The Democrats don’t get it. It wasn’t like Rep. Keith Ellison was every progressive’s dream candidate. Our hearts didn’t skip a beat with hope when he spoke. We fought for him, but it’s not like he was the Bernie Sanders of the DNC chairman race.
Keith Ellison was the candidate that we were willing to settle for.
He was endorsed by other progressives. We considered him our best shot at winning our party back from the elites. The Washington Post reported Saturday that Jeff Weaver indicated that by electing Labor Secretary Tom Perez over Ellison, the DNC was repeating old mistakes.
“If you polled Democrats outside of this room, Keith would win,” Weaver said. “Keith’s support is from the people on the street.”
It’s true. We supported him. We wanted him to beat Perez. We thought there was a slim chance that enough of the Democratic National Committee’s 435 voting members might choose Ellison, and Ellison was the more progressive candidate. So, we backed him.
Then, moments later, we were offered a (practically condescending) consolation prize.
Perez, who might actually realize that he’ll need the basement dwellers and the Berniecrats in order to rebuild the party, quickly appointed Ellison to a symbolic position as the new Deputy Chair of the DNC. CNN reported that Ellison, like a good loser, publicly stated that it was his honor to serve under the chairmanship of Tom Perez. Just like that, the party was reunited. Right?
Bustle seems to think so.
“Mere moments after the final results came in, and former labor secretary Tom Perez won the job of Democratic National Committee chairman, all those disappointed fans of his opponent got a major pick-me-up: Perez made a surprise move to make Keith Ellison DNC deputy chair, a show of unity that should go a long way towards healing any lingering wounds.”
I’m sure Perez hopes it will go a long way.
But considering that earlier, these same Democrats voted against banning corporate lobbyist donations, I’d say it’s safe to say that this political party did not learn their lesson.
DNC members are considering Resolution 33 banning corp $ now pic.twitter.com/LbR4Nz48md— Daniel Marans (@danielmarans) February 25, 2017
Obama first introduced the ban in 2008, but the former chair of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, eliminated that ban quietly just in time for the 2016 elections, The Washington Post revealed. It was kind of a big deal, a major talking point of the 2016 presidential race. Progressives demanded that the resolution pass. Progressives wanted big money out of politics.
Progressives believed in this resolution probably more than we believed in Ellison. If the DNC wanted to impress us, they could have passed this resolution and not even bothered to offer Ellison the symbolic position. It’s not like Ellison was even up for Tulsi Gabbard’s old position as vice-chair. Ellison’s position seems to us as little more than the “Good Sportsmanship” award. I hope it turns out to be a critical advisory position, but I’m hardly going to hold my breath. And neither will those who orchestrated a grand #DemExit last year.
Perez may feel like a breath of fresh air after the likes of Wasserman-Schultz and Donna Brazile, but the party was not unified on Saturday. The mainstream pundits and the Democratic elites may pretend that we’re all a big blue family again, but we’re not. We’re also not heartbroken over the Ellison loss. His candidacy was our litmus test.
So, now we know. And I don’t think one single progressive is surprised.
[Featured Image by Branden Camp/AP Images]