It's not exactly a secret the Democratic party is currently in shambles and fighting to regain its strength in the wake of a devastating election.
Democrats are divided, struggling to effectively challenge President Donald Trump and do not have a consistent message — or even clear leaders — at present.
But New York Assemblyman Michael Blake, a veteran of former President Obama's campaigns, is looking to help the Democratic party find its voice and rebuild as it gears up to vote on the party's leadership in late February.
Blake, born and raised in the South Bronx and the child of Jamaican immigrants, is running for vice chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Blake recently took some time to speak with Elite Daily about why he chose to run, what he thinks he can bring to the DNC and how young people can get politically engaged beyond skipping brunch to join marches (which is still a good start).
In Blake's view, he had a responsibility to step forward and run:
This is definitely a "moment of challenge" for both Democrats and the country, but also a moment to reevaluate and emerge stronger, in Blake's opinion.
Blake understands many communities across the country feel neglected right now, and the Democratic party needs to do a far better job engaging with people from a wide array of backgrounds.
The DNC emerged from this election with a tarnished image.
Senator Bernie Sanders was very critical of the DNC throughout the US presidential campaign, and it was frequently accused of being biased toward the campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
To top it all off, DNC staffers' emails were hacked and released by WikiLeaks, which only furthered distrust of the organization due to some of the controversial revelations that emerged.
Long story short: The DNC is viewed by many as the epitome of dysfunction and elitism in Washington.
Whether this is a fair characterization or not doesn't eliminate the image problems Democrats have at the moment, and Blake is cognizant of this. He said,
Those who criticized Clinton for not engaging more with voters in Rustbelt states would likely agree with Blake.
Despite how unpopular Trump is, the DNC definitely has a long way to go in terms of regaining the trust of many voters, including progressives.
Blake seems to view these challenges as a chance to revamp the Democratic party. He said,
When asked what he'd characterize as the DNC's biggest issue, Blake stated,
Blake, who's been involved in politics for many years, is encouraged by the amount of engagement he's seen from young people since the election, especially following the inauguration.
But, he's urging people to take it all even further:
He recognizes things are disconcerting right now, and he vehemently disagrees with Trump's agenda thus far.
The New York assemblyman referred to Trump's controversial executive order regarding refugees and people from seven predominately Muslim countries as "racist" and "xenophobic" without hesitation:
Blake also thinks Democrats need to step it up big time when it comes to challenging Trump.
But, despite the obstacles the country and the Democratic party currently face, Blake remains positive.
Blake definitely seems to share the optimistic disposition of his former boss.
Blake views what's happening in the country right now as more of a welcome challenge than cause for despair.
Regardless of the outcome of the DNC election, it's safe to say Blake will continue to be a very active voice in the Democratic party.