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Story highlights

Jones says the Democratic Party needs more progressive leaders

He adds that incoming Sen. Kamala Harris will be a star in the party

Washington CNN —  

The Clinton family’s grip on the Democratic Party has come to an end and it’s time for a new generation of leadership to lead the party, CNN political commentator Van Jones said.

“You have to understand, I think that the Clinton days are over,” Jones told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview that aired Sunday on “State of the Union.” “This idea that we’re going to be this moderate party that’s going to move in this direction, that’s going to throw blacks under the bus for criminal justice reform, and for prison expansion, that’s going to throw workers under the bus for NAFTA, those days are over.”

He added that Kamala Harris, a California Democrat who was just elected to the US Senate, is “unreal.”

“She’s going to be out there defending those DREAMer kids because they’re a big part of her constituency,” he said. “But she’s got African-American roots. She’s got Asian roots. She’s female. She’s tough. She’s smart. She’s going to become a big deal.”

Jones also called Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress who is eying the Democratic National Committee chairmanship, “important” because he’s progressive.

“I think that Keith Ellison is very important because he is somebody who represents the progressive wing of the party,” he said. “One thing that happened, when Hillary Clinton had a chance to make a VP pick, she didn’t pick someone from the progressive wing, which made it much harder to heal those wounds with the (Bernie) Sanders and Elizabeth Warren wing. Keith Ellison represents that wing very, very well.”

He continued, “You also, I think, have to remember that Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are going to be there on the Senate floor every day. That’s going to be an important part.”