Ellison’s dilemma: seat, or chair?

REUTERS/Jim Young
Democrats are looking for new energy in their chair to help them move on from a disastrous 2016 election. Many see that energy in Minneapolis’ Rep. Keith Ellison.

Nationally, Rep. Keith Ellison’s bid to chair the Democratic National Committee is drawing headlines because of the Minneapolis congressman’s past — particularly his prior association with the Nation of Islam and his comments on the U.S.-Israel relationship.

But in the 5th Congressional District, people are also focusing on the future: what might happen if their representative in Washington takes on the intense, time-consuming duty of chairing the Democratic Party?

In recent weeks, Ellison has been pushing hard to be chosen as the next chair of the Democratic Party. Does he want that job enough to give up his current job as representative of the 5th District? Should he even have to make that choice?

Two tough jobs

Democrats are pining for an energetic new DNC chair to help them move on from a disastrous 2016 election, which saw Democrats lose the White House and fail to recapture Congress, leaving them shut out of government for the first time since 2006.

It will be an important position: with no Democrat in the White House, the next chair will be the closest thing to a public face that the party has.

There will be intense pressure on him or her to lead the process of overhauling Democrats’ campaign messaging, determining strategy for 2018 and 2020, and strengthening fundraising and organizing capacity.

Being a party chair entails long hours of travel, phone calls, and maintaining relationships with important parts of the party coalition, like labor.

In that sense, it’s not unlike being a member of Congress, and done right, the jobs of party chair and congressman are taxing and time-consuming.

Still, some leaders in the 5th Congressional District — many of whom are Ellison’s allies in this heavily Democratic area —  aren’t sounding concerned that their representative in Washington might be taking on such a big job.

Beyond legislative obligations, U.S. House members also have very local roles, acting as resources for their constituents, and they operate district offices that help them navigate the federal bureaucracy.

Members are also expected to maintain close working relationships with key district leaders, like city council members and state legislators.

R.T. Rybak, a former Minneapolis mayor and current DNC vice-chair, and who currently chairs the Minneapolis Foundation, supports Ellison’s bid, whether he decides to keep his seat or not.

Realistically, Ellison could have less time to work on issues facing the district, Rybak said.

“Obviously it takes a lot of the congressperson’s time,” Rybak said of the DNC post, “but on the other level, it elevates the congressperson’s position. So there’s an upside and a downside to it.”

Though his schedule might be more packed, as party chair, Ellison would have more levers to pull, more contacts to plug, to get something important done in his district if necessary.

Jacob Frey, who represents Ward 3 on the Minneapolis City Council, also supports Ellison, and doesn’t see a new post at the DNC as a roadblock to his work in the district.

Like Rybak, Frey said that Democrats’ marginalized position in the minority in Congress limits how much they can accomplish — and how much work is on their plate.

Ellison has already proven an effective partner in city council work, Frey said, citing his staff’s help in advancing the project to redevelop the huge post office by the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis.

“The federal government can be an opaque and daunting entity, and on several occasions, he’s helped penetrate the enterprise so we’re able to effectively get things done,” Frey said.

In 2015, Ellison’s office completed over 900 claims from constituents asking for help navigating the federal government, an above-average number for a U.S. House member.

Ellison, of course, has his critics in the district. One of them is Jeff Kolb, who serves on the city council of Crystal, a town of 22,000 just to the west of Minneapolis.

Kolb, a Republican, believes Ellison should resign his seat if he wants to be DNC chair, arguing it would be bad for the district to have its representative in such a partisan post.

As a member of a district city council, Kolb is also concerned about Ellison’s ability to fulfill his duties in the district, particularly for a community like Crystal, which Kolb says gets overshadowed by Minneapolis in CD5.

He shared dissatisfaction with Ellison’s effort in CD5, mentioning Crystal officials who received form letters after sending reports of city problems to the office.

