The Democrats lost the presidential election this year due to a shortage of votes from two main groups: African-Americans and working class Whites in the industrial Midwest. Thus, you might think that in choosing a new DNC chairman, Democrats would select someone with appeal to both groups. After all, the chairman will be the face of the Democratic party for a while.
The Democrats, though, likely will select either Keith Ellison or Tom Perez. Both, by the way, have been on Power Line’s radar for years. Scott exposed Ellison’s racist background before anyone else noticed it. I have pointed to Perez’s fetish with racial quotas for years. (See various links below.)
Being a villain on Power Line certainly will not disqualify anyone from heading the DNC. But can the Democrats get back on the good side of working class whites by making a former supporter of Louis Farrakhan their leader?
Ellison doesn’t see a problem. He says that a forceful party using live streams and social media could overcome “smears.”
But how? Ellison defends his indisputably racist past on the grounds that he was young at the time (a talking point that Dave Weigel parrots in his report about the Ellison-Perez race). But as Scott has pointed out, Ellison continued his role as an advocate and activist on behalf of a racist, anti-Semitic hate cult as a mature adult making his name in Minneapolis as an attorney. Ellison’s other defenses don’t hold up any better.
To this day, moreover, Ellison is a strong supporter of Black Lives Matter, a radical outfit with rabidly anti-police views that all too often lionizes thugs like Michael Brown. Alignment with Black Lives Matter doesn’t seem like the way for Democrats to win back white working class voters in stats like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Neither, come to think of it, does alignment with CAIR.
Even assuming that the Dems build the forceful apparatus Ellison contemplates — one that effectively harnesses live streams — surely there will be better uses for it than trying to show that the DNC chairman only supported Louis Farrakhan for so long. Why not select a chairman who isn’t this vulnerable?
Perez is less vulnerable than Ellison. As far as I can tell, he has never hated Whitey. He just wants to deprive Whitey of opportunities and benefits because he is white.
It’s doubtful that Perez ever met a racial quota he didn’t like. For example, he has argued for discrimination in favor of African-American candidates for med school admission, and expressed his eagerness to “examine whether a similar case could be made in other professions.”
Perez was also involved in the Holder Justice Departments’s decision to drop the case against all defendants in the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case, except for the defendant who actually carried a weapon at the polling station. This decision may have been legally defensible — I think it was — but it smacked of racial politics.
Moreover, as I discussed here, Perez appears to have lied about his involvement in the decision. At a hearing before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on May 14, 2010, Perez was asked whether “any political leadership [was] involved in the decision not to pursue this particular case.” His answer, under oath, was an unqualified “No.” However, a federal judge found that documents “revealed that political appointees within DOJ were conferring about the status and resolution of the New Black Panther Party case in the days preceding the DOJ’s dismissal of claims.”
I acknowledge that, although the DNC chairmanship is a high profile job for those of us who follow politics closely, voters in the heartland (and just about everywhere else) normally don’t have a clue as to who chairs either political party. Normally, therefore, the risk of selecting a figure who is at profoundly at odds with mainstream thinking and/or who has a checkered past isn’t nearly as great as this post implies.
But things may be different under Donald Trump. The new president may be quite willing to take on Keith Ellison, say, in a Twitter war. And he is more than capable of finding words that will badly tarnish Ellison in the eyes of a great many Americans.
The fact that the Democrats are serious about making Keith Ellison the DNC chair, and that Tom Perez looks like his main rival, strikes me as remarkable, if not very surprising.