Isn’t it ironic/funny/weird that the primary argument against having Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison lead the Democratic National Committee is because he holds elective office? Meaning, party people want someone less accountable to the people to lead the party.
I can’t. I just can’t. It’s like last year’s primary never happened with some folks.
In any event, THIS party guy (thumbs pointed to me) is completely pro-Ellison. As an elected representative, he’s held accountable by his district for his legislative efforts and he has a better handle on the pulse of his membership. But more, has it been so long since the chairpersonships of the likes of Chris Dodd, Roy Romer, Tim Kaine and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, all of whom held elective office for all or some of their tenures leading the DNC?
To me, it’s a non-argument to say that Ellison can’t do both (let’s not forget staff) and I think it’s safe to think that the resistance were seeing, however mild, is leftover from Ellison’s backing of Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. I should note that I was a vocal Clinton supporter but was nevertheless troubled with aspects of the party’s role in the primary.
Ellison is a civil rights, employment, and criminal defense attorney who worked aggressively in Minnesota’s 5th district to stem the damage caused by the foreclosure crisis, which was the setting for my first experience with him. In 2011, when I was editor at Shelterforce magazine, a housing and community development publication of the National Housing Institute, I co-intereviewed Ellison. He had emerged as a leading voice on the effect foreclosures and predatory lending were having on low-income and middle-class communities. In his Hennepin County alone, foreclosures had spiked by 32 percent in 2008.
And this wasn’t just hurting homeowners, of course, but also landlords who could no longer pay their mortgages. As a result, Ellison advanced the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009, which would allow tenants at least 90 days’ notice before eviction. Crazy that those protections didn’t exist before, since we don’t think of a home as “at will.”
Since then, Ellison has proved himself more than adept at understanding the root causes of the economic challenges facing most Americans, and his public work and personal career have given him valuable expertise in identifying and working toward solutions related to our country’s racial ills.
On a conference call two weeks ago, Ellison characterized the post-Obama era a “movement moment” for progressives. Having a Democratic Party that better reflects the people it claims to serve is a cornerstone of that movement, and Ellison is the guy to lead the political piece of that movement.