February 10th, 2017

At a political meeting this past week I got to see just how great the level of denial among old-line Democrats is when a woman told the group that she felt uncomfortable and wasn’t sure she was in the right place because the conversation had turned to taking over the Democratic Party from the inside. I could see her discomfort. She appeared on the edge of a panic attack perhaps arising from the fear that she had inadvertently slipped into a political twilight zone where marching in lockstep with the orders from the Democratic National Committee was not the safe and sane path she believed.

She was right. Taking back our country from those who wish to dismantle every progressive gain made in the past 100 years will not be for the faint of heart. Doing more of the same will not work.

This morning I’m reading Glenn Greenwald’s Tom Perez Apologizes for Telling the Truth, Showing Why Democrats’ Flaws Urgently Need Attention at The Intercept. Greenwald ledes:

The more alarmed one is by the Trump administration, the more one should focus on how to fix the systemic, fundamental sickness of the Democratic Party. That Hillary Clinton won the meaningless popular vote on her way to losing to Donald Trump, and that the singular charisma of Barack Obama kept him popular, have enabled many to ignore just how broken and failed the Democrats are as a national political force.

An endless array of stunning statistics can be marshaled to demonstrate the extent of that collapse. But perhaps the most compelling piece of evidence is that even one of the U.S. media’s most stalwart Democratic loyalists, writing in an outlet that is as much of a reliable party organ as the DNC itself, has acknowledged the severity of the destruction. “The Obama years have created a Democratic Party that’s essentially a smoking pile of rubble,” wrote Vox’s Matthew Yglesias after the 2016 debacle, adding that “the story of the 21st-century Democratic Party looks to be overwhelmingly the story of failure.”

A failed, collapsed party cannot form an effective resistance. Trump did not become president and the Republicans do not dominate virtually all levels of government because there is some sort of massive surge in enthusiasm for right-wing extremism. Quite the contrary: This all happened because the Democrats are perceived—with good reason—to be out of touch, artificial, talking points-spouting automatons who serve Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and the agenda of endless war, led by millionaires and funded by oligarchs to do the least amount possible for ordinary, powerless citizens while still keeping their votes.

No in my United States of America. I didn’t risk my life in the service of my nation for 11 years to quietly allow what I fought for just disappear into a billionaires bottom line. Greenwald continues:

What drove Bernie Sanders’s remarkably potent challenge to Hillary Clinton was the extreme animosity of huge numbers of Democrats—led by its youngest voters—to the values, practices, and corporatist loyalties of the party’s establishment. Unlike the 2008 Democratic primary war — which was far more vicious and nasty but devoid of any real ideological conflict—the 2016 primary was grounded in important and substantive disputes about what the Democratic Party should be, what principles should guide it, and, most important of all, whose interests it should serve.

That’s why those disputes have not disappeared with the inauguration of Trump, nor should they. It matters a great deal, perhaps more than anything else, who leads the resistance to Trump and what the nature of that opposition is. Everyone knows the popular cliché that insanity means doing the same thing over and over and expecting different outcomes; it illustrates why Democrats cannot continue as is and expect anything other than ongoing impotence and failure. The party’s steadfast refusal to change course even in symbolic ways—We hereby elevate by acclamation Chuck “Wall Street” Schumer and re-install Nancy “I’m a multimillionaire and we are capitalists” Pelosi — bodes very poorly for its future success.

This, for me is the nut: Bernie voters were robbed, not by Bernie, but by that cadre of New Democrats who think they can be just progressive to placate the 99 percent while groveling at the feet of their oligarch masters.

No more.

All of this is preamble to what Greenwald really wants to write about: why we must all work our butts off to see that Keith Ellison is the next chair of the Democratic National Committee. As I would expect, Greenwald forms a far superior argument as to why Ellison is the right person at the right time for progressives, and I’ll leave him to convince you. Greenwald concludes:

One can spend all of one’s time and energy denouncing Donald Trump. But until the systemic causes that gave rise to him are addressed and resolved, those denunciations will do little other than generate social media benefits and flattering applause from those already devoted to opposing him. Focusing on and attempting to counter the fundamental flaws of the Democratic Party is not a distraction from #TheResistance; it is a central priority, a prerequisite for any kind of success.

We the people, the 99 percent, need Keith Ellison.


  1. Keith Ellison is the real deal: Democrats shouldn’t squander their one advantage; Keith knows that Democrats win when we empower the grassroots and fight for the issues that improve people’s lives; and in an email from—


    Donald Trump and his Republican Congress are determined to keep up their attacks on climate action and social justice — from the Dakota Access pipeline to the unconscionable Muslim ban, and beyond. We need leadership from the Democratic Party that can kick Trump’s cronies out of Congress, and replace them with people ready to fight back.

    On February 24th the Democratic Party will choose their new chair—and there is one candidate running who has been organizing the longest and the hardest for the bold stands needed to defeat Trump: Representative Keith Ellison.

    Rep. Ellison has taken the strongest stances for climate action and against corporate giveaways like the TPP of any candidate in the race for DNC chair. A grassroots uprising in support of Ellison’s campaign it could help push him into the chair. DNC leaders are gathering for a meeting this weekend and we’re joining with several other progressive organizations to deliver a massive grassroots endorsement for Ellison.

    350 Action has never endorsed a candidate for DNC Chair before, but we think that this extraordinary moment requires it. Rep. Ellison has also been endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders and civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis, as well as Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault the chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, Keystone XL fighter Jane Kleeb.

    But more importantly he’s an organizer—and it takes organizing to beat Trump. He wants to see Democrats challenge Trump’s agenda on every level —while listening to and working with people in the streets fighting for justice every day. He’s also been a longtime supporter of’s actions and campaigns.

    Last spring when the Democratic party was writing its official platform, Rep. Ellison was one of the people speaking out strongly for serious efforts to deal with climate change. He was also unwavering in his support of action to confront Wall Street, policies that address racial inequality and more.

    Rep. Ellison leading the DNC would be an important step towards a Democratic party that will both resist Trump, and advance the fight for justice.

    The Democratic party isn’t the only organization that’s going to be fighting back against Trump over the next few years—and Rep. Ellison isn’t the only leader we’ll need to support. But if the Democrats start to do their job, it will make the rest of our work a whole heck of a lot easier—which is why Rep. Ellison is the right person to lead in this crucial moment.

    With gratitude,


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