On February 4, ten hopeful candidates for the next Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) gathered at the Future Forum in Detroit. In response to a question on how the candidates would reach out to those who feel disconnected from the Democratic Party, arguably costing Hillary Clinton a chance of becoming the first woman President in US history, Samuel Ronan was quick to hold the Democratic leadership accountable for earlier sins. “We need to own that and we need to hold our fellow Democrats responsible,” he stated, referring to how the DNC unethically rigged the primaries in favor Clinton, which led to the resignation of former Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“[S]o many of those people that are disenfranchised thought that the primaries were rigged against them, and their candidates. And the fact of the matter is, it’s true,” Ronan added. He told the Progressive Army that he is disappointed that none of the other candidates seeking for the opportunity to lead the DNC are willing to acknowledge “the harsh truth which is the DNC screwed over their own members, disenfranchised an entire movement through their same tired antics.” He promised that should he be elected, he would reach out to Sanders supporters and hold Democrats accountable.
The Ohio local, a veteran with the United States Air Force, also believes that the Democratic Party must open its doors to independents and outsiders if the Party wants to have a chance of winning in the future (CNN exit polls show that Donald Trump won independents in every battleground state). He accuses the Democratic Party of failing to reach out to outsiders and new members. He argues that “if we want to bring those people back, we need to prove to them that we are willing to open the doors.”
While Ronan recognized that many Sanders supporters are disenfranchised, he warns against picking fights or pointing blame. He tells the Progressive Army that the way forward is to let that anger subside and put those energies into meaningful action and solution.
He encourages anyone who is angry or disenfranchised to be involved in the “damn” process, vote in the primaries, run for office, and help those who do. But no matter what, “we can no longer afford to be complacent as a nation, or petty, or bitter, or self-righteous,” he adds.
Ronan ran unsuccessfully to represent Ohio’s 62nd district in the House of Representatives. He accuses the Democratic Party of not providing him any support during his run, locally or statewide. If elected as DNC Chair, he promised that he “would give millennials, progressives, and Berniecrats the tools and resources they need to succeed.”
The DNC Chair candidate acknowledges that he is not well known compared to the other candidates, many of whom use their own experience as justification for their own leadership. But in Ronan’s view, leadership requires that one must have the integrity to admit when they’re wrong, and be willing to hold themselves and their team accountable; and he was the only candidate on the stage willing to acknowledge those facts.
Editor’s note: Pamela John contributed to this article.