For the Democrats, the loss of the 2016 presidential election was a particularly hard blow — one that has liberals and progressives pointing fingers at each other and blaming all manner of foes for their defeat. From Donald Trump to the Alt Right to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which was shown to have clearly fixed the primaries in favor of candidate Hillary Clinton over populist Bernie Sanders, there’s been more than enough blame to share.
Whatever the reason for the Democrats’ loss, it’s clear that the DNC did not fight long enough, fight hard enough or commit the right resources in the right places to ensure a Clinton victory in the final analysis. Even if one blames the intractable corruption of Clinton or her endless string of prior scandals, it was the job of the DNC to push her “over the top” and win over the hearts and minds of the nation’s independent voters in the battle for the country’s top job.
Now that two successive chairwomen of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donna Brazile, have proven to be as corrupt as the candidate they were promoting, it’s obvious that the Democrats need to “clean house” if they hope to retain any shred of credibility for their organization.
Some Democrats have been particularly hopeful recently about a member of their ranks who’s pushing to become the new chairman of the DNC — Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota. The 53-year-old five-term representative is not just a token Muslim, however; he was an organizer for Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, a group that’s considered by most people to be virulently racist and anti-Semitic.
While Ellison was only directly connected to the Nation of Islam for 18 months, the experience marked him and opened him up to group’s extreme views. Ellison worked with the group on its “Million Man March” on Washington and defended Farrakhan from charges of anti-Semitism in articles he wrote for his law school’s newspaper under the name “Keith E. Hakim.”
Later, after he had been in Congress for several years, Ellison claimed he had never been a member of the Nation of Islam and claimed to be ignorant of the group’s anti-Jewish stance.
Still, Ellison has been a vocal critic of the state of Israel, drawing fire from members of the Jewish community in New York. Many in that community point to pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli planks that Ellison wanted to add to the Democratic Party platform at the party’s national convention held this past July.
Ellison also reportedly posted a photograph of a sign in Israel to social media during a trip he made to that country that referred to the Jewish homeland as an apartheid state. According to Joel Mowbray, a political consultant to various Jewish groups, “His vile beliefs… ought to disqualify him [from the DNC leadership] outright.”
Ellison also has connections with the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, a worldwide organization that seeks to “destroy Western civilization from within,” to use their own words. In his election bid in 2006, Ellison took contributions from leaders of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group that Congressional Democrats say has ties to terrorism.
In 2007, Ellison raised the specter of a Republican conspiracy involving the 9/11 terror attacks. He compared Vice President Dick Cheney to Hitler, saying, “It’s almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that. After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it, and it put the leader of that country, Hitler, in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted. The fact is that I’m not saying September 11 was a U.S. plan or anything like that because, you know, that’s how they put you in the nut-ball box — dismiss you.”
Two U.S. Congressmen, Zach Wamp and Eric Cantor, wrote to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, condemning Ellison’s remarks, writing, “Even if Ellison asserts that he was not implying that 9/11 was orchestrated by the administration, the comparison he draws between Hitler and the President of United States is disgraceful. These comments inflame hatred and division at a time when we should be promoting our unity and reconciliation.”
Frank Gaffney, president of the conservative Center for Security Policy think tank, claims that Ellison is “a Muslim who has been hanging with, embracing, supporting and otherwise carrying on with the Muslim Brotherhood in America… [He’s] a guy with actual Communist ties; that’s how hard Left [he is]… And that would apparently be something that qualifies him to be a leader of the Democratic Party these days. You see a lot of it in the last campaign. I can’t make the case that that’s good for Democrats. I can’t make the case that it’s good for America. But hey, if the Democrats want to take the poster child of what I think of as the ‘Red-Green Axis’ and make him the titular leader of their party, bring it on.”
When Ellison was sworn in as a state representative in Minnesota (where he served two terms before becoming a Congressman in Washington), the legislator insisted on swearing on a copy of the Koran, rather than the Bible, as is customary.
When then-commentator Glenn Beck of CNN had Ellison on his show and asked him about this and about Muslim extremism generally, Ellison defended Islam, insisting that “Osama bin Laden no more represents Islam than Timothy McVeigh represents Christianity.”
In 2007, Congressman Bill Sali of Idaho commented in an interview with the American Family News Network that “We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes, and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers. The principles that this country was built on that have made it great over these centuries were Christian principles derived from Scripture. You know the Lord can make the rain fall on the just and the unjust alike.”
Sali was assailed for his statement, but later attempted to clarify his remarks, saying, “The idea that somehow we can move to multiculturalism and still remain the same — I think that’s a little dangerous… From my standpoint, I believe the Founding Fathers were overwhelmingly Christian, and the God they were talking about is the God of the Bible.”
Religious perspectives are not the only controversies that have dogged Ellison. In the past, Ellison has supported slavery reparations from the U.S. government, calling affirmative action a “sneaky” form of compensation and has said that whites should be more honest in their approach to the issue. Ellison has also written that he wished land be set aside in America for a black “homeland.”
Ellison has been warned and reprimanded for misclassified disbursements, discrepancies in campaign cash balances and unreported campaign contributions in the past, specifically in the years 2002 – 2004. In 2005, Ellison was subpoenaed by the state of Minnesota, sued twice by its attorney general and fined multiple times for improper campaign filings.
Despite all of these marks against him, Ellison has the endorsement of some of the most powerful Democrats in the Senate, including Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in his bid to be his party’s next chairman.
Ellison is also backed by progressive filmmaker Michael Moore, who said Ellison was “the exact way to go” — which for conservatives is almost as sure a bet as you can make that Ellison is exactly not the way to go, at least as far as Republicans are concerned, for many reasons.
Nonetheless, there’s likely little the GOP can do about who the DNC chooses for its chief except to call that person out publicly for their crimes and misdemeanors, which in Ellison’s case will likely be plenty.
All that being said the GOP should treat lightly with their criticisms of Mr. Ellison before he is elected. Because putting a obviously racist, anti-Semite, pro-Islamic terrorism man in a leadership position of the Democratic party will only further the GOP’s future in Washington and in creating legislation for all Americans. Ultimately he is the man who is going to ensure the GOP party continues to grow and stays in power in Washington.