Sunday, November 20, 2016

2020 Vision

Making news this week is Keith Ellison’s bid to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Fresh off of their party’s latest electoral route, many Democrats are asking how they can reconnect with the priorities of the average, middle class American voter located in the wide open spaces outside the urban cores.

The answer? Keith Ellison, a man who’s spent his entire career in a one-party urban core district where his election is guaranteed and he doesn’t have worry about connecting to anyone outside the most extreme of his own side.

The Democratic party has a fever, and the only prescription is more liberalism.

Doubling down in the face of a bad trend is the wager of a true believer. It’s the same bet that the British Labor party has placed, after unexpected losses in 2015, by choosing Jeremy Corbyn to lead them. And it’s the bet the Democrats almost placed already by flirting with a Bernie Sanders nomination.

I suppose it could work. If it does work for Ellison, with say, big gains in the House and Senate in 2018 (or with continued losses and a quadrupling down by Democrats on liberalism), perhaps DNC chairman isn’t his last stop? In 2020, the Democrats will be looking for someone to rebuild the Obama coalition? Why not Keith Ellison?

If that does happen, you can say you hear it here first. But not in this vintage 2016 blogpost. Instead, it was 7 years ago in this space, an Ellison candidacy in 2020 was foretold. In fact, up until now, it was the only blog post residing under the label 2020 Election.

From the March 18, 2009 post, Ready for Some Real Change?, a an interview Ellison for a Voice of America (Urdu) documentary series, Muslims' America:


VOA: Is there any possibility that I might be talking to the future first Muslim-American President of the United States, keeping in view that 2020 is not that far away
ELLISON: Only God knows that. But let me just say this, I love the job I'm doing and I believe that my goal is to be the best representative of the 5th Congressional District of Minnesota I can possibly be. And that's all I'm worried about right now.
VOA: And that means that you might run? 
ELLISON: It means that I'm not making any plans to run. I'm just trying to keep my eye on the ball. Like, do they play cricket there in Pakistan? 
VOA: They love cricket. 
ELLISON: Well, see, if you're going to try and hit that ball with the bat, you've got to watch that ball, right? You don't want to look past the ball, you want to look at the ball, right? So I'm just keeping my eye on the ball. 
VOA: I'll take that as a 'yes'.  
ELLISON: (laughter) 

Speaking of laughter, Ellison might not be the only Minnesotan hitting the campaign trail in 2020. According to The Hill, the top 10 potential Democratic candidates for President include:

 Amy Klobuchar 
One of Clinton’s more vocal congressional supporters, the Minnesota senator’s name is a regular in future presidential speculation too. Like President Obama, she’s a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and has spearheaded work to curb sexual assault in the military along with Gillibrand and others. She’s very popular in her home state and has a background in law enforcement as a county prosecutor. Along with Gillibrand and Warren, Klobuchar, 56, is part of the group of women who could attempt to succeed where Clinton fell short in breaking the presidency’s glass ceiling.
Al Franken
A less common pick, the former Saturday Night Live cast member could be an interesting foil to the reality show superstar turned President Elect. Franken, 65, has sought to ditch the “funny man” reputation since he arrived in the Senate, but has started to open up a bit more recently as he stumped for Clinton and bashed Trump. Some are buying into the early speculation, with the “Draft Al Franken 2020” super-PAC registered on Wednesday. 

Then after one of these three are elected, maybe we Minnesotans can finally focus on getting the Vikings to win a Super Bowl.