I suppose we should not be surprised, but this weekend the Democratic Party used the selection of the DNC Chair to once again antagonize progressives; rejecting Keith Ellison and instead installing Obama-era holdover Tom Perez in the position.
The mainstream media is presenting the contest and result as an issue of policy. From CNN to Fox News the talking point is the same — “Ellison was just too left”.
It is interesting what the definition of “left” has become. Even Ellison’s opponents would concede his most prominent strength is his ability to engage the grassroots. That the inclusion of the general public in the political process is presented as radically and condemnably partisan really says something.
Further, the issue which Ellison is most known as a champion of is worker’s rights; a living wage, health and safety, infrastructure investment and the creation of good jobs (particularly in inner cities) and the rejection of global trade deals. Here Ellison’s positions are popular within a variety of segments of the political spectrum, notably so in the Midwestern states so crucial to Trump’s victory.
Personally, I was not inclined to view the contest so much through the mainstream media’s false-dichotomy of a manicured version of left and right (or left and “moderate,” as the case may be), but rather as an opportunity for Democrats to announce or disavow their party’s inclusiveness.
When the Bernie Sanders campaign was sabotaged by the Democratic Party, many would-be Democrats were turned off and turned away. These people would be the ones who stayed home or cast their vote elsewhere on election day.
But at the time, establishment Democrats made grand pronouncements about reconciling the party after their corruption during the primary process. Hillary spoke constantly about the need to “unify the left,” and even changed her campaign slogan from “I’m With Her” to “Stronger Together.”
But, unfortunately for all involved, the Democratic Party establishment just cannot help themselves.
Once Bernie was out of the race, they subverted progressive congressional candidates around the country. They nominated Tim Kaine for vice-President. And they mockingly burned bridges before an election they were sure they would win.
Since losing the election, the party has been on the brink of an irreversible schism between progressives and ‘Clinton Democrats’. Having been humiliated — what some would call being “brought to heel” — the naming of a new DNC Chair seemed like an opportunity for the party to begin an attempt at reconciliation.
Ellison would, perhaps, have been a rather superficial appeasement. The DNC Chair is not the presidential nominee (or something like the House Speaker or Senate Whip) in that they do not so much shape the ideological direction of policy in the party but act as a fundraiser and spokesperson.
Still, selecting Ellison would have allowed the party to present an olive branch to progressives; a symbolic gesture of rapprochement.
Yet even this small concession was too much to ask.
It is almost sickening to watch the Democratic Party’s sociopathic insistence on cutting off their nose to spite their face.
As the mainstream media flails around pushing the false narrative of a left/right dichotomy, I cannot help but ask myself: How many times must the corporate Democratic Party tell progressives they aren’t wanted before they get the message?
This piece was originally published on Medium.