On CNN, liberal activist Anthony Kapel “Van” Jones said that “the Clinton days are over” in the Democratic Party, and pointed to two emerging leaders as the future of a more progressive political party focused on identity politics. Naturally, he chose two racial minority members of Congress — and the extremely controversial first Muslim congressman.
“You have to understand, I think that the Clinton days are over,” Jones told CNN’s Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “This idea that we’re going to be this moderate party … those days are over.” Jones called for a new generation of Democrat leadership, touting California Attorney General Kamala Harris (an anti-free speech activist) and Representative Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress and a candidate for the Democratic National Committee chairmanship.
“I think that Keith Ellison is very important because he is somebody who represents the progressive wing of the party,” Jones declared. “On thing that happened, when Hillary Clinton had a chance to make a VP pick, she didn’t pick someone from the progressive wing, which made it much harder to heal the wounds with the [Bernie] Sanders and Elizabeth Warren wing. Keith Ellison represents that wing very, very well.”
Keith Ellison also represents a long-term threat to the Democratic Party’s success as well. Ellison has ties to the Nation of Islam (which he later denounced), has received contributions from members of the radical front group the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), attacked Vice President Dick Cheney’s actions as “the very definition of totalitarianism, authoritarianism and dictatorship,” and compared the Bush administration’s reaction to the September 11 attacks to Hitler’s use of the Reichstag fire.
In 2009, Ellison met with Mohammed al-Hanooti, whom FBI documents identify as a top U.S. fundraiser for the terror organization Hamas. They met at a campaign event for Virginia House of Delegates candidate Esam Omeish, who had previously called for Palestinians to follow “the jihad way” against Israel.
Last month, the Anti-Defamation League — no conservative organization — declared Ellison “disqualified” from becoming DNC chairman based on remarks the congressman made about Israel in a 2010 speech. The group argued that Ellison’s remarks about Israel suggested anti-Semitism, an unfortunate trend among Muslims worldwide, and one in keeping with Ellison’s old praise for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, whom the congressman himself later denounced as anti-Semitic.
Indeed, Democrat lawyer Alan Dershowitz has threatened to leave the Democratic Party should the DNC elect Ellison as its chairman. “If they appoint Keith Ellison to be chairman of the Democratic Party, I will resign my membership to the Democratic Party after 50 years of being a loyal Democrat,” Dershowitz declared on Fox Business last Friday.
But beyond Ellison’s particular issues, his candidacy also represents a doubling down on Democrats’ losing strategy in 2016. According to an election post-mortem study by Barna Group, President-elect Donald Trump won every single Christian demographic, while Democrat Hillary Clinton won every non-Christian demographic, including voters with a non-Christian faith, 71 percent of whom backed Clinton.
While the non-Christian vote has increased in the last few decades, Christians still provide a majority of the electorate. The Democratic Party cannot afford to write off Christian voters.
But Van Jones did not just mention Ellison as the poster boy of a new Democratic Party leadership. The liberal activist also pointed to Kamala Harris, the attorney general of California who was elected to a U.S. Senate seat in November. He called Harris “unreal” because she is such a good representative of identity politics. “She’s got African-American roots. She’s got Asian roots. She’s female. She’s tough. She’s smart. She’s going to become a big deal,” Jones argued.
Regardless of her allegedly impressive pedigree, Harris is on the record opposing free speech. The California attorney general is notorious for her efforts to restrict the free speech of nonprofit groups. She attempted to use the power of the state to prevent a conservative nonprofit, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Foundation, from raising money unless it turned over a list of donors. A district court struck down her order in April.
If the identities of donors were to be revealed, harassment would almost surely follow, in a situation which U.S. District Judge Manuel Real argued would “chill” free speech. “The Court heard ample evidence establishing that AFP, its employees, supporters and donors face public threats, harassment, intimidation, and retaliation once their support for and affiliation with the organization becomes publicly known,” Real wrote.
Anonymous donations to political nonprofits constitute free speech, as they allow individuals to support a cause. Anti-speech activists like Harris argue that the public has a right to know which individuals support such speech, but America has a long and rich tradition of anonymous speech, going back to the Federalist Papers and Benjamin Franklin’s anonymous writings. Indeed, if the early patriots had not been able to write under pseudonyms, the British government could have arrested them for treason, preventing the independence of the United States.
Harris, in her lust to shut down AFP Foundation, was willing to violate longstanding free speech protections. If she is the future of the Democratic Party, God help us all.
But on another note, the Democrats have indeed come to represent the anti-free speech party of unfettered liberal activism. From the IRS scandal, where the federal government targeted conservative groups in an effort to stop their political advocacy, to the witch hunt against “climate deniers,” and the increasingly stifling culture of political correctness on college campuses, free speech is under attack like never before. Indeed, this is one of the key reasons Donald Trump, with his “tell it like it is” selling-point, won the Republican nomination and the general election.
With any luck, the American people will see these radicals for who they are, and if the Democratic Party is foolish enough to promote Ellison and Harris, they will pay dearly at the ballot box. The 2016 election represented a defeat for non-Christian Democratic racial identity politics, and people like Van Jones are doubling down on the same ideas that cost them dearly last year.