Super Tuesday paved the way for a slew of early exits which allowed centrist support to coalesce against progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders.
And let’s not forget the fact that Biden appointed as his second-in-command Sen. Kamala Harris, who put her own primary chances to bed beating the old man over the head with his racist Senate record in a televised debate last summer.
Hardly a winning coalition.
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