“I don’t think he’s doing much more than the bare minimum today,” Kolb said. “I’d hate to see what that looks like for us when he has another full-time job on top of that.”

Bad memories

Some Democrats who support Ellison’s bid also believe the next DNC chair should not hold any other office.

People are in the mood for a full-time chair, said Javier Morillo, head of the local SEIU and himself a former DNC member.

“I was initially saying loudly to anyone who’d listen that he can do both jobs,” Morillo said. “As I’ve talked to other people, as I thought about it more myself, I think there’s a very strong desire for a full-time chair.”

Rybak said that Ellison would be able to balance his duties as chair with his responsibilities as a congressman, but added he believes Ellison “would be more effective if he could do it full-time.”

Over the years, DNC chairs have often been governors or legislators at some point, but rarely simultaneously: of the 11 chairs or co-chairs the party has had in the last 20 years, three held elected office at the same time.

Fairly or not, part of the desire for a full-time chair stems from the failures of the last chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat who began chairing the committee in 2011, resigned on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, pushed out over outrage she used her post to give Hillary Clinton an edge in the primary over Bernie Sanders.

Emails released by WikiLeaks showed Wasserman Schultz and top DNC staffers talking about how to stop Sanders, and disparaging his aides.

But was Wasserman Schultz’s problem the fact she was a sitting member of Congress? Rybak, for one, doesn’t think so.

“Some people say that the reason Debbie Wasserman Schultz was unsuccessful was because she was sitting in Congress, and that’s not true,” he said. “Keith Ellison and Debbie Wasserman Schultz both work in the same big white building in Washington, and that’s where the similarities end.”

Making a decision

Can Ellison do it all?

Publicly, he has expressed some doubt: at a forum for chair candidates last Friday in Denver, Ellison said he is “in the process of deciding this issue of whether I can perform both roles.”

But an Ellison spokesman told MinnPost, “Keith believes wholeheartedly he has the energy and ability to serve in Congress and as the Chair of the DNC at the same time. He wants to continue having conversations with DNC members about different leadership models.”

The fact that he is publicly weighing giving up his seat, some say, is an indication he realizes that holding it would be a major roadblock to becoming chair.

And he’s clearly been serious about his campaign. Ellison had been working party leaders and activists for months before announcing his bid, which he kicked off with a strong fundraising effort and endorsements from key Democrats like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Despite the backlash over Ellison’s past, which caused the Anti-Defamation League to come out in opposition to his bid, he remains a front-runner for the job. Though more candidates could still enter the race, his most prominent rival, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, withdrew last week.

Javier Morillo thinks Ellison “will choose to do one or the other… Now that he has put out there that he may consider stepping down, those are going to be his options.”

To others, if anyone can hold both roles, it’s Ellison.

State Rep. Frank Hornstein, who represents House District 61A in Minneapolis, said Ellison already travels a great deal as-is, speaking at fundraisers and labor events around the country. Hornstein says that Ellison still convenes meetings several times a year with the state legislators in CD5.

“He’s very much in demand even as it is,” he said. “I haven’t noticed that his current responsibilities have interfered with his legislative work.”

The 447-member DNC will meet on February 23 to select the next chair, so Ellison has some time to decide what he wants to do.

But for Morillo — who admires Ellison and says has gone above and beyond to be a partner to labor in the district — the choice is clear.

“If he asked me,” he said, “I’d say, be chair, and we’ll miss you as congressman, but you’ll do great things as DNC chair.”

Correction: This article previously misidentified R.T. Rybak’s position in the DNC. He is currently a vice-chair through February. 

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Comments (33)

  1. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/06/2016 - 11:32 am.

    This is silly

    Wasserman Shultze’s problems had nothing to with her “part-time” status. It’s nice to see that some democrats have finally realized how important it is to have good leadership but those folks are a day late and dollar short, so the LAST people who should be making these decisions are the folks who put Clinton and Wasserman Shultze in charge in the first place.

