Things got messy late Sunday between Minnesota DFL Chair Ken Martin and a whole lotta online leftists.
The beef began when Donavon Indovino Cawley, treasurer of SD 50 DFL, issued the following subtweet:
Another user, @BokononsProphet, piled on and claimed that Martin hadn’t been associated with a winning campaign since 1992. Martin countered by citing his more recent resume, and, eventually, opted to address the meat of the matter: On Wednesday, the DFL’s State Executive Committee voted overwhelming to reject the the Democratic Socialist Caucus’s inclusion in the party, with Martin serving as a key oppositional voice during the meeting.
“It wasn’t event close, but I am sure that wont stop you from saying it was ‘rigged,'” Martin tweeted. “Seems to be a pattern.”
More squabbling ensued, before Martin addressed @BokononsProphet in his final tweet of the evening:
“Good luck with that narrative…and maybe you should get off Twitter and start contributing. Our Democracy is on fire and you’re busy hiding behind some anonymous Twitter account trolling people. Get a life loser.”
“The DFL is a big-tent party. We believe people can and should build power through the party around issues, causes, and candidates they support,” Martin said Monday. “Obviously if folks in that [DSC] caucus can build the support for it, then maybe they can achieve the support for it. There are no obstacles that stood in their way of having a fair process here. They were heard, and unfortunately at this time, the party has said very clearly that they’re not prepared for this caucus to move forward and be chartered. It’s unfortunate how this was characterized.”
Both Indovino Cawley and @BokononsProphet declined to comment, and the latter declined to be identified. Sam Doten, chair of the aspirational DSC, has vowed to keep fighting for the left-wing caucus.
Robin Wonsley Worlobah, one of three democratic-socialists who won Minneapolis City Council seats this fall, observed the saga playing out online. To her, the entire ordeal symbolized the leftist vs. centrist fight for the future of the Democratic Party, an ongoing conversation to which Martin is no stranger.
“For me, when I saw this dynamic on Twitter, what came to mind was the Democratic Party at large,” says Wonsley Worlobah, an independent who didn’t seek the DFL endorsement in her Ward 2 race. “As a Black woman and a leftist, I immediately thought of Fannie Lou Hamer, Shirley Chisholm, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, the rise of the The Squad, folks like Nina Turner, and just realizing they collectively represent 57 years of the left and Black people trying to do this project that has failed time and time again: either reforming the Democratic Party from the inside or taking back the party. We’ve not seen our material needs and interests transform under Democratic leadership—I don’t wanna fight my party, I’d rather fight for the people.”
Judging from last night’s exchange, neither of those fights is likely to end any time soon.