Democratic National Committee (DNC) deputy chairman Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) waded into the growing outrage over the party organ's "rigging" of the 2016 primary in a statement on Friday, arguing that Donna Brazile's explosive account of the committee's moves to stack the deck against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and in favor of Hillary Clinton "cannot simply be dismissed."
Highlighting the necessity of "real reforms," Ellison said it is Democrats' "responsibility to acknowledge that millions of Americans still feel hurt and betrayed by the events of the 2016 presidential primary."
"We can't allow this idea to persist that any candidate has an inside track," Ellison added, "because the DNC must be an impartial and transparent organization that welcomes all people who share our core values of economic justice and human rights for all."
With his public remarks, Ellison joins a chorus of progressive organizations and Democratic lawmakers—including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)—calling for a systemic overhaul of the DNC's structure, agenda, and message, particularly as the 2018 congressional elections approach.
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Ellison argued that Democrats will only have electoral success—particularly with the 2018 and 2020 elections on the horizon—if people feel that the party's "nominating process is on their level, and that their concerns are being taken seriously."
Read Ellison's full statement:
As leaders of the Democratic Party, it is our responsibility to acknowledge that millions of Americans still feel hurt and betrayed by the events of the 2016 presidential primary. We can't allow this idea to persist that any candidate has an inside track, because the DNC must be an impartial and transparent organization that welcomes all people who share our core values of economic justice and human rights for all. Democrats will retake power if people truly believe we are a party that values every voice and every American, and that can happen only if our core supporters feel like our nominating process is on their level, and that their concerns are being taken seriously.
Donna Brazile's account cannot simply be dismissed. We must heed the call for our party to enact real reforms that ensure a fair, open, and impartial nominating process in elections to come. I'm committed to working with Chairman [Tom] Perez to make the DNC more transparent and accountable to the American people, whether that's by ensuring that debates are scheduled far ahead of time or by guaranteeing that the terms of joint fundraising agreements give no candidate undue control or influence over the party.
Additionally, when the DNC Unity Commission presents its recommendations on reforming our party, we must listen and act. If we do, Democrats can move forward and retake power at every level of government across the nation.