    Frankly, I think the full-time gambit is just a ruse to weaken Ellison in a variety of ways by a) creating anxiety about losing yet another seat in the House and b) weakening his position by taking him out of the house.

    He can do both, he’s a smart guy, and he doesn’t seem to mind hard work.

    • Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 12/06/2016 - 09:12 pm.

      Right Paul…

      If a Republican says that he should resign, he needs to do just the opposite to be correct in his decision.

  2. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 12/06/2016 - 12:00 pm.

    Part time

    The Democratic Party had a lot of problems in the last election cycle, and Wasserman Schultze was more a symbol of them than anything else. Much as I love rehashing them, I don’t think those problems are the same problems we will have going forward.

    As a practical matter, as a member of the minority party in Congress, there is very little Keith has to do as part of his job. But in terms of symbolism, I think it is important to have a party leader who has and is seen to have a full time commitment to the job. The leadership of the Democratic Party has long way to go to earn back the trust of the rank and file.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/06/2016 - 12:32 pm.

      Rank and file?

      The rank and file? Democrats have look beyond their own rank and file judging by the way they jumped on the Clinton bandwagon. Comforting their own rank and file is recipe for more complacency. They need challenge their rank and file and add to their numbers.

  3. Submitted by Susan Maricle on 12/06/2016 - 12:10 pm.

    This won’t be Keith’s first rodeo

    Unfit to lead! Nation of Islam! Louis Farrakhan! Keith Hakim! All of these issues were asked (both by Republicans and pearl-clutching Democrats) and answered in the 2006 Fifth District race. Keith leading the DNC would be a fearless move.

    And if Ellison does have to decide between one role or the other, I’m sure he would leave the Fifth District in good hands. R.T. Rybak, maybe?

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 12/06/2016 - 04:14 pm.

      Big difference

      There is a big difference between representing a safe Democratic seat and running a national organization, and the answers to those questions are very different.

      Keith Ellison would be a nightmare choice.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 12/07/2016 - 08:56 am.

      Proceed with the “Fearless Move”

      Distilling down the election postmortem, I think that the party sees a need to reconnect with the white working class and with rural America. This is why he will not be chosen to be DNC Chair, even though it truly is the fearless move.

  4. Submitted by Howard Salute on 12/06/2016 - 12:39 pm.

    Part-time gig?

    Has anyone considered that the job being a US Congressperson is already a part-time job? Most in congress spend part of their time serving the people and another large part of their time running for reelection. Thanks in part to gerrymandering, Ellison’s seat is safe. He may want to keep it so he has a “safe-fall” after leading the DNC.

  5. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 12/06/2016 - 01:56 pm.

    Run Keith Run!

    I hope K.E. is selected as the next DNC Chair. This will further cement the far left position of the Democrats and continue to erode the support of the Democrats in middle America.

    Plus – it will be entertaining to watch Senator Schumer question future Attorney General Session’s concerning Sessions civil rights record while Schumer has already endorsed K.E.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/06/2016 - 04:53 pm.

      That’s Entertainment!

      I’ve noticed something about conservatives lately. They seem to take great delight in te prospect of liberals and Democrats being embarrassed. It’s not about winning a debate, or getting the best policy made. It’s about the defeat of someone else, and taking more pleasure in someone else’s loss than in one’s own victory.

      Why is that?

      • Submitted by Susan Maricle on 12/06/2016 - 09:22 pm.

        Because the Democrats embarrass so easily.

        It’s like when a bully has your number. When you show no fear, the bully loses power. The Democrats could take a lesson from that.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 12/07/2016 - 11:52 am.

          Embarrass Easily or Show No Shame?

          When President Bill Clinton was caught in the Lewinsky scandal, which Hillary had blamed on a vast right-wing conspiracy, an embarrassed President would have stepped down, an embarrassed party would have demanded it. Showing no shame, he stuck around for the impeachment.

          Hillary, encumbered with more baggage than an Airbus A380, demanded her turn to be President. Democrats are easily embarrassed? An example please.

