You may have missed CNN’s forum last night hosting the gang of eight candidates to lead the Democratic National Committee. The election will take place in Atlanta this Saturday. The members of the DNC will pick their chairman on Saturday and then they will rest.
The race has been of interest to us because of the candidacy of Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison. Ellison has the support of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. If Ellison were to prevail in the race, he would step down from resign from his seat in Congress. That’s the up side for those of us in Minnesota. On the down side for the rest of the country, the DNC would be led by a former member of the Nation of Islam who abandoned the hate cult only when it became an inconvenience to him after his first (unsuccessful) run for public office — among other notable items on his resume. Ellison represents the rising forces in the Democratic Party.
Ellison takes the bait on CNN correspondent Dana Bash’s question regarding impeachment: “I think that Donald Trump has already done a number of things which legitimately raise the question of impeachment. On day one, he was in violation of the emoluments clause….So yeah, I think we need to begin investigations to not go after Donald Trump, but to protect our Constitution and the presidency of the United States – to make sure that nobody can monetize the presidency and make profit off it for their own gain.”
Ellison’s most formidable opponent is former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez. Perez’s candidacy represents the Obama administration and the Democratic status quo. Vice President Biden has endorsed Perez. So have Eric Holder and other former administration officials. I think Perez must have been recruited to run in response to Ellison’s candidacy by Obama himself. Ellison has an outré background that is problematic. In substance, however, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between them.
It is difficult to assess the state of the race. The Hill’s Ben Kamisar and Owen Eagan have identified the stances of 240 DNC members, either through their private responses to a survey circulated over the past week or from public endorsements. They report that of those who responded, “Ellison leads with 105 supporters to Perez’s 57. The remaining major candidates have less than a dozen supporters each, while more than 50 DNC members remain undecided.”
By contrast, the AP’s Lisa Lerer and Bill Barrow find the race to be tight. In their assessment, Perez has a slight lead.
Politico provides yet another assessment here this morning. Having conducted an email survey of the 447 DNC voting members and follow-up interviews with close to a dozen national and state Democratic leaders, Politico also finds a tight race, but with Ellison holding a narrow advantage. Their prediction that the contest is likely to last through several rounds looks like the only sure bet.
Here is the CNN promo for last night’s forum. It seems odd to me that CNN gave up two hours of its air time to the forum. The DNC includes a total of 447 voting members. That is the effective audience for the candidates in the debate. Does public interest really warrant the air time, or is CNN working to become the home of opposition to the Trump administration?
Quotable quote from candidate Pete Buttigieg (mayor of South Bend, Indiana): “Donald Trump has gotten to be like a computer virus in the American political system. He ties up our minds and processing power with these equations that don’t have solutions and brain overheats and breaks down. Yes, we have to take the fight to him, but we can’t let him dominate our imagination.”