Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) rallied behind Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) at the headquarters of American Federation of Teachers (AFT) where Ellison pitched his progressive campaign to become the Democratic National Committee’s new leader.
Ellison was introduced by Sanders who praised the congressman for his opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership and leading the grassroots effort to defeat it.
“Right now we have the support of more than 600,000 men and women in every state in this country who have signed petitions to demand Keith Ellison become the next chair of the democratic party,” Sanders announced.
He then told the D.C. crowd that the new goal was 1 million.
“We are going to need a political party that has the guts to stand with working families, has the guts to take on the big money interests who control, to a large degree, our economic and political life,” Sanders said, describing this moment in American history as “perilous.”
Ellison echoed Sanders’ statement in his own address.
“If there was ever a moment when people who love this country and the people in it need to step up and do everything they can to improve the lives of their fellow Americans, that moment is right now,” he told the crowd, before launching a full-on anti-Trump rant.
“If I told you you had an opportunity to fight for people who felt vulnerable and scared in this Trump America, would you do it? If I told you you had a chance to stand up and fight for working people, would you do it? If you told you you could be the hero of folks who pour the cement, who teach the classes who take care of the folks in the hospital… I mean the hard working people of America, would you step up and do something for them?” Ellison asked.
The congressman then urged the audience, wherever they were on the “spectrum of grief” to accept the results of the election, protect each other and work tirelessly towards economic and social justice.
“It’s hard to imagine somebody like Donald Trump being elected president, but in a few days he will be the president,” Ellison lamented, but added that “this may very well be the moment that American people fought back to reclaim their democracy.”
Ellison’s plan to win? Look beyond democratic or even blue-leaning areas.
“We need a 3,007-county strategy,” Ellison announced as Sanders and AFT President Randi Weingarten stood beside him. “We need a town strategy. We need a precinct strategy. The resources need to be moved down closer to the voter… if you got same-day registration in Minnesota, it’s because the state says so. If you’ve got a lifetime ban on voting for felons, like they do in Florida, it’s because the state says so.”