Our local blue dog Democrat, Collin Peterson, lost to yet another incompetent, unqualified Republican. It granted another seat to the Republican party in congress, which sounds like a bad thing…except that it should also help unify the Democrats, disposing of a discordant regressive voice from their ranks. Here’s an interesting analysis.
The Journal editors assert that these losses– including other reactionary Blue Dogs and New Dems from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party “will reduce Mrs. Pelosi’s legislative running room and perhaps test her party control. Her strategy of refusing to compromise on a Covid-19 relief bill may have cost seats, and now she’ll have a harder time getting a blue-state and union bailout through the Senate. If Mr. Biden wins, the GOP will be better poised to retake the House in 2022.” Or maybe the exact opposite. Losses of fake Democratic careerists like Brindisi, Kendra Horn (OK), Xochitl Torres Small (NM), Max Rose (NY), Joe Cunningham (SC), Abby Finkenauer (IA), Collin Peterson (MN)– as well as for virtually all the Blue Dog and New Dem candidates the DCCC and House Majority PAC wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on– will allow the Democrats to better define themselves, if they choose to, as a vehicle for the legitimate interests of working families, rather than as the other party of corporate whores.
The losses allow the Democrats to better define themselves, if the leadership chooses to. Somehow, I don’t see Pelosi/Schumer taking any steps in the right direction. They won’t see that conservative Democratic candidates are losers.
Another thing the more conservative leadership would like to do is pretend the Green New Deal and other progressive social policies were a recipe for disaster. They weren’t. They’re our path to victory.
The fight over the role of progressives in sinking (or not) Democrats’ chance at a robust unified government began late last week in a call leaked to Politico. On that call, Rep. Abigail Spanberger claimed she almost lost her race in Virginia because she was accused of wanting to defund the police (she does not). House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn reportedly said, “we are going to run on Medicare for All, defund the police, socialized medicine, we’re not going to win.” That’s led some progressives to push back; notably, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who pointed out every co-sponsor of Medicare for All won reelection and that Democrats are still running like its 2000 instead of 2020.
Earther looked at the Green New Deal, another bête noire of conservatives and Fox News, to see if it sank Democrats chances. The bill has 101 co-sponsors in the House and 14 co-sponsors in the Senate. Of the 93 House co-sponsors who ran for a seat in Congress’s lower chamber in 2020, only one lost reelection.
Using Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voting Index, Earther found four House co-sponsors who are in districts that range from very slightly Democratic to moderately Republican. Of those four, three decisively won their reelection bids, including Reps. Mike Levin, Jahana Hayes, and Peter DeFazio. The fourth, Rep. Tom Suozzi, is currently behind in his race in New York by about 4,000 votes, but is projected to “easily win” once all mail-in ballots are counted, according to Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman. [As of this date, that election has not been called, but he seems to be behind, so maybe not]
Outside of Suozzi, the only Green New Deal co-sponsor to lose is Florida Rep. Debbie Murcasell-Powell. She lost what was a moderately Democratic-leaning seat, though it was previously represented by Rep. Carlos Curbelo, arguably the most outspoken Republican on climate change prior to losing the seat in 2018 to Murcasell-Powell.
This is quick-and-dirty analysis aligns with other data showing that representatives who have sponsored and voted for progressive policies were not punished by voters. An analysis commissioned by the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats and shared with Intercept Washington, DC, bureau chief Ryan Grim shows that Democratic House candidates in more liberal swing districts won by greater margins than more conservative ones.
Basically, the people who actually back progressive policies came through the election largely unscathed and, in many cases, fared better than their more conservative Democratic counterparts in swing districts. And lest we forget, Kamala Harris, one of the Senate co-sponsors of the Green New Deal, is now vice president-elect. To be fair, there were also high-profile examples of progressive Democrats running on a Green New Deal failing to pry swing-ish districts out of Republican hands, notably the Texas race between organizer Mike Siegel and Rep. Mike McCaul, and a post-mortem on that race is certainly something to watch out for.
Here’s the deal: progressive Democratic policies are winners. Voters prefer them when they are not labeled as Democratic policies, because what the voters really dislike (reinforced by conservative media) is the Democratic Party. Maybe if the party actually embraced what they ought to be, a green/labor party, rather than working so hard at being a centrist/corporate party, they’d have more authenticity and earn more trust.