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Still reeling, Democrats begin battling for future

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., a prominent progressive and the first Muslim elected to Congress, has emerged as an early contender to become chair of the Democratic National Committee, backed by much of the party’s liberal wing.

WASHINGTON >> Still reeling from a devastating defeat in last week’s election, Democrats are beginning the process of charting the direction of their party in the Donald Trump era.

With Hillary Clinton and her team staying out of the public eye, liberal politicians have begun jockeying for control of the party’s future. While they all backed Clinton, they’re now pushing for a serious shift in the party’s policy positions, financial resources and grassroots organizing to focus more on motivating their base and winning back the white working class voters who went for Trump.

“We have to do a lot of rethinking,” said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who mounted a fierce challenge to Clinton in the primary.

“Democrats are focused too much with a liberal elite, which is raising incredible sums of money from wealthy people,” Sanders said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

The Democratic National Committee, the last bastion of party power in Washington, is quickly emerging as ground zero for the fight.

After losing the White House and Congress — and likely the ideological tilt of the Supreme Court — the Democrats’ new chief likely will be one of the party’s most visible faces in politics, making the role a far more influential post than it was during the Obama administration.

Already, around a dozen Democrats’ names have been publicly floated to succeed interim chairwoman Donna Brazile, who replaced Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in July after she was caught up in a hacking scandal.

Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, a prominent progressive and the first Muslim elected to Congress, has emerged as an early contender, backed by much of the party’s liberal wing.

He’s also picked up support from several key Democratic leaders, including outgoing Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Reid’s likely replacement, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer. Ellison was expected to officially announce his bid on Monday. His supporters argue that Ellison’s faith would send an important signal about the party’s commitment to inclusivity during the Trump administration.

“My friend Keith Ellison is a terrific leader and a strong progressive who knows how to get things done. Now is the time for new thinking and a fresh start at the DNC. Now is the time for Keith,” Reid said in a statement on Sunday.

In interviews on Sunday talk shows, Ellison pushed back on concerns that he’d be unable to balance party responsibilities with the politics of his day job in Congress — a problem some Democrats believe hampered Wasserman Schultz.

“There’re a lot of places that I can serve,” he said, in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ”I’m looking for a place to be of use and benefit. And every single Democrat in this country better be thinking the exact same way.”

Ellison is far from the only contender for the job. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean announced his intention Thursday to reclaim a post he held during the Bush administration. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, DNC National Finance Chairman Henry Muñoz III, and South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison have also said they’re considering bids.

Others are pushing for a Latino leader, arguing that the growing demographic group is crucial to the party’s future and should be represented at the highest levels of its leadership. Outgoing Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego and California Rep. Xavier Becerra are said to be weighing a bid. Jason Kander, an Army veteran who lost the Senate race in Missouri to Roy Blunt on Tuesday, is also said to be considering a run.

The contest comes at a time of deep unrest for the party — and the country. Anti-Trump protests continued this weekend with thousands of demonstrators turning out in cities across the country. And post-election polls showed a significant minority of Clinton backers question the legitimacy of Trump’s win.

Top party leaders are urging Democrats not to despair.

“It’s time to brush ourselves off, get back in the arena, and get ready to fight,” President Barack Obama said in an email to supporters inviting them to join a call with him on Monday evening about moving forward.

Clinton, meanwhile, has offered little advice to supporters after her concession speech on Wednesday. On a weekend call with top donors, she blamed her loss largely on the FBI’s decision to revive its examination of her email accounts.

She made nearly no mention of the other factors driving Trump’s victory, including flaws within her own message, and offered her backers little guidance on moving forward, according to donors on the call.

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  • The party that slanted the Democratic elections towards Hillary and shafted Bernie Sanders. I would have voted for Bernie for President and he would have beat Trump easily, but the Democratic wanted to shove Hillary down our throats and because of that, they lost the election to a most undeserving person. Shame on you Democratic Party.

    • …you may be right,but I don’t think his “Free Stuff” platform would have worked,since Congress holds the purse. Ultimately what the DNC /Debbie Wasserman Shultz did to Bernie Sanders and what it continued doing,via Donna Brazile is nothing less than Shameful! How do you restore trust and integrity in the DNC,if they keep doing the same Sneaky things “over and over again” ?

      • But the fact that the DNC rigged their own primary left a poor taste in everyone’s mouth.

        The RNC hated Donald Trump, but they still respected the peoples’ vote and let him win the nomination fair and square. Surprisingly, he ended up winning the presidency.

  • the presidency is not the prize.

    as long as socialist democrats have a strangle hold on politics, media, entertainment and education the culture of corruption will continue to erode american society.

    you can see that today, after trump won, in how the narcissism of the left blamed everyone but themselves for america’s rejection of blatant corruption and condescending patronization the democrat party leaders have towards their voters.

    in order to make a real difference in america’s future, more conservatives need to be elected to politics, join the media, be vocal in the entertainment field and teach in all grades and college levels.

  • Democrats are focused on the national level, yet in the last ten years the real shift has been among the states, where literally hundreds of legislative seats have shifted from Dem to GOP. It is at the state level where we have lost governors, US Reps, and US Senators. Local media is diminishing as a source of information and focus. Social media, which transcends local affiliations often, contributes to the notion that the world revolves around Washington. It is not that Hillary “underperformed,” (a showbiz view) it is that the Dem Party has become heavily urban and federal. Bernie and Warren speak mostly of national issues. Time to go back to the grassroots.

    • Yes, How many times has Christies’s state been downgraded economically? How well are those republican governors doing? I don’t think they are actually doing all that well. Shall we compare NJ to say California which is now under a democratic governor? I don’t think you would want to. lol

      • Option 1: Move to Australia….. as you said you would!
        Or?
        Option 2: Boots,you can avoid or substitute (lol) going to Australia and just move to California they are planning in seceding the union! Unless ???
        Hawaii does the same thing as California (Haaaaaaa!),which I doubt,because this would open the Door to True Hawaiian Sovereignty….I think you should choose option 2.

      • eh boots how you doing!!??
        Ahhh still not over it yet huh?
        The sooner you accept the loss the sooner you’ll get reasonable….maybe lol
        btw..ellison is a devote socialist from what I heard…is he your guy?

    • Ellison is absolutely the wrong guy to head the DNC. A rabid follower of Farrakhan. I think democrats should be tired of blacks trying to take control of their party, Obama, Loretta Lynch, Donna Brazile. as well as has beens Sharpton,Jackson etc. Time for a Latino to take over the DNC, forget the blacks.

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