Speaking at the University of Vermont Friday, Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota was asked by a student how the party can move forward after the divisive 2016 primary between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
A recently uncovered memo showed the Clinton campaign signed an agreement with the Democratic National Committee to coordinate communication, strategy and fundraising in the fall of 2015.
Ellison, who supported Sanders in the primary, said members should organize locally and avoid cynicism, but also demand accountability.
"In my opinion it wasn't fair," Ellison said. "It wasn't fair to Bernie and it wasn't fair to millions of Americans. There needs to be an acknowledgement of that. I'm saying that. I don't care who doesn't like it."
Ellison also called for reforms to the presidential primary system in the Democratic Party, including the party's system of superdelegates — party leaders who are given a vote in the national convention, outside of delegates chosen by voters.
Senator Sanders had also been slated to speak at the UVM event, but was not able to fit it into his schedule, according to the chair of the state Democratic Party.