The Hill is reporting that the Democratic National Committee has booted Arkansas native Vincent Tolliver out of the race for DNC chair after he wrote an email criticizing the Muslim faith of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota).
The Hill reports they received a Jan. 5 email from Tolliver in which Tolliver said Ellison shouldn’t be DNC chair because of Islam’s views on homosexuality. Ellison, who was the first Muslim elected to Congress, is a leading contender in the DNC chairman’s race, his candidacy endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rep. John Lewis, and others.
From Tolliver’s email about Ellison:
His being a Muslim is precisely why DNC voters should not vote for him. Muslims discriminate against gays. Islamic law is clear on the subject, and being gay is a direct violation of it. In some Muslim countries, being gay is a crime punishable by death. Clearly, Mr. Ellison is not the person to lead the DNC or any other organization committed to not discriminating based on gender identity or sexual orientation. I’m shocked [the Human Rights Campaign] has been silent on the issue. A vote for Representative Ellison by any member of the DNC would be divisive and unconscionable, not to mention counterproductive to the immediate and necessary steps of rebuilding the Democratic Party.
Tolliver was born in Lake Village, and currently lives in Atlanta. In 1996, he ran as the Democratic candidate in Arkansas’s 4th district, losing to incumbent Republican Jay Dickey by over 53,000 votes.
Tolliver has reportedly been uninvited to a forum for candidates for the DNC chair, scheduled to be held in Detroit on Feb. 4. At a previous forum held in Houston in January, Tolliver blamed Hillary Clinton’s loss on her decision to pick Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as a running mate, saying she should have picked a VP further to the left like Sanders.
In a letter to DNC voters published in mid-January, Tolliver put forth a number of ideas he would institute if elected DNC chair, including a “Democrat” phone app (“Millennials love apps!” Tolliver wrote), creating a “Liaison for Angry White Males,” and encouraging supporters of the party “to write DEMOCRAT (in crayon, color sharpie, blue markers, paint, or whatever is available) across the tops of t-shirts. Below DEMOCRAT should be ‘I love’ and below that should be a personal musical favorite. For me, it could be Dolly Parton, Beyonce, Metallica, Kendrick Lamar, Aretha Franklin, Barbara Streisand, Taylor Swift, Adele, Outkast, Tim McGraw, Jay-Z, etc. It doesn’t really matter who you musically love. What matters is the t-shirt begins the conversation which begins the work, which promotes and REBUILDS the brand―-the Democratic Party.”