Wall Street Journal
The outpouring of protests that have filled U.S. streets has encouraged Democrats, but the party is still uncertain and at odds over who should lead it in the era of President Donald Trump.
The doubt and division were in evidence Saturday in Detroit, where party members gathered at a forum of candidates for the next chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee—a nine-person field that has yet to winnow to a consensus choice, three weeks before the party election is to be held.
Amid concern that the two leading candidates—former Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota—are too closely identified with the 2016 presidential primary’s opposing factions, some of the longshots attempted to get a fresh look as an alternative that could damp intraparty squabbling.
“If we come out of this DNC chair selection process with a sense that half the party just got defeated or rejected, we’re going to have a hard time taking it to the real opposition, the Republicans,” said South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a late entrant into the field of candidates. “The wolf isn’t just at the gates. The wolf is in the gates.”
Mr. Ellison is a favorite of the party’s progressive wing and has been endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the former 2016 presidential candidate who brought a wave of new, younger voters to the polls. Mr. Perez is favored by many veterans of the Obama administration; on Wednesday he won the endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden.