Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) announced that he is in the running to serve as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Democrats and media observers have said that Hillary Clinton’s defeat at the hands of Donald Trump is a signal of party weakness have pushed for Ellison’s candidacy. A progressive, Ellison was the first member of Congress of the Muslim faith to be elected. He has also been tied to the Hamas terror organization through contributions received from various Muslim groups in the United States. The announcement came as president-elect Donald Trump designated his top campaign advisor to fill a role as political strategist at the White House.
In a statement, Ellison declared, “Democrats win when we harness the power of everyday people and fight for the issues they care about.” He added, “I am proud to announce my candidacy for Chair of the Democratic National Committee, and if given the opportunity to serve, I will work tirelessly to make the Democratic Party an organization that brings us together and advances an agenda that improves people’s lives.”
Ellison is viewed as a sure bet for the position, given that he enjoys some powerful endorsers within the party. This week, Ellison betrayed a populist tone reminiscent of one of his endorsers, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT). “I love the donors, and we thank them, but it has to be the guys in the barbershop, the lady at the diner, the folks who are worried about whether that plant is going to close, they’ve got to be our focus,” Ellison said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “That’s how we come back.”
Among Ellison’s supporters are not only failed presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, but also Democratic senators Charles Schumer and Elizabeth Warren. Also expressing support is Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). Ellison’s only challenger is former Vermont governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean, who served as DNC chairman from 2005 to 2009. Dean is the founder of Democracy for America: a progressive political action committee.
"I am proud to announce my candidacy for Chair of the Democratic National Committee, and if given the opportunity to serve, I will work tirelessly to make the Democratic Party an organization that brings us together and advances an agenda that improves people’s lives," Ellison said in a statement.
Ellison co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus and was among the very first and most vocal members of Congress to support Sanders' presidential candidacy. He also served on the Democratic Party's Platform Committee alongside other Sanders appointees. Ellison has also received the endorsement of Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, and the departing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Utah.
Progressives are blaming the moderate wing of the Democratic Party for its defeat at the hands of Donald Trump. For example, John Nichols of The Nation has written that Ellison is the right man to bear the standard of a revived and progressive party. Nichols compared Ellison favorably to the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN), a left-of-center community organizer.
In an article at The Nation, Nichols wrote, "Ellison has for months been engaged in behind-the-scenes discussions about the future of the party, and its chairmanship." Nichols added that Ellison has long argued that Democrats must go to the left and emulate Wellstone’s signature method of constant grassroots organizing instead of the “politics of money and poll-tested talking points."
Ellison’s announcement came as the media, progressives, and Democrat reacted to the news that Trump has named media magnate Steven Bannon as his chief White House political strategist. Bannon was prominent in Trump’s campaign but has been criticized in the media for supposed anti-Semitism despite the lack of evidence.
Bannon leads the Breitbart media enterprise, which has long been critical of President Obama, progressives, Democrats, and establishment media. Breitbart has been identified in establishment media as allegedly racist, anti-Semitic, alt-right, and white supremacist. The media frequently cites an article that appeared at Breitbart as evidence. Author David Horowitz, who edits the FrontPage website, asked on Monday, “When is anti-Semitism not anti-Semitism? When it comes from the Left, of course.”
Horowitz explained, for example, that CNN lambasted Bannon for a headline that labeled conservative writer Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard a “renegade Jew.” Horowitz pointed out that neither Breitbart nor Steve Bannon are responsible for the headline. “A Jew is,” declared Horowitz, “I wrote the article, which was neither requested nor commissioned by Breitbart. And I wrote the headline: ‘Bill Kristol, Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew.’” Horowitz has long been a critic of leftists, progressives, and anti-Israel campaigners. He wrote the original article because, he said, “Kristol and his friends betrayed the Republican Party, betrayed the American people, and betrayed the Jews when he set out to undermine Trump and elect the criminal Hillary Clinton. Obama and Hillary are supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization that launched the Arab drive to destroy Israel and push its Jews into the sea (that was their slogan)."
It is Rep. Ellison, Horowitz wrote, that has anti-Semitic credentials. Horowitz noted, Party, betrayed the American people, and betrayed the Jews when he set out to undermine Trump and elect the criminal Hillary Clinton. Obama and Hillary are supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization that launched the Arab drive to destroy Israel and push its Jews into the sea (that was their slogan).”
Ellison has spoken at a convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), organization that is affiliated with Hamas, the Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Justice Department has declared that ISNA ranks among the organizations that “are and/or were members of the US Muslim Brotherhood.”
Ellison accepted $13,350 from the Muslim American Society (MAS) to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca in 2008. According to the Chicago Tribune, MAS is a Muslim Brotherhood organization. The Council on American Islamic Relations
, which has been linked to Hamas, has raised considerable amounts of money for Ellison’s political campaign. Ellison has spoken at several of its events. The Justice Department has named CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case. Even so, CAIR has refused to Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist organizations. Both groups are continually at war with Israel and have been responsible for countless terror attacks, bombings, and murders. Hamas, for example, has declared “Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah.” Ellison has spoken before several groups tied to Hamas and has accepted money from them. He has not abjured his own ties to a group with clearly anti-Semitic motivations.