Keith Ellison has been deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee for less than one year, but the Minnesota congressman already believes he's diagnosed the party's problems.
Writing in the Huffington Post this week, Ellison reflected on the legacy of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. "He didn’t always win, because an organized group of businessmen pushed back at every turn, but the people knew he was on their side and was fighting hard for them," Ellison wrote. "If we, as Democrats, want to understand why we’ve dropped to the minority in both houses of Congress, lost control of the White House, and fallen from 31 governorships in 2008 to 17 today, we need to think seriously about that."
I think he's probably right, and it's where a surprising contrast emerged between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton last year, but Ellison's suggested solutions would only fuel the Democrats' sprint from the political center.
In his Huffington Post essay, Ellison called on his party to clearly communicate it believes healthcare is a right, support a $15 minimum wage, and allow every child to "attend college without financial hardship." From a hardcore progressive like Ellison, I don't think it's unfair to read between the lines and assume he believes Democrats can recapture national power by advocating for single-payer healthcare and free college, both of which he's supported openly for years.
Ellison's installation in a position of power at the DNC was one of many hints the party would eventually divine the cure for its ills between the coasts was to lurch further Left. As I listened to him eagerly praise the radical concept of "intersectionality" at Netroots Nation in August, it seemed safe to say that process was in motion.
Is there anyone left to intervene?