Ellison: I think the DNC should never, ever, enter into a relationship with anybody in a primary, which advantages that one candidate above any others. I don’t think that should ever happen again. We need a policy that says we will never do that again.
Foran: Do you think at this point you’re confident that would never happen under new leadership? Or are you saying that should be set it in stone?
Ellison: I would never tolerate it, but I would have to know about it, you know what I mean? That’s sort of a thing too. I think we need a policy.
Foran: As an assurance so people know that will never happen?
Ellison: Not only is the policy an assurance, it’s also a notice. So, if you’re a candidate and you’re thinking, I’m going to get an inside track, you’re not getting one. We don’t do that.
Foran: Let’s talk about the unity reform commission at the DNC. Do you feel confident in the process underway now that’s supposed to lead to reform?
Ellison: Look, I just hope that everybody understands that we have a chance to win back the confidence of the American people. I hope we take that chance.
We are working together on reform, and I’m fully committed to the unity commission recommendations. I don’t think you should have 700 or so superdelegates that one candidate can secure before any primary can take place at all. So we need superdelegate reform.
We need to open up the primaries. Now I’m not saying that there should be completely open primaries, but I’m saying there shouldn’t be any state that has a primary where the waiting period between your sign up and the election is like six months, eight months. That shouldn’t happen. It should be a fairly short time period if any. I believe in same-day [voter registration].
People want real reform. Open the door, make it so people can participate. And make it so that nobody gets an inside track. We have to do it, and we have to do it very conspicuously.
Foran: Do you think Republicans in Congress will be able to pass tax reform?
Ellison: The GOP tax bill is a scam. It’s simply a scam to redistribute the wealth from working and middle-class people to the richest people in the country.
You better believe I’m worried about it. I’m worried about it, but I think we can win. It depends on us mobilizing mass numbers of Americans all over this country to say no you’re not going to starve our government and cut all our important services.
Foran: There was a lot of grassroots mobilization in response to Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but health care is such a visceral thing. Do you think it’ll be harder to mobilize that kind of engagement for taxes?
Ellison: Yes, I do but I think we can certainly do it.
Foran: Some Democrats in Congress are calling for President Trump to be impeached. Is that a distraction?
Ellison: I think that he totally deserves to be impeached, but given the present composition of Congress, it’s not about to happen soon, so why not focus on things that are right in front of us, like fighting this tax bill, like making sure we extend DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], like making sure we get high open-enrollment numbers. I think those things are more important.