          • Submitted by Susan Maricle on 12/08/2016 - 07:33 am.

            I’ll give you three.

            Gary Hart, Bill Richardson, John Edwards.

            If ever we needed John Edwards’ “Two Americas” speech, it’s now. Yeah, what Edwards did to cancer-stricken Elizabeth was reprehensible. But that was between his conscience, his wife, and his God. Divorcing a cancer-stricken wife hasn’t harmed Newt Gingrich. Too often, when misdeeds are called out, Democrats slink away and are never heard from again.

            On an episode of “Almanac” from 2006, the hosts asked Keith about his parking tickets. He showed no embarrassment but instead owned the action, saying, “I need to pay attention to that.” The word “authenticity” is overused, but it’s what Keith would bring to the role of DNC chair.

            But, Mr. Rose, I will concede your point about the Clintons. They are Democrats of a different stripe.

          • Submitted by Helen Hunter on 12/12/2016 - 03:32 am.

            Correction:

            Do you remember the Bill Clinton presidency? There was a Special Investigator watching his every move for impeachable offenses, since he couldn’t make Whitewater into one.
            It’s not surprising to me that Hillary, a loyal and loving wife of an undeserving husband, thought at first the Monica Lewinsky story was another attempt to bring him down.
            Hillary Clinton carries the “baggage” of several decades of public service in many different positions. She is loved and respected, perhaps even venerated, for her dedication to women’s and children’s welfare, making the “playing field” more level for everyone in our country, for her humor, her incredibly hard work, her resilience. She isn’t perfect, has made mistakes, but to now dismiss her as some of these commenters have as “a political hack” and “unelectable”, “four more years of Obama” ( and what in **** would be wrong with that?) — is just plain crass, mean, ungrateful, and unrealistic.
            She “only” won the popular vote so now you see she was always unelectable????
            That’s bull. It’s not serious post-election analysis.
            Let’s hold ourselves to a stricter standard. Maybe the real lesson, or one of them, is that a large number of voters will vote for a completely unqualified loose cannon because they “want change”. Well, they will get change, all right, and so will the rest of us.
            In other words, a sizeable number of our fellow citizens and voters can at any time collectively decide to use no reason, no standard of decency, in choosing who to vote for, enough to actually elect the worst possible candidate.
            It’s frightening all right. And Hillary Clinton is not responsible for this, the Democratic Party could not control it (no party could). NONE OF US COULD.
            The number of people getting blamed for the election of trump may be a sign that we’re having trouble understanding who or what really is responsible.
            I think it’s just two groups: the people who voted for him, and the 47% who chose to stay home and NOT VOTE.

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 12/12/2016 - 01:44 pm.

              Correction?

              “four more years of Obama” ( and what in **** would be wrong with that?) — is just plain crass, mean, ungrateful, and unrealistic.” Really, four more years of Obama would be just plain crass?

              While some like to laud Hillary for all she has done for the causes of women and children, they never include an example.

              Some politicians build a resume’ with decades of public service. When they do it is their accomplishments and not their baggage.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 12/06/2016 - 06:40 pm.

      Those Far Left Positions?

      And what are those far left positions of the Dems?

      Numerous free trade agreements negotiated by corporate lobbyists in secret?

      Clinton era cuts in welfare and Wall Street deregulation?

      A health care reform that preserved the profits of private insurers and didn’t include a public option?

      Doing little to end a decades long income redistribution up to the .1%?

      Bailing out banks that crashed the economy and letting home owners languish?

      Allowing the military to consume an ever larger share of the public treasury?

      Promising to pursue card check authorization for union organizing, then quickly forgetting that after January 20. 2009?

  6. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 12/06/2016 - 02:58 pm.

    Well…

    The election was lost because of the inability to provide a message to lower income, working class white folks that the Democratic Party has more issues in common with their needs and wants than the Republican’s do. And their is a good argument to be made there and Hillary failed to do it. Bill did it and won twice.

