Tom Perez just beat Keith Ellison for DNC Chair with a vote of 235-200.
It’s another road block in the progressive movement for the youngest generation that supported Bernie. Many of us see Ellison as a symbol of the Bernie movement,and although Perez hopefully will go on to do a great job, many of us are disappointed in Ellison’s loss.
Although it’s a tough pill to swallow, we need to retain perspective.
Movements do not succeed overnight. They build slowly, gaining momentum until one day they are the main dominant force. Despite today’s loss, we’re still moving towards that goal.
Maine’s progressive referendum that passed in 2016 (pot legalization, min wage increase, ranked choice voting, and a tax on the wealthy for shools), along with the flurry of enthusiasm that Bernie, Ellison, and Berniecrats throughout the country have received, and the massive resistance all over the country opposing Trump are all great examples of the progressive movement. Additionally, millennials (vastly progressive and liberal) are a the biggest generation, and more millennials are coming of public service age, and it’ll only continue as the years go by. We are still moving in the direction that we need to, despite the losses of Bernie and Ellison.
One lesson did seemed to be learned from the Hillary and Bernie primaries. Rather than rejecting the progressive left and choosing a guy like Kaine for her VP, Perez immediately, as his first motion as chair, chose Ellison for his Deputy Chair. It’s a consolation prize, but it is a classy move to help unite the party: something both candidates said they wanted to do, regardless of the victor.
Moving forward, there’s only one option for us to do: organize. Keith Ellison gave this advice on the eve of Trump beating Hillary, and the advice is just as relevant after his own loss.
Some hardcore progressives are so frustrated with the party that they are anti-Perez or even anti-DNC. To me, this is the opposite of the mentality we need to have. Embrace Perez, wish for his success (and hold him accountable for decisions) and organize at local levels to improve our communities. This is the same exact advice that we would have needed to follow had Ellison won.
Criticizing the party and threatening to leave because we don’t get our way is not how we’ll improve people’s lives. Ending the obsession about individual candidates (rather than policies, organization, events and local communities) is how we improve people’s lives.
We can’t mourn, we have to organize. And keep organizing. And not stop. I’ll be attending several events in the upcoming two weeks, getting back to work!
All opinions are my own and not representative of anyone other than me. -James