Keith Ellison’s ex-girlfriend is accusing him of verbal and physical abuse. The accusations include stories where Ellison dragged his ex by her hair from their bed and berated her in front of her children constantly.
Ellison has denied the charges and recently won his primary election for Michigan’s Attorney General.
Ellison was a progressive favorite to takeover as DNC chair but lost to centrist liberal Tom Perez. He represents the Berniecrat wing of the party and was a popular choice because of his support for Bernie and his stance against the party’s use of superdelegates.
Groups that have endorsed Ellison such as Our Revolution have made no comment about the allegations. Bernie Sanders who has also supported Ellison strongly in the past, has made no public comment about the allegations either.
I have supported Ellison and was one of the people hoping he would end up taking over the DNC. I now rescind any support I had for him in the past and think he should step down.
Ellison should resign immediately. There is always the possibility that the allegations are false, that they are an attempt at character assassination for either political or personal reasons. However, such a defense will only make the socialist and progressive dialogue more problematic. We do our movement no favors when we ignore such allegations or excuse them for any reason.
We also do ourselves no favors if we pick and choose which victims to believe. As a whole we must put victims first and listen to their stories because deciding to come forward with accusations like this can be traumatic in of itself. Much like when Al Franken was accused liberals leaped to his defense because his accuser was a Trump supporter. Progressives and socialists should avoid this folly at all costs. Ellison has every right to deny the charges and prove his innocence, but not at the cost of the movement.
If Ellison is allowed to continue running in the public sphere while these allegations are coming forward it can only hurt the movement. It will play into liberal and capitalist fodder about sexism on the left, that socialists and progressives don’t actually care about all the victims of domestic abuse or sexual crimes. This is inherently not true because to be a socialist means to be a feminist and therefore to pursue the end of rape culture, and such a culture will only be defeated if we put victims first. Even if Ellison is innocent, continuing to run and serve in public office while such allegations are coming forward will hurt progressive causes. It should not be on the movement to prove Ellison innocent it is on Ellison himself.
Ellison’s ex deserves justice, and Ellison deserves a chance to prove his innocence, and the movement deserves to be a place free from enabling abuse. If we do not take the accusations against him seriously we run the risk of alienating other victims of domestic abuse from our cause. This would ultimately kill the movement in my opinion and therefore it should not be a burden placed on us. If this is truly a personal matter, as Ellison says it is, then he should be the one to deal with the consequences, not the progressive movement.
In short, Ellison should resign and end his campaign immediately. The charges against him are for him to face, not for the movement to whitewash, ignore, or excuse.