Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a leading member of the Democratic Party's progressive wing, said today that he’ll announce "real soon” whether he will run to head the party in the wake of its stunning 2016 election losses.
Ellison said on ABC News' "This Week" that the next chair of the Democratic National Committee needs to have “vision” and the ability to mobilize party members at the grassroots level.
Democrats, Ellison said, "need to put the voters first, not the donors first."
"I love the donors and we thank them, but it has to be the guys in the barber shop, the lady at the diner, the folks who are worried about if their plant is going to close -- they’ve got to be our focus," Ellison said. "They have got to be a laser-beam focus on everything we do, and everything we do should animate and empower them at the grassroots level for working people across this country. That’s how we come back."
In 2006, Ellison became the first Muslim elected to Congress and the first black member of Minnesota’s congressional delegation. He co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Ellison said Sunday that the thousands of people who have protested against Donald Trump since his election on Nov. 8 have every right to demonstrate peacefully in opposition to the president-elect's campaign proposals, such as to deport millions of immigrants and to ban Muslims from entering the country.
"These folks are telling Donald Trump that if he tries to move out on his plan to have a deportation squad, to harm Americans ... we’re going to be there to stand and say no," Ellison said. "We oppose his misogyny. We oppose his picking on people of different ethnic and religious groups. And we want to be making clear that if he tries to deliver on his word, that we will be there to say no."
Ellison said he has been talking with people “all over the country” including city council members, grassroots politicians and other Democratic Party officials in the wake of the Democrats' election losses.