Supporters of Bernie Sanders felt slighted during the Democratic primary with many feeling the system was rigged. It didn’t help perceptions that Donna Brazile fed Hillary Clinton debate questions before the debate and it’s true that the Democratic establishment heavily favored Clinton over Sanders which leaked emails (hacked by Russians) revealed.
On Saturday night the Democratic party elected former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez as their new leader over Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison. It would be a fantasy world if the Republican leadership choice came down to a Hispanic and an African-American Muslim. For the party of diversity, not so much.
The perception of a rigged system and a party that’s ignoring the more liberal and millennial element will continue after the election of Perez. While Perez has bonafide liberal credentials, Ellison was the candidate who supported Sanders early in the primaries (second congressman to do so), and was endorsed by him for the leadership position.
For those Sanders supporters, whose support for Clinton in the general election was lukewarm, and those who didn’t support her at all, this is another slap in the face as Perez won by only 30 votes. They feel the party, which has lost nearly 1,000 seats from the White House to state houses in the last decade, is continuing the establishment’s pattern which has given them so many losses.
Perez has his work cut out for him. The Democratic party is the party of diversity. They better play to it.While they do need the establishment and start to appeal to rural whites, they can’t ignore the voices of minority and millennial voters. They better give them a seat at the table. Healthcare, free college, and even legal marijuana, needs to be added to the platform and fought for vigorously while also opposing Trump’s travel ban on Muslims and his racist deportation policy among other things.
In the era of Trump those voices and votes are needed now more than ever. They better pay attention to The Resistance.
Personally, I think Ellison, a voice of The Resistance, would have been the best choice for the party of the future. I also think he would have been a bad choice in that he’s an elected official. People who hold office should not be simultaneously holding a partisan position. Do you work for the party or your constituents? How do you vote and sponsor bills while being a spokesperson for an entire party? Do you ever buck the party in your position as an elected official or do you just ignore the job your district and state sent you to do (which a lot of representatives do anyway).
The Democrats have the numbers on their side to win elections. So why aren’t they winning elections? What they’ve been doing obviously is not working. It is now Tom Perez’s job to figure it out and make a change.
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