I just got off the phone with Congressman Keith Ellison to let him know that I am proud to endorse him for Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Ellison is an extraordinary candidate to be the next Chair of the DNC, and I believe the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in require extraordinary measures.
That is why I call upon California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton to call a special one-day meeting so that we can consider, and potentially endorse, a candidate for Chair of the DNC.
We have an impressive array of candidates, each of whom bring needed strengths and perspectives as we rebuild the Democratic Party. I considered each candidate carefully, and have come to the conclusion that Congressman Keith Ellison is the right choice to lead us forward.
My decision became ever so clear as I watched the clock count down the last moments of the Obama Presidency and recognized the sorrow I felt that our country will no longer have the hope that he provided to remind us of the potential that we have as a nation, and as I regained a little of that hope yesterday as millions of us took to the streets in protest.
With this incoming era, it is not enough to be anti-Trump. It is not enough to point out the horrible policies of the racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, homophobic, incoming administration. At this time, we need a leader at the national level who can unite our Party behind a truly progressive agenda and maintain the enthusiasm and passion of newly mobilized activists across our country.
We are fortunate here in California to have a strong Democratic Party that is at the forefront of the fight for progressive policies. We have won every statewide race two cycles running, and even against last year’s backdrop that was the Republican takeover across the country, California Democrats held every Congressional seat and even picked-up seats in our state legislature. But winning races is not the end goal – these victories will enable California to continue to be a national leader on immigration, the environment, workers rights, criminal justice reform, supporting the middle-class, reducing poverty, ensuring fair taxation, and maintaining our commitment to the health and education of all of our people. The successes of the Democratic Party in California are a roadmap back to power for Democrats nationally.
And Congressman Keith Ellison understands this dynamic. That is why one of his first official trips as a candidate for Chair was to the CDP Executive Board Meeting in San Diego last November. Our General Session was delighted to hear him deliver a powerful and impressive speech, and I personally had the chance to sit down with him for over an hour one-on-one to discuss how to move our Party forward.
We discussed our backgrounds and our views on the challenges ahead. We discussed what kind of relationship he envisioned having with the State Parties across the country, and I impressed upon him my belief of the imperative need for a 50 State Strategy.
For those of you who have been following the race, you know that he doesn’t just have a 50 State Strategy, he has a 3,143 county strategy!
Well, as someone who has worked in the trenches of the Democratic Party at the grassroots level as the Chair of a County Democratic Party for the last 16 years, and as a Democratic Club President for 7 years prior to that, I feel like that’s almost reason enough to support him right there.
Representative Ellison shares my belief that the power and the passion of our Party lies in the hands of our activists and volunteers. Only the most successful DNC Chairs we have seen understand why we dedicate our lives to the fight and keep in mind who we’re fighting for.
But there is one more reason I would like to share with you. Congressman Ellison is committed to making sure all of us have a place in the Democratic Party. He will be a Chair for all of us–from veteran delegates first inspired by the presidential campaigns of John and Robert Kennedy to the energetic and enthusiastic new activists mobilized by the recent campaign of Bernie Sanders.
I must admit I had concerns about media reports that attempted to create controversy and division amongst us about Congressman Ellison, most notably on his support for Israel, Palestine and the two-state solution, and for past relationships from his youth.
But in my meeting with him and in follow-up calls over the last few weeks, he assured me in unequivocal terms that he supports the two-state solution, and has proven that he will be forceful and aggressive in pushing back against media distortions and attempts to create disunity within our Party. Right now what we need is to be united in the important work in front of us: resisting Trump and demanding a progressive way forward for the future.
At the conclusion of our meeting, he and I stood together and hugged, me as a stoutly observant Jewish man, and he as a deeply religious Muslim man – agreeing that the path to peace in the Middle East requires Jews and Muslims to be able to live side-by-side in peace, with their respective sovereignty. We both understand that only a perspective that embraces and lifts up all that is good in our world, and rejects the anger and hate tearing us apart, is able to one day bring an end to the pain and suffering gripping the region.
I believe it’s imperative that California Democrats unite to make our progressive voices heard–and we must do so in a way that makes DNC members throughout the country take notice of our call to action.
I ask you to join me in my call to Chairman Burton to request a special one-day endorsement meeting, and I sincerely hope you will join me in supporting Congressman Keith Ellison for Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Eric C. Bauman
Vice-Chair, California Democratic Party
Chair, Los Angeles County Democratic Party