As Republicans celebrate a trifecta of victories in the White House, Democratic leaders are scrambling to choose a new chair for the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
The DNC Chair is “a key position that will determine the direction of the party” reports Fox News’ Bryan Llenas. The current favorite is Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, a 53-year-old African American with alleged ties to Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam.
Ellison’s 2006 run for Congress was affected by his religious past, and Fox News points out that he used to refer to himself as “Keith X Ellison” and “Keith Ellison-Muhammed.”
Ellison has also been criticized for comparing Bush to Hitler and calling affirmative action a “sneaky” form of compensation for slavery.
Even so, “democrats believe he represents a young, diverse, and more progressive direction and stands in stark contrast to some of president-elect Trump’s most controversial campaign promises, like that Muslim ban,” says Llenas.
Ellison backed Bernie Sanders during the primaries and credits the Vermont Senator for sparking a revolution. “Together we call for climate justice, racial justice, wage justice.”
He argues that the party must shift its focus from donors to the middle- and working- class. “Voters have to be our focus, not donors,” says Ellison. “The guys in the barber shop, the lady at the diner, the folks who are worried about whether that plant will close… they’ve got to be our focus.”
Progressives are blaming Hillary Clinton for losing touch with the working class, but party moderates worry that Ellison will move the party too far to the left.
Ellison has serious support, however, and has been endorsed by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Harry Reid, and Chuck Schumer.
Former DNC Chair Howard Dean agrees that it’s time for some restructuring. “We’ve got to reach out to young people, we’ve got to re-do the Democratic National Committee.”
Dean has also put his name in the hat, but says that he would “be happier in a supportive role.” Other potential candidates include California Rep. Xavier Becerra and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.
We must have a “full-time chair,” insists Dean, and Ellison “can’t be a congressman and a chair at the same time.”
Ellison is confident that he can handle both positions at once and is expected to announce his bid for DNC Chair on Monday.