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Rep. Keith Ellison endorses Hillary Clinton

REUTERS/Eric Miller
Ellison endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign in October 2015. Now, a day after Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton, Ellison is doing the same.

The first Minnesota member of Congress to feel the Bern is, as of today, with her: On Wednesday, Rep. Keith Ellison officially endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

The Minneapolis Democrat, who endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign in October 2015, explained his decision to MinnPost.

“I’ve always admired Hillary Clinton, always thought she was good,” Ellison said. “I think she’s a dedicated public servant, and done a lot for our country.”

“Her roots are progressive,” he added, citing Clinton’s past advocacy for children’s health care and women’s rights. “There’s a lot of things she’s done that make her a legit progressive candidate. I believe she’s demonstrated the capacity to listen to the grassroots.”

Ellison’s announcement comes a day after Sanders appeared with Clinton in New Hampshire and endorsed her, officially bringing to a close a Democratic primary process that was much lengthier, and much more contentious, than many had expected.

Count Ellison in that group: He’s often expressed happy surprise that Sanders, the 74-year-old socialist from Vermont, made it as far as he did. Ellison sees it as a vindication of progressive politics, the makings of the political revolution that Sanders often invoked on the campaign trail. He also took longer than other top Sanders-backers did in officially endorsing Clinton.

Ellison said, “I’m disappointed, because I worked hard for my candidate, and believed in my candidate. … I always thought the Bernie campaign was a little bit of a long shot, but I am one of those people who believes in betting on a long shot.”

As attention now shifts to a general election showdown between Clinton and Donald Trump, some die-hard Sanders supporters say they are as repelled by Clinton as they are by Trump, with some promising to either vote for Trump, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, or even write in Sanders’ name.

Ellison said he plans to be making the case to progressives that “no true Bernie supporter could vote for Trump. … This guy is talking about change, yeah — for the worse.”

He said he spoke to Clinton and congratulated her. “I told her I was here to help, and I think my first job is to help progressive activists and Bernie supporters understand that we don’t lose by supporting Hillary Clinton.”

“She’s tough as hell. On Benghazi alone, they poured $7 million into pushing down her numbers,” Ellison said, referencing the Republican investigation into the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya that left four Americans dead. “They asked her anything and she never broke.”

“We’re going to be well served by President Clinton. Hillary Clinton.”

Nevertheless, Ellison did not say whom he plans to cast his superdelegate vote for at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. He did suggest he would not vote for Sanders for symbolic reasons, saying the senator’s convention speech would be the time to recognize his success.

Eighth District Rep. Rick Nolan, who endorsed Sanders, has not yet endorsed Clinton. Rep. Collin Peterson has said he plans to cast his superdelegate vote for Sanders, in accordance with how his 7th District voted.

Also on Wednesday, the Clinton campaign trotted out a list of 11 formerly Sanders-backing Minnesota politicians who now endorse Clinton: state Sens. Scott Dibble and Patricia Torres Ray, state Reps. Susan Allen, Karen Clark, Raymond Dehn, Frank Hornstein, Sheldon Johnson, and Carlos Mariani, former state Sen. Becky Lourey, St. Paul City Councilmember Dai Thao, and Minneapolis City Councilmember Lisa Bender.

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 07/13/2016 - 08:03 pm.

    What else could he do?

    No real choice in the matter – for him, anyway.

  2. Submitted by joe smith on 07/13/2016 - 09:35 pm.

    Where to go when the socialist is out?

    Has to be hard to go from a Democratic Socialist (never really understood the difference between a Democratic Socialist and a regular old fashion Socialist) to Hillary. It will be interesting how many Bernie supporters stay home or vote for Trump…… It doesn’t seem too many of his supporters are moved by HRC.

    • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 07/14/2016 - 12:53 pm.

      The chief characteristic of those who have supported Sanders

      Is their capacity to step outside of the Establishment frame to form an independent economic, social and political critique. This is an indicator that they are generally thoughtful and well-informed, and therefore that they are capable of sound judgment as to the post-Sanders choice that is faced.

      Some Sanders supporters will consider carefully the argument that Trump rather than Clinton, in its reorienting disruptiveness, would serve society better in the long run and conclude that it would (it is a legitimate question). For a few, their passion has overtaken their hard-headed critical faculties and they will withhold their vote for Clinton without a soundly articulated rationale. The establishment media focus on and therefore exaggerate this element, but I think they are a very small percentage of Sanders supporters.

      The question that you raise, however, I think is true for the younger cohort of Sanders supporters. This, of course, is the lowest-voting cohort because it has come of age at a time when Establishment politics has reached its most jaded and most effective at depressing civic engagement. To them, Sanders was the possibility of a post-Establishment democratic (small-d) politics. For those to the left, one of the strongest arguments for Sanders was that he would engage (hopefully for the long term) this heretofore-unengaged cohort. Many of this cohort may see no reason to show up to vote for Clinton.

      There is no disconnect between profoundly preferring Sanders to Clinton, and preferring Clinton to Trump. I expect that the vast proportion of older Sanders supporters are like me: I am not “moved by” Clinton, and indeed have grave forebodings about what her four or eight years would bring, but still I have no doubt that I will vote, and that I will vote for her.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 07/14/2016 - 08:52 pm.

      That’s the trouble

      Joe says he “never really understood the difference between a Democratic Socialist and a regular old fashion Socialist.”

      That’s the trouble with the modern conservative. They criticize things they don’t understand. Let’s try again.

      Socialism: government controls the means of production.
      Democratic socialism: government guarantees a public safety net / standard of living.

      It’s not that complicated.

  3. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 07/14/2016 - 04:12 pm.

    There are only two words

    that you need to consider when deciding whom to vote for: Supreme Court

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