In many ways, the battle over the DNC Chair is shaping up to be a reprise of the Bernie-Hillary wars. That’s unfortunate, because those fault lines are often artificial, not rooted in any semblance of reality of practicality. Lanny Davis versus Tad Devine? Okay, that would be qualify. But that’s not how this DNC chairmanship race is shaping up.
On one side we have Rep. Keith Ellison, who is a personal hero of mine, and would be a great spokesperson for the party. I have nothing bad to say about him, other than the fact that he’d be another part-time chair when the party deserves full-time attention. Ellison already has a great perch at the top of the House Progressive Caucus, and the person who whips that caucus up into a national fighting force in the mold of the Republican Study Group will be a national hero. Ellison can do that. And really, I’ll be perfectly happy if he wins the DNC chairmanship. He’d be great.
But I’m casting my lot with NARAL President Ilyse Hogue.
There are policy reasons. Her agenda delivers a great deal on what I’d love to see happen—from forging ahead with our national-majority broad-based coalition, to focusing on combating our rigged system, to reforming the primary calendar, to refocusing on rebuilding the state parties.
But there’s another, more fundamental reason: Ilyse hails from the netroots, having spent years at MoveOn and Media Matters, as well as Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network. She has been a staunch defender of women’s rights at NARAL in the face of vicious right-wing vitriol, the worst possible kind. She has spent all her time in activism outside the party apparatus, frustrated as we are at its failings, but realistic about its possibilities. In other words, not only would she be a full-time chair, but she’d come to the job from the same place most of us reading this today would.
Check out her platform. I’ll be happy to share Ellison’s platform when he releases his as well, as I hope all the candidates adopt this agenda (so we, as Democrats, all win, no matter who wins the chairmanship).