    Fair or not, selecting an African American who is also a Muslim as the spokesperson to attract these new voters creates an almost insurmountable challenge. If they want a principled stand, Ellison is the person for the job. If they actually would like to win elections pick James Carville or a similar good old boy.

    • Submitted by Susan Maricle on 12/06/2016 - 08:47 pm.

      Why pull punches?

      Look at the “in-your-face” appointments Trump is making. The DNC needs to be just as “in your face.” Those new voters just might discover that a Muslim African American has their interests at heart much more than the president elect.

  7. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 12/06/2016 - 05:59 pm.

    Howard Dean

    Anybody remember him? I was surprised to learn after a google search that he was reseeking the DNC Chair. But that he withdrew after Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer indicated they would not support him. Maybe they should rethink that. Does Keith Ellison have what it takes to be national leader of a national party that is now looking to rebuild itself? I’m not convinced he is. Why not someone who’s at least demonstrated some good record of accomplishing that goal?

    Whoever is going to lead a new party is going to have to deal with the loss of what remains of middle class, blue-collar America, formerly represented by the organized labor part of the Democratic Party. When I see comments still refer to “rank and file” in the Democratic party or the DFL, it reminds me how much we are still used to assuming that the country has anything to speak of in terms of unions as an organized force. Whatever power organized labor once had, and it used to have a lot, it has lost since 1981 when RR came into power. Organized labor used to provide a lot of the energy and grunt work that was required for grassroots organization. Crippling organized labor was part of the Republican strategy and it’s worked. A lot of those former union members or their children are now Republican Trump supporters.

    I’m not entirely clear why Howard Dean faded from the DNC or the national scene. His idea of a 50 state strategy and raising new candidates at state and local levels and then federal races throughout the country seems intuitively meritorious and was showing success in 2006 and 2008. My guess is that he was ousted in favor of the group that supported HRC after Obama’s election. Since 2008, the Party seems to have been following a plan that consistently loses more elections and more seats and brings to Congress and the Senate only those Democrats who are not right-wing enough for the Republican Party. From what I gather passes for election strategy fro this group is trying to match or beat the Republicans in raising money and then win key races by dumping loads of money into them. Don’t try to come up with anything that sounds like it might be a better idea for governing the country or fixing its problems. A party whose main strategy is based on raising more money than the other side seems in principle completely antithetical to one that calls itself Democratic.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/07/2016 - 09:22 am.

      Two things…

      First, the most recent and powerful demonstration of a 50 state strategy was Bernie Sanders. Had the party elite not locked it up for Clinton in a variety of ways he’d be president right now. That’s where the democrats should be getting their inspiration, and that’s what Ellison represents.

      Second, the ONLY democrat to EVER run a strong and compelling campaign based entirely on “small” money is once again Bernie Sanders. He talked the talked and walked the walk and racked up the votes.

      The problem with Dean and frankly Obama was they marketed themselves as more progressive but failed to follow through after the election. It was a bait and switch. They had a chance to run the table for the first two years and they dialed back every single liberal initiative they’d campaigned on in order to accommodate republicans, who didn’t have the votes to block them.

      The problem is that Americans, those working class people everyone keeps talking about, desperately needs the liberal initiatives that democrats keep dialing back. We voted for liberals who promised to fight for labor and we got Rahm Emanual telling the UAW to: “Go F… themselves”. THAT was what happened to Dean.

      Don’t get me wrong, I think Obama was an excellent president, but there’s are a lot of very good reasons why Clinton’s gambit to extend Obama’s presidency fell flat, and that’s one of them.

      Putting democrats who talk the tough liberal equality, labor, economics, yada yada talk during the campaigns and then turn to republicans for solutions when they get elected is NOT what the country or the democratic party need.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 12/07/2016 - 12:15 pm.

