Rebellion in the Democratic Party: Keith Ellison eyes top spot as DNC staff berates Donna Brazile

After Trump's victory, Clinton fans apologize to Sanders supporters; DNC staffer denounces Donna Brazile

Published November 11, 2016 5:10PM (EST)

Keith Ellison             (AP/Molly Riley)
Keith Ellison (AP/Molly Riley)

The Democratic Party is witnessing an internal rebellion after the surprise loss of Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.

In the first Democratic National Committee staff meeting since the shocking victory of Donald Trump, an employee shouted in outrage at interim chair Donna Brazile, according to a report by The Huffington Post.

“Why should we trust you as chair to lead us through this?” the staffer yelled on Thursday. “You backed a flawed candidate, and your friend [ex-chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz] plotted through this to support your own gain and yourself.”

The insurgent insider reportedly continued, “You are part of the problem,” adding, "You and your friends will die of old age and I’m going to die from climate change. You and your friends let this happen, which is going to cut 40 years off my life expectancy."

Progressives have expressed outrage at the Clinton campaign this week for its narrow but thoroughly unexpected loss to President-elect Trump, who ran an overtly racist, extreme right-wing campaign.

Prominent writer and TV personality Touré also tweeted an apology on Thursday. "As a longtime Hillary supporter I want to apologize to Bernie folks," he said. "I was wrong. I now think his economic populist message could’ve won."

According to public opinion surveys, Clinton and Trump were the least popular presidential candidates in U.S. history. Clinton's former opponent in the Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders, remains the most popular American politician. During the primaries, Sanders repeatedly warned the party and its voters that he was more likely to defeat Trump than Clinton was.

This internal backlash comes at the same time that Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota is planning to run to be the new leader of the Democratic Party. Ellison, who was one of Sanders' most prominent supporters during the primary campaign, is discussing a potential bid with party insiders.

Ellison is the first Muslim to be elected to Congress in American history and he now serves as co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Sanders endorsed him for the top DNC position on Thursday. In a sign that the mainstream Democratic establishment is seeking a truce with Sanders-style progressives, Ellison was also endorsed on Thursday by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Clinton ally who will likely become Senate minority leader when the next Congress convenes in January.

"I believe that [Trump] is a fraud, and I think despite all of his rhetoric about being a champion of the working class, it will turn out to be hollow," Sanders told Minnesota Public Radio, in an interview in which he endorsed Ellison.

Former DNC chair Wasserman Schultz resigned last summer after internal emails released by the whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks showed that the Democratic Party had undermined Sanders' campaign.

Three other top DNC officials stepped down soon after. Minutes after the former DNC chair left her position with the party, Clinton's campaign hired her. Wasserman Schultz had previously served as co-chair for Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.

Sanders' campaign and his supporters have repeatedly lashed out at the DNC for its pro-Clinton bias and its perceived reluctance to embrace progressive causes.

By Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a politics reporter and staff writer at AlterNet. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

MORE FROM Ben Norton