The Democratic Party Needs Keith Ellison

Feb 5, 2017

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By Richard Trumka President, AFL-CIO and María Elena Durazo Vice Chair, Democratic National Committee; General Vice President, UNITE HERE | Huffington Post

The American people have faced stagnant wages and rising inequality for decades. Many Americans voted for Donald Trump or decided not to vote at all because Democrats failed to communicate effectively with working people and turn out the vote – end of story. The fact is that shouldn’t have happened. The Democratic Party has long been the Party of working people, and needs to do a better job of making that case. No one knows this better than Keith Ellison, and we are proud to endorse him as the next Chair of the Democratic National Committee.


These are extremely challenging times. President Trump has put forward a nominee for Labor Secretary who openly disdains workers. Congressional Republicans are readying plans to roll back worker protections, repeal the Affordable Care Act and end Medicare as we know it. And in state capitals across the country, the assault on workers and unions has been fierce and swift. Now more than ever, working people need public servants who will stand up and fight for better jobs, higher wages, good benefits and a voice at work.


Keith knows how to win elections, and has a track record of defeating anti-worker forces wherever they are. When Keith was first elected to Congress in 2006, his district had the lowest turnout in Minnesota. Voters just didn’t feel engaged. They didn’t feel like they mattered. Keith decided to do something about it: he organized. He knocked on as many doors as possible. With labor at his side, he talked about the issues that mattered to people. It worked. Since Keith began his grassroots voter turnout campaign, his district is the highest performing in the state. And on top of all this, he’s been getting pro-worker candidates elected from the school board to the U.S. Senate, traveling to nearly 30 states just last cycle.


When nurses went on strike to keep their health insurance, Keith was there. When communications workers went on strike to protest pension cuts, Keith was there. When hotel workers went on strike for a decent wage, Keith was there.

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  1. Beverly Nelmes

    I agree. At this point, Justice Democrats needs to focus on finding and recruiting candidates. PDA has the cultural breadth, the experience, the resources, and the maturity to focus upon reforming the Democratic Party with its “inside/outside” strategy, which will of course, include Justice Democrats as well. At this time, U.S. Representative Keith Ellison best represents these values. At a time when our very democracy is at stake, there are still many rank-and-file Progressives within the Democratic Party, and so many key resources for reform are still within the Party’s influence, we Progressives must choose a leader with the most well-honed skills in consensus-building and grassroots organizing. I therefore urge my fellow Progressives to support the Honorable Keith Ellison for the Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee.

  2. Bryan Blakely

    It’s not a matter of who has more members, both are great. They do have different purposes (Justice Dems is more focused on finding and recruiting candidates, while PDA is more focused on reforming the Dem Party and on specific issues.) The two are completely compatible–so join BOTH. Then decide where you most want to devote your time and energy. Courage.

  3. realrepresentation

    Who has more members, PDA or Justice Democrats? Team up!

  4. Adam Price

    I like Keith, his resume is very impressive, but I would like to make a point. Donald Trump won his election because he got as much free air time as anyone has ever seen. Partly because of his celebrity, but also because he spoke bluntly. I am all for using intellect and reason to attract followers, but Trump has no real intellect. He has instincts. He knew that if he said things that were inflammatory, his speak was desired more. He made his presence known by calling in on shows, being on networks, making the papers and magazines and using the media to bolster his name recognition, his brand. You could say that “Celebrity Apprentice” gave him celebrity status, or his very public bankruptcies or many of his inflammatory comments. Overall, he was there and speaking to the ID of the vast public. I’m not saying this would work for anyone other than Trump, but what I am saying is that for the first year of Hillary’s campaign, she was silent or speaking exclusively. Secondly, if progressives are going to change America, we need a selfless and humble group of people that speak with diversity. We don’t need just one party leader, we need many. We need many that are making appearances on public media all the time. If an interview with various minds are being spoke, the progressives need to be there speaking loudly. We need bold people with bold idea’s shouting the messages constantly on CNN, MSNBC, FOX, HLN, local channels across america and on. For instance, We need someone on every show saying we need to impeach Trump and remove his cabinet and forces on every channel because he is a threat to our national security, he has alliances to money, Russians, and everything unpatriotic that represents America everyday, to rebrand Trump as unpatriotic because his thin skin would challenge him and cause distraction. We need to demand time from the media and use that time to label or brand Trump using every avenue possible and there are many! Bannon, calling him a white supremacist in an interview that just gets sound bites(Pelosi) doesn’t help. We need to brand him by using his own words against him and repeat those words over and over ad nauseum! Pence certainly has a plethora of material to repeat that is just despicable, but we are to afraid of looking lowbrow by talking about his stances on gay conversion therapy, anti-abortion tactics and much more. We need to make sure all those who voted for DeVoss are exposed over and over forcing say Richard Burr to come out and defend himself so we can attack his record, his ambiguity his disdain for the black vote. It sounds mean, but playing passive-aggresive is NOT working! There is so much more to be said, but not enough room here. Ellis, keep up the good work, but don’t try to hog the spotlight then slip in on the occasional interview. Make them include you in group televised discussions, use your allies to speak for you and coach them to not be timid or distracted during the discussion. Steer the conversation and for crying out loud, find the messages, pass out assignments and ague a clear and concise message! Pound the message into peoples heads until you think they are sick of hearing it, then go hard for 10 more rounds! I wish you luck, but right now, we have a group running that are timid, too careful and WAY TO QUIET! I’m sorry for the sloppy message but my 1 and 4 year old boys keep waking up. I am afraid for their future, the future of all these children and a fight isn’t compromise on their terms or politically correct, IT IS A SHOW OF PASSION! Put the republicans on their heels, make them chase us! Thank you.

  5. Bryan Blakely

    Change most often occurs from the bottom up, but it wouldn’t hurt to have some change from the top down. Go Keith!