        Not true

        The reason that Sanders lost the primaries by millions of votes is that he did NOT run a 50-state strategy. He ignored large parts of the country, and allowed Clinton to dominate those states.

        You can keep telling yourself that Sanders got cheated, but the only reason it even appeared close was that Sanders benefitted from voter-suppressing caucuses. Sanders would also have been annihilated in a general election once they dug into his past.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/09/2016 - 10:34 am.

          Truth?

          Sanders is and always was a champion of 50 state strategies, and that’s what he ran. That’s an historical fact. Clinton’s the one who relied on battleground states as a firewall.

          I wish you Clinton people would stop pretending you have some kind of political expertise, you just lost to the biggest republican train wreck in history at a time when the republican party is in absolute shambles. if you knew anything about selecting electable candidates a democrat would be president elect right now.

  8. Submitted by Steve Rose on 12/07/2016 - 06:57 am.

    No Worries

    We of CD5 are accustomed to part-time representation, as Ellison leads the Minnesota league in missed votes, with about twice as many as the second to dead last finisher. He submitted explanations for less than half of his missed votes.

    https://projects.propublica.org/explanations/members/E000288

    He seems ready to take on more work.

  9. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/07/2016 - 09:01 am.

    Susan Maricle’s nailing it.

    At the end of the day the problem is complacent fear based liberals who don’t want budge out of their comfort zones. They avoid confrontation and strenuous advocacy, and dial back critically needed liberal initiatives in order to “reach” across the isle for handshakes from people who are trying to crush them out of existence.

    We had to drag the DFL into the fight against voter ID and marriage equality in MN because they were initially too afraid of “losing” those battles. We’re stuck with unfunded and underfunded infrastructure because DFL leaders dialed back necessary spending out of fear of “over reach”… and then lost anyways.

    I think what Maricle is saying is that at on a very basic level elections are about choosing champions that will fight for your best interests. The problem with democrats is that they either don’t promise to fight, or make the promise and then don’t. People are desperate and hurting and they have one party saying:”We’re going to take over and fix this” while the other party says:”We going to reach across the isle and compromise”. Listen, if your got a flat front tire you fix it if you want to drive somewhere, you don’t just move it to the rear. Meeting failure half way isn’t a solution, Obamacare is perfect example of that.

    The reason Sander’s and Ellison make sense is that for the first time in decades they will be real champions who will fight the fight they promise to fight. They will win some fights and they will lose others but they won’t turn back half way there out of fear of losing. There’s nothing embarrassing or dishonorable about losing a noble battle, and there’s no law of the universe that says you can’t come back and fight the same battle again and again until you win. Triangulating democrats just don’t get that.

    I know, timid liberals don’t like to “fight”, it’s not their comfort zone. OK, that’s fine; but don’t block others who will fight based on bogus rationales like your imaginary “expertise” regarding “electability”. If timid liberals knew how to pick electable candidates we’d have a democrat elect for president right now. You don’t lose an election to the biggest train wreck in US history and still get to pretend you have some kind of expertise regarding “electable” candidates.

  10. Submitted by joe smith on 12/07/2016 - 12:27 pm.

    Changing the messenger will do no good

    without changing the message and policies.. Telling folks they are doing better, are safer, better insured health wise and all the other stuff they don’t see and feel backfired on HCR and Democrats…. Bigly….

  11. Submitted by Susan Maricle on 12/07/2016 - 08:33 pm.

    “Not everything that is faced can be changed,

    but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

    Keith referred to this quote by James Baldwin when he first ran for CD5 Rep. And the thought is totally apt for determining where the DNC goes from here. I don’t share the worry that Keith won’t win over the “new voters” who turned out for Trump. Keith’s message of economic populism will resonate with them. He represents Minnesota but he is originally from Detroit, the birthplace of organized labor.

    So until the DNC faces the fact they’re simply not connecting with a large swath of voters, and if they don’t embark on a course correction, we’ll be faced with Republicans in power for a long time.

