In an attempt at unity, Senator Bernie Sanders and newly-selected DNC Chair Tom Perez are set to embark on an eight state tour where they will meet with Democrats and discuss the future of the party.
The two will begin their tour in Maine on April 17 and will travel to eight states before concluding April 22. Sanders and Perez will make stops in Maine, Kentucky, Florida, Nebraska, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Montana.
The optics of this trip are no secret – both Sanders and Perez are eager to show that despite the differences of the campaign, there is still a close relationship between the Democratic party and the popular progressive Senator.
For Perez, the hope is that he can show Sanders supporters that the DNC is open to change, and that unlike the previous leadership, he is eager to include the left wing of the party in every step forward. This is especially important as many progressives vowed to leave the party after Perez was chosen over Bernie-backed Rep. Keith Ellison.
For Sanders, though he was disappointed to see the party turn away from the more progressive candidate once again, he is encouraged by Perez’s more recent actions.
“I’m sorry [Ellison] did not win. But during that campaign, Tom said that the Democratic Party had to be refocused, had to be rebuilt, and I trust that he will keep those promises. The fact that he’s prepared to travel with me around the country and pick up half the cost of this is a positive sign.”
Though skeptics’ concerns are warranted, it is encouraging to see that Perez is so eager to take part in a public display with Sanders in a non-election year. There is a great deal of work to be done in the Democratic party, and a wise DNC chair would know that it cannot be completed successfully without a close relationship with Senator Sanders and the large portion of young, liberal voters that he represents.