Ellison Holds Edge In DNC Race

“As Democrats head to Atlanta this weekend to vote on their party’s next chair, the race to lead the Democratic National Committee chair is coming down to its two leading candidates,” The Hill reports.

“Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has the edge over former Labor secretary Tom Perez in The Hill’s new survey of DNC members. But while both men claim they are close to securing commitments from the majority of the 447 voting members, neither candidate is assured victory.”

President Trump on Twitter: “One thing I will say about Rep. Keith Ellison, in his fight to lead the DNC, is that he was the one who predicted early that I would win!”

Politico: Howard Dean endorses Pete Buttigieg for DNC chairman.

GOP Wants Elizabeth Warren as Face of the Democrats

Politico: “Party strategists believe the liberal Massachusetts senator’s brand of politics is a serious turnoff to voters outside the coasts — and will be a liability for at least five Democrats up for reelection in states President Donald Trump easily won. So Republicans are already making plans to raise her profile — in the worst way possible — ahead of the 2018 midterms.”

“Republicans have long tried to personalize off-year election cycles, driving a wedge between vulnerable incumbents and their lightning-rod leaders. In 2010, the GOP spent $75 million on advertisements featuring then-House speaker Pelosi. To a lesser degree they tried it again in 2014 with Reid, the Democratic Senate leader, who was often featured with Obama. Both GOP wave elections were cast as referendums on Obama.”

Democrats Will Finally Pick Their New Chair

NBC News: “The Democratic National Committee will pick a new chairman in Atlanta on Saturday — the last possible weekend allowed by the party’s charter, which states the election must be held ‘prior to March 1’ following an election. The timing was intended to give party members ample time to consider their future after an unexpected loss. But the length of the race has also allowed tensions to fester between the establishment and progressive wings. And it has hobbled the national party’s ability to both respond to Trump and capitalize on the unprecedented grassroots opposition to him. For Democrats on both sides of the chairmanship fight, the election cannot end soon enough.”

Democrats Seek to Stop Impeachment Talk

Politico: “Just a month into Donald Trump’s presidency, Democratic Party leaders are trying to rein in the talk of impeachment that’s animating the grass roots, the product of a restive base demanding deeper and more aggressive investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia.”

“Democratic officials in Republican-dominated Washington view the entire subject as a trap, a premature discussion that could backfire in spectacular fashion by making the party appear too overzealous in its opposition to Trump. Worse, they fear, it could harden Republican support for the president by handing his party significant fundraising and political ammunition when the chances of success for an early impeachment push are remote, at best.”

Tension in DNC Race Coming from Outside Party

NBC News: “A largely unspoken truth about the race to be the Democratic National Committee’s next chairman is that the major candidates agree on almost all the issues -at least the ones relevant to the job they’re pursuing… They want to reinstate a 50-state strategy, focus more on organizing, establish greater transparency at the DNC and heal the wounds from the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries. Another truth: Many of the 447 DNC members who get to cast a vote for chairman later this month will be pleased if any of the frontrunners, especially Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) or former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, ends up winning.”

“Instead, most of the tension in the race is coming from Democrats and progressives outside the candidate field and DNC party membership, who view the contest as another proxy fight between Bernie Sanders and the so-called Democratic establishment, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.”

Democrats Take Cues from Activist Base

Washington Post: “After previous defeats, the modern Democratic Party typically plunged into a discussion between a moderate wing and a liberal wing. George McGovern’s 1972 loss led to an internal party battle against the New Left. After Walter Mondale’s 1984 defeat, a group of moderate strategists formed the Democratic Leadership Council. After the 2004 defeat of John F. Kerry, a new generation of like-minded strategists launched Third Way, with a focus on lost moderate voters.”

“There is nothing like that in 2017. Democrats, taking cues from their base, have given Trump’s key Cabinet nominees the smallest level of support from an opposition party in history. They have joined and sometimes led protests, organizing more than 70 rallies against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and joining activists at airports to help travelers affected by Trump’s executive orders on immigration and refugees. The scale has even impressed some Republicans.”

Trump Told Democrats ‘Pocahontas’ Is Face of the Party

President Trump taunted Democrats by telling them “Pocahontas is now the face of your party” — his insult of choice for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — during a meeting with senators earlier this week, sources told CNN.

“The sources said the Warren moment came up in the context of the Trump’s impromptu analysis of the state of the Democratic Party. Trump made his comments in what appeared to be a reference to Warren’s criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation process. Her comments prompted Republicans to invoke an arcane rule to cut her off.”

Obama’s Party Building Legacy Splits Democrats

Politico: “A painful Democratic rift over Barack Obama’s political legacy is finally bursting into the open. For years, the former president’s popularity among Democrats stifled any public critiques of his stewardship of the party — a period in which the party suffered tremendous losses at the state and local levels.”

“But now that Obama and the political operation that succeeded his campaign, Organizing For Action, have expressed interest in playing a role in the task of rebuilding, it’s sparking pitched debates over how much blame he deserves for the gradual hollowing out of a party that now has less control of state elected positions than at any other time in nearly a century.”

Jonathan Swan: “After eight years of Obama, Democrats are learning how to be in the opposition. And they’ve now got powerful new tools, lessons from the Tea Party movement, and authentic national rage to be tapped.”

Democrats Are Awake Now

Rick Klein: “President Obama is off the bench. Members of Congress are chanting with the protestors. The party has found its cause –blocking the Trump agenda. Just a week ago, talk in Washington was about how Chuck Schumer could be a closer partner to the president than Mitch McConnell. Now, the president is making fun of Schumer’s tears when he appeared alongside people impacted by the travel ban. Add that to the late-night firing of an acting attorney general over an entirely political disagreement and you have a base plus elected officials who are losing any incentive to work with the new president. Democrats can thank the president for showing them the strategy that now seems inevitable for the next four years: stand strong, and stand in his way.”

DNC Race Isn’t Helping Democrats Find Way

“Following GOP victories in the 2016 elections, Democrats have descended to their lowest levels of power in Washington, D.C., and capitals across the country since the Hoover administration. And with the Clintons and Obamas exiting the stage, there is no natural leader to take the party forward,” the Boston Globe reports.

“Unfortunately for Democrats, the race for Democratic National Committee chairman — one of the party’s most powerful open posts in D.C. — is unlikely to give much clarity to their conundrum. The DNC chairman’s race features no clear front-runner and, so far, little debate about the soul and direction of the party.”

For members: The Democratic Frontrunner in 2020

Parties Flip Flop on States Rights

Reuters: “Now, as Trump looks to undo Obama’s legacy and begin constructing his own, Pruitt and other administration Republicans are showing little interest in protecting states’ rights. Instead, they are embracing sweeping new environmental, healthcare and immigration policies that are to be imposed on all states.”

“At the same time Democrats, who over the last half-century have zealously defended sacrosanct federal laws – such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that tackled segregation – against arguments that states should be allowed to chart their own way, are now making plans to employ some of those very states’ rights positions to fend off Trump administration policies they disagree with.”

“The two parties’ switching of sides is evident across a range of issues, including so-called sanctuary cities, the environment and healthcare.”