From the “Who Needs Friends Like This” file …
Former Presidential candidate and perennial crazy uncle Bernie Sanders has not given up his quest to shift the Democratic Party even further to the left. Sanders – who has thrown his support behind Rep. Keith Ellison for the party chairmanship – released a statement this week regarding former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent endorsement of Tom Perez for the spot.
“Joe Biden is a friend of mine and I have a lot of respect for Tom Perez. In terms of the next chair of the DNC, however, the question is simple: Do we stay with a failed status-quo approach or do we go forward with a fundamental restructuring of the Democratic Party? I say we go forward and create a grassroots party which speaks for working people and is prepared to stand up to the top 1 percent. That’s why we have to support Keith Ellison”.
It’s a typically strong statement from Sanders, and it shows the same clear division between factions of the party that split the primary vote between Sanders and Hillary Clinton, and which is believed to have made a significant contribution to Clinton’s failure in the general election.
Unfortunately for Ellison, the divisive message runs contrary to the would-be DNC chair’s continuing theme of inclusion within the party. While Sanders’ strong support among younger liberals is seen as key to moving the Democrats forward, his continued and at times Trumpian denouncement of the status quo is certain to be a point of concern for Dems like Ellison, who hope to find consensus among the party extremes in order to avoid a repeat electoral disaster in the 2018 midterms.
The one thing that lefties do have in common is their resistance of President Trump and his administration – although that resistance wasn’t nearly enough to overcome the Trump Train in the general. Now three months removed from the Democrats’ Titanic, will that common thread of resistance be enough to heal the wounds from a bitter primary battle that left Sanders supporters feeling they’d been cheated by their own party?
Only time will tell, but the upcoming DNC chair selection process could go a long way toward answering that question.