I don't honestly know who the next chair of the Democratic National Committee will be, but I can tell you who it won't be: Howard Dean has been kicked to the curb already, and Rep. Keith Ellison's national career is all but over.
Keith Ellison came to Colorado seeking to cement his position as the front-runner for Democratic National Committee chairman. But the Minnesota congressman ended the week in worse shape than when it started.
Just hours after Ellison’s role as the favorite was thrown into question by a stinging condemnation of his past statements about Israel by the Anti-Defamation League — a move Ellison and his allies vigorously rebutted — former Chairman Howard Dean dropped his comeback bid and bowed out of the race, scrambling an already complicated contest.
The three remaining announced candidates for the chairmanship — Ellison, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley, and South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison — spoke to state party officials from across the country for nearly two-and-a-half hours here at the Association of State Democratic Chairs meeting, exhaustively laying out their hopes for a rejuvenated party in displays that appeared to leave the DNC membership just as unsure of its next leader's identity as when it entered the room.
The result is a race that’s even more of a muddle, with the likelihood of additional candidates jumping in prior to February’s vote. Ellison himself appeared to recognize his tenuous position, and pledged in his strongest terms yet to consider giving up his House seat if he gets the chair’s role. He pleaded with attendees to keep an open mind as he insisted the DNC would be his top priority, while the other candidates — and Dean, in his pre-recorded video — insisted over and over that the decimated party needs a full-time chair.
I know "Dems in disarray!" is the obvious joke here, but it's not a joke. There aren't any real candidates for the job at this point. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was an unmitigated disaster. Donna Brazile lost all confidence with Clinton's defeat. The state party chairs who are running haven't shown themselves to be exactly competent. Honestly, South Carolina? New Hampshire? These are early primary states who think they should be running things, not actual leaders.
It's a mess, and it's going to be a long time before the Dems can get their act together. Which is too bad, because a united front to resist Trump is absolutely needed in order to keep the country in one piece.