The Democratic party establishment tries once again to crush insurgents

As we have seen, the Democratic party establishment is solidly neoliberal and Republican-lite and wants to keep the party that way, even if it means supporting incumbents like Dan Lipinski who often vote along Republican lines. The fact that they supported him over a much better candidate Marie Newman even though it is a safe Democratic seat shows that they really want people like him.

But the party leadership has been frightened by insurgent candidates like Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who have bucked the establishment and defeated long-term incumbents in primaries and are pushing progressive agendas in Congress. So they have now decided to assert their financial muscle and threatened any firm that works with challengers to incumbents that the party will not do business with them.

THE DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL Campaign Committee warned political strategists and vendors Thursday night that if they support candidates mounting primary challenges against incumbent House Democrats, the party will cut them off from business.

The news was officially announced Friday morning, paired with a statement on the committee’s commitment to diversity in consulting — “which, obviously, is just to give themselves cover,” a Democratic political consultant who learned of it Thursday told The Intercept. The consultant asked for anonymity given their relationship with the DCCC, and the party organization’s professed strategy of blacklisting firms that don’t fall in line.

To apply to become a preferred vendor in the 2020 cycle, firms must agree to a set of standards that includes agreeing not to work with anyone challenging an incumbent.

The tone-deafness of the party leadership is staggering. Not only are they oblivious to the message that this sends to the party base that their needs don’t matter, they also do not seem to realize that the party has changed and the leadership can’t call the shots with impunity the way they once could, and that the progressives are not going to roll over for them.

Progressives made clear they have no intention of backing down to the party establishment after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Friday threatened to cut off funds to firms and strategists that support primary challengers against incumbents.

“The DCCC can do anything it wants to try to prevent the next generation of Democrats from taking power. They will not succeed,” Sean McElwee—co-founder of Data for Progress, which is recruiting progressives to oust conservative Democrats—said in a statement.

“Make no mistake—they are sending a signal that they are more afraid of Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez winning primary challenges than Henry Cuellar who votes with Trump nearly 70 percent of the time.”
—Alexandra Rojas, Justice Democrats

Cory Doctorow does not mince his words to voice his displeasure at this move and says that these awful incumbents deserve to be primaried and ousted.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has a long history of being reactionary assholes who support the worst kind of corporate Democrats while libelling progressives and selling out to America’s greediest and most rapacious corporate lobbies, so the latest move isn’t much of a surprise, but it’s still pretty fucking terrible.

As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has pointed out, this is a policy aimed at neutralizing candidates like her, who challenge long-term incumbent Dems in safe seats who run as Democrats, but govern like Republicans — see also, say, Dan Lipinski, who literally inherited his seat from his father and is anti-gun-control, anti-abortion-rights, pro-deregulation of dangerous industries, awash in corporate money, but still (technically) a “Democrat.”

The party leadership has already suffered a rebuke from the progressives when they tried to pass a resolution that sought to single out congresswoman Ilhan Omar for criticism. The progressives fought back furiously and the leadership had to back down and change the resolution so that it covered pretty much everyone and everything.

What this latest effort by the DCCC does is reveal once again the true face of the party leadership.


  1. says

    these awful incumbents deserve to be primaried and ousted.

    There’s good reasoning behind the “don’t vote for anyone older than 40” algorithm -- the younger candidates haven’t necessarily had time to be thoroughly corrupted by power, yet. Of course there are always some that appear to be born corrupt…

  2. Dunc says

    these awful incumbents deserve to be primaried and ousted.

    I’d have gone with “tarred and feathered”, personally…

  3. sonofrojblake says

    The tone-deafness of the party leadership is staggering

    Eh? Their tone-deafness is entirely in character, not staggering at all. These are the people who put up the single worst Presidential candidate in history because it was her turn dammit!. Frankly I’m surprised they’re not lining Clinton up for another run at the White House in 2020. At this point I wouldn’t put it past them. Tone-deafness is their schtick.

  4. polishsalami says

    The Democrats appear to think that the goal of politics is not to effect policy, but to elect Democrats. Another triumph for the Do Nothing Party.

  5. Dunc says

    The Democrats appear to think that the goal of politics is not to effect policy, but to elect Democrats.

    It’s not even that. It’s to maintain the existing hierarchy in their positions of power within the party. See Jon Schwartz (from 2007!) on Democrats And The Iron Law Of Institutions. Actually electing Democrats is merely a side effect.

  6. sonofrojblake says

    It’s as bad if not worse in the UK -- we have an opposition leader who isn’t opposing the main policy of the government, in the teeth of a march of a million people and a petition of five million. He really does not appear to even want to PM. Recall: when the Labour leadership election came up, the party put forward a line of Blair clones. Then they realised the optics of that were bad, and decided they needed a joke candidate from the loony left -- the sort of person they could say “look, we let that bearded old nutter from the 70s have a go, but he failed. Go away.” And with four MINUTES to spare before nominations closed, Corbyn threw his hat in.

    And then the fact that anyone -- ANYONE -- could join Labour and vote in their leadership election for less than the price of a large coffee at Starbucks came to bite them. Hordes of people who had no interest in Labour politics other than wanting to wreck it joined, and elected Corbyn. And he’s been a disaster ever since.

    Sorry. Ranting again. Sorry.

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