Sam Ronan of Ohio is a different kind of DNC chair candidate. A US Air Force veteran, Ronan has never held public office and is about the farthest you can get from being a Democratic Party insider. Nevertheless, Ronan’s bid for the DNC chair position, which some might describe as rather quixotic in its goal to wrest the Democratic Party away from corporate influence, is bringing him a lot of attention from progressives and other left-leaning independents, many of whom are skeptical about whether the Democratic Party is even worth trying to save.
In a recent interview with Real Progressives, Sam Ronan explains in great detail why he’s running for the DNC chair position and lays out what he would do if he wins. A Bernie Sanders supporter in the 2016 Democratic Primaries, Ronan argues that the Democratic Party will be “toast” unless its officials and elected politicians start answering to people instead of working for the interests of corporations.
“I supported Bernie and the Democrats completely brushed him aside,” Ronan said. “The Democrats jacked Bernie over and stole it from him. They didn’t even give his supporters a chance to speak at the convention, which would have gone a long way to earning our respect.”
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Many progressives and other left-leaning independents share this view. In some ways, Ronan, just 27-years-old, represents one possible future for the Democratic Party. Another possible future, which Ronan is actively fighting against, is for the party to continue in its current direction. This could spell serious trouble for the party in upcoming elections, such as the 2018 mid-terms, as many on the left are contemplating leaving the party, and many others have already “Demexited,” leaving the Democratic Party to join with the Greens or become independents.
Sam Ronan understands the motivation behind people leaving the Democratic Party. In the Real Progressives interview, he explains that much about the current Democratic Party is not worth salvaging. He explains, however, that the internal structure in place can be a tool to completely take over and transform the party, and that starting from scratch with third parties and completely abandoning the Democratic Party will leave a power vacuum that will only be filled by the Republicans.
“The structure, the skeleton of the Democratic Party is salvageable,” Ronan explains. “And if we lose that, the Republican party has unopposed, unparalleled power.”
Ronan even goes on to say that people like former DNC chairwoman Debbi Wasserman-Schultz should be ostracized from the party. Ronan contends that the party needs to become a party by and for the people, and that “money in politics has got to go.”
“We need bottom-up growth to push the poison out of the party,” Ronan said.
According to the Washington Times, Bernie Sanders has endorsed Keith Ellison for the DNC chair. Rhetorically, Sanders cites many of the same arguments for choosing Ellison as Ronan argues in his own favor. Many progressives and left-leaning independents, however, are skeptical that Ellison represents anything more than a minor adjustment to the party, rather than the fundamental change that someone like Sam Ronan is saying he wants to bring to fruition. Ellison, a congressman from Minnesota, drew criticism recently after refusing to admit the primaries were rigged against Sanders, a contention that many on the left assume to be an immutable truth.
Sam Ronan is not uncomfortable speaking brazenly about topics such as rigged primaries, corporate influence in the party, and the Democratic Party’s departure from its Rooseveltian, New Deal roots. Ronan says on day one as DNC Chair he would begin working to make things like single-payer healthcare, economic reform, and party primary reform integral to his job managing the party.
Sam Ronan’s DNC chair bid can be described as an uphill battle, to say the absolute least. But if the Democratic Party wants to stop hemorrhaging support and seeks to win elections in the coming years, it may want to seriously consider listening to what Ronan and his supporters have to say.
[Featured Image by Samuel Ronan/Facebook]