Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) campaigned for Rep. Keith Ellison to be the next Democratic National Committee chairman on Wednesday night, casting the Minnesota Democrat as the new face of a party in need of a dramatic overhaul.
Speaking at the American Federation of Teachers headquarters in Washington, D.C., in an address that was live-streamed by progressive groups across the country, Sanders made the case that Ellison’s liberal vision is the way forward for a party whose ranks were decimated in the November election.
“Now is the time for real change in the Democratic Party, to revitalize the Democratic Party and to bring in people who have not been welcomed in the past,” Sanders said to a packed room of about 100 enthusiastic labor union members donning blue shirts.
“We should not be afraid of new energy and new faces,” Sanders said. “We should welcome and embrace new energy and faces. Now is the time for a chair of the Democratic Party who has a very different vision of the party than those in control today. Now is the time for Keith Ellison to become chair of the Democratic Party.”
Ellison on Wednesday night showed why he is a rising star on the left.
He is a folksy, engaging and natural speaker with a style that rouses his supporters, and he laid out Democrats’ path forward under a President Donald Trump.
“We have got to reset the future of the Democratic Party on a basis of grassroots activism,” Ellison said to cheers. “On the basis of working people striving every day to make a better life for themselves. African-Americans, white Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, Jews and Muslims and Christians and Hindus or people of no faith at all. Folks like you and me. Folks like us need to say the Democratic Party has to be democratic and that starts with getting leadership in there to fight for that.”
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