Steps to move the Democratic Party in a more progressive direction

I spent some time today trying to figure out how the Democratic National Committee elects its chair. I signed a petition in support of Rep. Keith Ellison as chair, but I want to do more — I want to actually call some decision-makers because that gets their attention more than a petition. I (along with everyone from Chuck Schumer to Bernie Sanders) believe Ellison can move the party in a more grassroots, progressive direction. The DNC chair will play a leading role in directing the Democrats’ strategy for making gains in the House and Senate in 2018 — one of the few ways we have to limit Trump’s power.

Here’s what I’ve found:

Here’s a recap from 11 years ago that describes how the election works (I’m assuming it’s basically the same process today — if you know better than I do, please correct).

Basically, there are about 400 members of the DNC. Every state party chair has a vote, as well as the highest-ranking member of the opposite sex in that state party. Another 200 delegates are allocated to the states, and 75 are appointed by the party chair (I’m guessing in this case, that’ll be Donna Brazile, the interim party chair). And then there a bunch of other votes that go to party bigwigs (see link for details).

So, if you want to throw your weight behind Ellison, here’s what you can do:

Everyone can contact: Donna Brazile, interim party chair (this is the only contact method I could find — please let me know if you have a better method)

Illinoisans should call: the state Democratic party at 217–546–7404. Our Democratic party chair is Speaker Mike Madigan and our vice chair is Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough. People in other states can find their party chairs here.

If you have time, you should: Look up your county’s Democratic Party and tell them to urge party leadership to support Ellison — if it’s Cook County, call (312) 263-0575.

I’m going to make these calls tomorrow and urge them to support Ellison because he’ll fight for working families, build a strong grassroots party, and has a track record of supporting civil rights and holding Wall Street accountable. I know it’s an opaque and annoying process but I urge you to take a few minutes, find your party leaders, and make these calls. If you’re not in Illinois and need help finding your party leadership, I’m happy to figure it out for you.

This post has been updated to reflect more accurate contact information.