    And Paul Udstrand, much obliged.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 12/07/2016 - 09:30 pm.

      The Labor Movement

      Both New York and Philadelphia have legitimate claims to being the birthplace of the American labor movement, over a hundred years before the first automobile was built in Detroit.

      http://www.history.com/topics/labor

      Today’s Glean reported that Ellison will vacate his seat should he be offered the DNC Chair. He seems interested in eliminating barriers to being chosen. This squares with his interests, more about expanding his brand than serving constituents.

      “Rep. Keith Ellison faces renewed scrutiny over past ties to Nation of Islam, defense of anti-Semitic figures”

      http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/01/politics/kfile-keith-ellison-nation-of-islam/

      Excerpt:

      “As recent as 2000, Ellison publicly defended violent, fringe elements of the far-left. He appeared at a fundraiser that year for domestic terrorist Sara Jane Olson, a member of the self-styled revolutionary group the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), which is best known for kidnapping heiress Patricia Hearst. Olson was apprehended in 1999 in relation to the 1975 attempted bombings of two police cars and the slaying of Myrna Opsah during a bank robbery.”

      While Ellison’s associations and proclamations play well in one of the bluest congressional districts in the country, the reception will be cooler on a national stage. He will not get the nod, which will disappoint a lot of Democrats and Republicans.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 12/08/2016 - 06:53 am.

        So

        Hate to break it to you Steve, but I don’t care about the crimes of old hippies, committed a decade before I was even a twinkle in my parent’s eye. Similarly I don’t much worry about a group who last held real influence when? The million man march was long after that point had been reached by the way, they were already a punchline.
        Now neofascists giving the president the nazi salute, hate mongers harassing folks into silence through the internet, folks suggesting “2nd amendment solutions” to every problem? The malignant cancer that is white nationalism? Those are ACTUAL threats to my person and country TODAY.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 12/08/2016 - 08:11 am.

          It is not the crimes,

          My post was not about the crimes, it was about a man who made an appearance at a fundraiser supporting a criminal. The year was 2000, five years after Farrakhan’s less than 400,000 attendee Million Man March.

          As I indicated upstream in this thread, it is not about what the people of CD5 think of Ellison’s suitability to serve as DNC Chair; they don’t get to decide.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 12/08/2016 - 10:47 pm.

            Why would I care

            If he supports a criminal, if I don’t care about the crime. I’ll bet a hundred bucks you can’t walk down the street and find 1 out of 50 people who can even tell you A. What or who the SLA was, B. Who Patty Hearst was or C. Give more than a passing thought to either without prompting. Literally, the rightest of the right are the ONLY people who care. Say what you like about the election, those aren’t the people who tipped the scales. You might try introspection when it comes to hand picking your opponents, or perhaps you think that conceit applys only to the left.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/09/2016 - 10:51 am.

        I know I don’t care.

        The fringier the better as far as I’m concerned, that’s what democrats need. Complacent appeals to the imaginary “middle” just put Trump in the White House.

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/09/2016 - 12:41 pm.

    Look…

    Nobody knows who the DNC chair is anyways, does anyone know who the current RNC chair is? The actual candidates are the ones who are out front, not the party chair, so none of this other stuff matters, no one votes for a candidate anywhere based on their opinions about the party chair.

    The point is that the chair directs over-all strategy and priorities and the democrats are obviously in serious need of new and effective over-all strategies and priorities. Those who oppose Ellison at this point are the same people by and large who promoted Clinton, and they are obviously without a clue. The democratic party needs to be an agent of effective and popular change, not the vehicle for restraining effective and popular change that triangulator’s like the Clinton’s turned it into.

    The attention and investigation that Ellison is receiving now is just a reflection of how anti-liberal many democrats and so-called liberals really are. Did anyone anywhere ask any of these questions when Wasserman Schultz got the chair? Now that an honest to god liberal is in the running it’s a big national discussion, OK fine, we want transparency but let’s keep this in perspective.

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