October 31, 2017
Democratic National Committee Deputy Chairman Keith Ellison can’t name the leader of the Democratic Party, and he thinks that’s a good thing.
The esteemed congressman from Minnesota’s 5th congressional district appeared Sunday on MSNBC, where anchor Kasie Hunt posed a very simple question.
“So congressman, who is the leader of the Democratic Party?”
Ellison couldn’t give a straight answer.
“Well, you know, we’re lucky to have a lot of leaders,” he said. “I was in North Carolina this weekend, there’s a woman named Vi Lyles running for mayor of Charlotte, I’d say she’s a leader.”
Hunt tried again.
“You’re saying a leader, you are not saying the leader,” Hunt said. “Is there anybody that stands out?”
“Of course, a lot do. Nancy Pelosi stands out. Chuck Schumer stands out. … I’d rather have a bunch of leaders, a lot of folks offering leadership to this country, than just one big person who everybody bows to. I don’t think that’s a strong way to do, I mean, because look, the work is just too vast,” Ellison said.
He tried to frame the lack of clear leadership at a positive.
“We have got to reach out to every zip code in this country. We have to engage Americans in every walk of life. And fight in every single race, municipal races, statehouse races, county races, and we got to get ready for 2018 and 2020,” he said. “We need a lot of leaders for that. That’s why we trained about 145 people this summer and reached out and talked to over 1 million people with our summer canvass program and we talked to about … to many folks in this country. Had many days of action.
“The point is, raising leaders. We need a lot of leaders … we need them in Peoria, we need them in Fremont, we need them in Minneapolis,” he continued as Hunt smirked in the split screen. “We’re in the business of trying to attract and grow leadership, so we’re not into the one big leader thing.”
Hunt immediately called Ellison out.
“Congressman, I just have to say, I don’t feel like you are answering my question,” she said. “This would have been a relatively easy answer in 2008 when Barack Obama was clearly someone who got a lot of notice.”
Hunt pointed out Republicans lacked a clear leader going into the 2016 election, which resulted with President Trump. Ellison conceded that a party with a president in the White House, “that person is sort of the leader,” then went back to his talking points about “cultivating leadership.”
“That’s why we are training people all over the place to be leaders, to be organizers,” he said. “It really is true that the Democratic Party has …”
Hunt cut to the chase.
“Can any of these people beat Donald Trump?” she questioned.
“Oh, yes, absolutely,” Ellison said.
“Who?” Hunt shot back.
“You name them, there’s a bunch of them,” Ellison dodged.
“But how you’re going to beat Donald Trump is by going to the grassroots and organizing the vote, increasing voter turnout everywhere. Not having any just battleground states and ignore all the others, but do engagement in every state so even in areas we don’t win we close the margin, we close the gap.
“That’s the way we’re going to beat Donald Trump,” he said. “I’m not looking for a messiah, I’m not looking for one big person.”
Ellison alleged he refuses to name the leader of the Democratic Party because “we have a lot of good people and we have a process we have to go through” to select a nominee to face Trump in 2020.
“I don’t want to advantage or disadvantage anybody,” he said.
This article was posted: Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 7:37 am