Dems plot comeback, talk Trump ‘resistance’ in Detroit

Feb 5, 2017

Former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, right, talks with U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison, D-MN at the beginning of the third of four regional DNC Future Forums.(Photo: Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)

By Jonathan Oosting and Christine Ferretti, The Detroit News

Detroit — Democrats have a unique chance to build on “the resistance” to President Donald Trump, candidates vying to lead the national party said Saturday in Detroit, outlining their comeback plans in the wake of a crushing 2016 election cycle.

Democratic activists and officials gathered at Wayne State University to hear from 10 candidates fighting to be the next chair of the Democratic National Committee, including Detroit native and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota.

Four months after Trump became the first Republican to win Michigan since 1988, Democrats pointed to massive marches for women’s rights and protests over Trump’s controversial immigration order as evidence of a surge in grassroots energy.

“We’ve got to recognize that not all of that needs to funnel through the Democratic Party,” said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, arguing there is an organic quality to the protests that officials should support but not attempt to own.

“The Democratic party needs to figure out where we fit in the tapestry of the grassroots, not the other way around.”

Ellison called for a renewed focus on good old-fashioned ground work, proposing a nationwide summer canvas and asking activists to help the DNC “knock every door in this country if we can.”

He also stressed the importance of leading on labor and trade issues in the wake of an election that saw Trump make inroads with working-class voters.

“We start with the idea that the Democratic Party is the party that works for working people all the time and never lets up,” said Ellison, a Wayne State graduate whose mother was in the audience.

Ellison is considered a front-runner for the DNC chair post, along with former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez of Maryland, who proposed a similar boots-on-the-ground approach for the party.

…continue reading on The Detroit News