Democrats appear to be coalescing around Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison as the next chairman of the DNC. Ellison is the first Muslim elected to Congress -- and there's little doubt that part of his appeal to the Left would be the inherent symbolism of resisting Donald Trump, whose controversial proposals and statements have been the subject of intense criticism. Ellison's bid may have drawn a challenger from a radical abortion activist, but he looks like the clear favorite, based on the endorsements he's racked up:
Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to Congress and a leading progressive among House Democrats, already has picked up the backing of both the Democratic Party’s left – with support from Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – and its establishment, receiving endorsements from Senate leaders Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and retiring Harry Reid, D-Nev. Ellison is firmly on the party's left – he has a fax line in his office, but his website says they will not respond to faxes "for environmental reasons." He backed Bernie Sanders during the primaries, even introducing him at the convention. “Bernie sparked the beginning of a revolution y’all,” Ellison said at his address during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. “Together we call for climate justice, racial justice, wage justice.”
The ascension of the Minnesotan to the chairman of the party would point to an even harder shift to the left by a party whose alienating brand of leftism has led to its systematic dismantling over the Obama years. The conservative group America Rising has compiled a dossier detailing Ellison's extremism, including his praise for the "inspirational" Occupy Wall Street protests, denunciations of Israel's "occupation" of the "Palestinian state," description of Iran (yes, this Iran) as "not a national security threat to the United States," and quixotic, ridiculous attempt to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney. He is also very socially liberal, supporting taxpayer funding of abortion and distinguishing himself as among the most ardent backers of LGBT rights in Congress. Some Democrats are understandably worried that their 'crippling' focus on identity politics and divisive culture war crusades have contributed to their electoral collapse. Picking Ellison would represent a double-down. But it's not just his reliably left-wing voting record that has critics crying foul. The man who may well succeed the hapless Debbie Wasserman Schultz as permanent chair of the Democratic Party has dabbled in 9/11 trutherism, offering up conspiratorial language about the 2001 terrorist attacks. Here he is comparing 9/11 to the Reichstag fire, which is an extremely loaded historical allusion:
"It's almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that...After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it, and it put the leader [Hitler] of that country in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted."
What was the Reichstag fire?
The first documentary evidence has emerged to support the view that the Nazis started the 1933 Reichstag fire that Hitler used as a pretext to establish a dictatorship. While historians have agreed that there is no substance to Nazi claims that German Communists were to blame for the blaze, there has also been a lack of evidence to back the widely held belief that Hitler's supporters burnt down the parliament building in Berlin. After poring over 50,000 pages of hitherto unexamined documents from former East German and Soviet archives, four leading German historians have now concluded that the fire was a Nazi plot. Marinus van der Lubbe, 24, a pro-Communist Dutch labourer, was beheaded by the Nazis after admitting that he started the blaze alone to encourage a workers' uprising.
The Nazis exploited the burning of the German Parliament in Berlin -- quite possibly an act of arson they themselves orchestrated -- as a pretext to jail and purge their domestic opponents in the lead-up to Adolf Hitler's historically evil dictatorship. If you follow Ellison's "logic" in drawing this parallel, Bush is Hitler, and the true perpetrators of 9/11 are at best unclear, and at worst the Bush administration itself. This is, needless to say, insane. The 9/11 slaughter was carried out by Al Qaeda, a radical terrorist group that kills 'infidels' in the name of Islam. Ellison later 'clarified' what he meant after his provocative remarks went public, but still seemed pretty upset about the backlash against his remarks several years later. Here he is appearing to gripe to 9/11 truthers that "the people who will come at you are well-organized and ready to pounce." Follow this link for summaries of other Ellison-related kerfuffles, including his defenses of Louis Farrakhan against well-founded accusations of anti-Semitism, and his receipt of political contributions from an organization listed by the feds as an unindicted co-conspirator in a major terrorism funding case. Democrats have attacked Donald Trump for being an extremist with an appetite for conspiracy theories. Now they look poised to elevate their own conspiracy-prone radical to lead their party. According to a 2006 poll, more than half of self-identified Democrats believed President Bush had some advance knowledge of the September 11, 2001 terrorist horror.