Ellison or Bust?
By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
20 February 17
here is a lot of talk these days about drafting Bernie Sanders into a new political party. I do not rule out the possible need for a new political party if the political revolution fails to transform the Democrats. I think that Robert Reich has it right. “The Democratic Party can no longer be the same; it has been repudiated,” he said on a conference call with members of the progressive grassroots group Democracy for America in November.
“This has been a huge refutation of establishment politics, and the political organization has got to be changed.… If the Democratic Party can’t do it, we’ll do it through a third party.”
I agree, but now is not the time to come to that conclusion. I may be more open to the discussion if Keith Ellison is not elected as chair of the Democratic Party next weekend.
The movement to transform the Democratic Party that Bernie Sanders launched less than two years ago is making progress. In state after state new leaders are taking charge, and many of them are supporters of Bernie Sanders. Abandoning that momentum now would be like stopping a few feet from the finish line of a marathon.
I understand that many are frustrated by the rigged system. Bernie knew when he entered the race that he was taking on the Democratic Party establishment and that the system was rigged against him. I think that is why he is showing patience in his effort to open the door of the Democratic Party to Progressives.
Next weekend in Atlanta we will elect a new chair of the Democratic Party for the first time since Senator Sanders launched his campaign. Many states have not yet chosen new leaders and are poised to select Berniecrats. For example, Oregon will soon be choosing a new state chair.
It will likely be a supporter of Bernie. California recently held assembly district elections where over 600 progressives won seats. They will soon be electing a new State Chair.
Sanders won 22 states in the Democratic primary. He not only got delegates to the convention in that process, but progressives also took other positions in the party. We have not had enough time to finish this effort. Give the political revolution time to succeed before encouraging people to form a new party.
All over the country, Democratic State Central Committees are full of new blood. Many people are active in politics for the first time. I am tired of hearing people say that the Democratic Party is a lost cause. They point to past efforts like the Rainbow Coalition and Dennis Kucinich. No past effort has come as close as we are now to taking over the Democratic Party.
No other effort had Bernie Sanders leading the way. The Draft Bernie movement argues that his universal popularity can lead to the successful formulation of a new party. I agree that he is a once-in-a-lifetime leader. That is why he can succeed where others have failed.
There is a lot of work to do. The Democratic Party needs reform. The process is under way, and now is not the time to abandon our efforts. If we fail, forming a new party is an option. But Bernie still believes we can win. Let’s not give up now.
Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador’s slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush’s first stolen election. Scott moved to Des Moines in 2015 to cover the Iowa Caucus.
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