New Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez addressed several gatherings of party faithful in Seattle Tuesday as the party works to capitalize on outrage over President Donald Trump.
The next target is to take back the U.S. House and Senate in 2018.
“Donald Trump, you don’t stand for our values, we are indeed an American of inclusion, an America of opportunity,” Perez told a packed house of Democrats at the ballroom of Seattle’s Westin Hotel at noon.
The event was to launch the reelection campaign for King County Executive Dow Constantine. Perez was also scheduled for a private event at El Centro de la Raza in Seattle later that evening.
Constantine, who repeated similar charges against Trump, recalled his middle class upbringing by school teacher parents and says the poorest in the region need help, as they’re not standing still but moving backwards.
He held King County up as a Democratic example for the rest of the country. King County went heavily for Democratic presidential nominee Hilary Clinton.
Constantine almost upstaged himself when he brought a surprise guest up to the stage, former president Jimmy Carter, who says he was in town meeting with the Gates Foundation. Carter also hammered Trump.
But it’s Perez who’s now tasked with leading his party into the future after the Democrats lost not only the presidency, but remain out of power in both the U.S. Senate and House.
“We really haven’t made enough house calls in recent years as a Democratic party,” Perez, who most recently held the job of Labor Secretary under President Barack Obama, told reporters after his address to the group.
In his speech, Perez noted that 900 legislatives seats have been lost by Democrats to Republicans in state houses across the country in recent years. While Washington went for Clinton, the state Senate is in Republican hands, something Perez vows he will help change.
“It’s an every county strategy, and it’s an every zip code strategy,” said Perez. “We’re out there organizing in ways, frankly, that we didn’t do enough of, and we’re putting our values and our message into action.”
But while Democrats talk about all the reasons to resist Trump, over GOP efforts to dismantle Obamacare and environmental protection, come election time in 2018 and beyond, will Democrats give the electorate reasons to vote for the party’s candidates at all levels?
“I think when hope and optimism and opportunity are on the ballot,” said Perez, “Democrats do well.”