Rep. Keith Ellison would be a controversial choice to lead the Democratic National Committee and there’s no way the Democrats can get around that. He has ties to the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan.
He really wants the job however, so he’s trying to diffuse any questions about his past. Writing on Medium this week, he dismissed any controversy as a “right wing smear campaign.” So typical.
From his post:
Listening more. Talking less.
My mom, Clida, taught my four brothers and me about her father’s work to organize Black voters in rural Louisiana in the 1950’s. We carried her dad’s legacy of activism with us. The Civil Rights Movement was present in the daily life of my family in Detroit in the 1970’s.
I’ll never forget working to get my college, Wayne State University, to divest from the government in South Africa. This was the beginning of my activism, and the fight for social and economic justice has been a constant thread in my life. My activism led me to toss my hat in the ring for DNC Chair, where I will work to reclaim our history as the Party that stands with working people.
Unfortunately, some political opponents continue to distort my record based on an old right wing smear campaign — not my work in Congress, or my vision for the future of the Democratic Party.
Surprisingly, even CNN has reported on Ellison’s past:
Rep. Keith Ellison faces renewed scrutiny over past ties to Nation of Islam, defense of anti-Semitic figures
Rep. Keith Ellison’s past ties to the Nation of Islam and his defense of its anti-Semitic leader, Louis Farrakhan, are resurfacing as he campaigns to lead the Democratic National Committee.
Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, publicly renounced his association with the Nation of Islam in 2006 after it became an issue during his run for Congress, when local Republican bloggers began publishing his old law school columns and photos connecting him to the organization.
“I have long since distanced myself from and rejected the Nation of Islam due to its propagation of bigoted and anti-Semitic ideas and statements, as well as other issues,” Ellison wrote at the time.
But several outlets have resurfaced Ellison’s past writings as he runs for DNC chair, raising new concerns about his own views and what they would mean for the Democratic Party if he were to be its leader.
Of course, knowing Democrats, they will probably dismiss all of this criticism as racism and appoint Ellison to the job anyway. Since the presidential election, they’ve seemed determined to cement their position as an insignificant minority party for a generation.