This Saturday, February 25, the members of the Democratic National Committee will make an extremely important choice: they will elect the new national chair of our party, the person who will lead the opposition to Trump and will be tasked with setting us up to win the 2018 midterm and 2020 presidential elections and take our country back.
I could not be prouder to support Minneapolis’ own congressman, and my good friend and great ally, Keith Ellison, to be our next DNC chair.
I’ve been sharing with mayors around the country the three big reasons why I as a mayor support Keith for DNC chair, and why I believe they should, too. (You can help, too: go to https://keithfordnc.org/howyoucanhelp to find out how.)
1) Keith gets cities and gets mayors. Keith is a child of cities: Detroit, where he grew up, and Minneapolis, where he has been a community leader for us for almost 30 years. Keith knows that the economic vitality and demographic diversity of our cities are the future of our country. Well before Trump, Keith was already a great partner to me: he has consistently worked by my side on urban issues ranging from transit to housing to immigration to zero waste, and been a fierce champion of Minneapolis in Congress.
Now in the time of Trump, our cities, our communities, and our people are under attack precisely because of our vitality and diversity. Keith knows that cities are the front line of resistance, and has stood unwaveringly with me in defense of Minneapolis and our communities as Trump has come after us. I know that as DNC chair, Keith will partner with all mayors to defend our cities and our people, and to nurture our cities as the sites of resistance that we are and will continue to be. Keith gets us.
2) Keith works harder than anyone, and wins votes for everyone. Keith works harder to earn votes than anyone I’ve ever seen, by organizing relentlessly and running a permanent campaign — particularly in historically low-turnout communities — every month of every year, in cycle and out of cycle. When Keith was first elected to Congress in 2006, our Fifth Congressional District sadly had the lowest voter turnout of any of Minnesota’s eight congressional districts. Now, we proudly have the highest.
This work has paid off for our whole state in our last two elections for governor in 2010 and 2014, as well as in the 2008 Senate election where our great Senator Al Franken prevailed in a an extremely close recount, all of which we won with the key assist of huge margins in Keith’s Minneapolis-based congressional district. As a result of Keith’s non-stop organizing and turnout, Minnesota has been a shining star of progressive policy and politics at a time when right-wing politicians have led other states like Wisconsin into very dark times indeed.
And when the odds are longer, Keith doesn’t quit: he doubles down. Here’s some proof: in 2012, Barack Obama won Minnesota by a margin of 225,000 votes, and won Keith’s congressional district by a margin of 185,000 votes. In the much tougher year of 2016, Hillary Clinton won Minnesota by 43,000 votes — but won Keith’s district by 205,000 votes. In other words, in a year when Democrats underperformed nationally and statewide, we did better in Keith’s district. This is a direct result of Keith’s model of organizing and turnout, which he will bring as DNC chair to cities and states across America.
3) Keith has the talent to unite our party at this moment and for the future. Keith’s congressional campaign slogan is “Everybody Counts, Everybody Matters.” It’s neither a throw-away line, nor a poll-tested one: it’s a core value for Keith that he lives every day, and it’s one our party needs right now.
For many years now, Keith has shown us he possesses two extraordinary and complementary political talents: he can energize our base like no one else, and he can connect with and engage those who are disaffected — at a time when energizing our base and engaging those who are disaffected are the primary charges of our party.
Now, some say we can’t do both: we need to focus on one and just cross our fingers about or even write off the other. I say Keith can do both, because I’ve seen him do it. He brings together, engages, and unites the people from every conceivable background who have made Minneapolis and our suburbs their home: he folks them where they are, shows them a more inclusive and more prosperous future, then gets them engaged in building it through non-stop organizing and relentless, data-driven turnout. Keith has proven in our city that this formula works. I can’t wait for him to bring it to the rest of our country.
The DNC chair election this Saturday is probably the most important election that most people have never heard of — for me as mayor, so much is riding on it, so please join me in supporting Keith Ellison for DNC chair. There’s still time to help: go to https://keithfordnc.org/howyoucanhelp and do what you can to put Minneapolis’ great, proven, progressive leader at the head of our party and the head of the movement to win our country back.