Why is Lipinski still supported by the Democratic party?

I have railed before about congressman Dan Lipinski who since 2004 has represented a very safe Democratic seat in the 3rd district of Illinois that he ‘inherited’ from his father. i.e., his father held it for a long time and stepped aside for his son to take it. Lipinski has had the support of the Democratic party despite the fact that his views are pretty much close to Republican positions on key issues. He is anti-LGBT and anti-women and he gets funding from the petroleum industry and big corporations.

In 2018 he was challenged in the primary by a progressive Marie Newman but she lost narrowly. She is running again to unseat him in this year’s primary but she is facing opposition from the party establishment because of their rule that they would never work again with anybody who works for a candidate that challenges an incumbent. This has scared away several consultants who dropped her campaign.

In response to Newman’s challenge, Lipinski has gone into full Republican fear-mongering mode, warning that she would join with people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to implement the dreaded progressive agenda.

Rep. Dan Lipinski, who calls himself an Illinois Democrat, is making turncoat former Democrat Jeff Van Drew look principled. At least Van Drew quit the party and joined the Republicans. Lipinski has decided to go full Republican in his Democratic primary race against Marie Newman.

Daily Kos obtained the first mailer he’s sent out this year for his reelection (you can read it below the break) and it’s a doozy. First off, the letterhead, declaring him “Our commonsense congressman,” and then the launch into full-on Republican talking points. He says he’s facing a “fierce” (that’s true) challenge from “a far-left extremist who believes that this is a Democratic majority district, its representative should be a radical progressive.” Like the entire “radical” Democratic House which supports a woman’s right to determine her own health choices. Lipinski is the sole forced birther Democrat left in the House.

It gets worse, much worse. “My opponent,” he says, launching into the written equivalent of a horror-movie whisper, “has even been endorsed by socialist congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC.” Ooooooh, scary. “Also known as,” just like someone from the FBI’s most-wanted list. Then he details all those scary things she supports like “so-called ‘Medicare for All,'” which he flat-out lies about, saying it would “eliminate medicare.” And “AOC’s extreme ‘Green New Deal,'” which would take your cars and airplanes away “within ten years.” They’re going to take your car away and make you “radically upgrade” your home, he says, or tear it down.

There is a congressional caucus known as ‘blue dog Democrats’ who are generally conservative in their policy positions. That group has been reduced drastically in recent years from 54 in 2009 to 14 members in 2012 to 25 now, with most of them losing their seats to Republicans in 2010, maybe because voters may have not seen any reason to vote for a quasi-Republican when they could vote for a Republican. Lipinski is of course one of them.

Given that it is a safe Democratic seat and that whoever is the party’s choice will win in the general election, the decision by the party establishment to support Lipinski over someone much closer to what the Democratic party says they stand for tells us much about their real agenda.

This time around, Newman has picked up more endorsements, giving her a better chance of defeating Lipinski. It would give me great pleasure if she wins because it would show the party establishment that there is a limit to how much they can tilt these races in favor of their chosen candidates.


  1. jrkrideau says

    Could that first mail-out have just cost him the seat? He just seems to have said that his opponent is supporting a lot of popular policies.

  2. John Morales says

    sonofrojblake, no, it doesn’t. Rather, it gives every impression of being functionally a two-party state. As in, there are two parties, however similar you might find them.

    (There was a recent impeachment thingy that illustrates my point)

  3. sonofrojblake says

    Maybe to you. Perhaps you discern more in the tiny “differences” than I do. You’re presumably one of those people who can distinguish cobalt from lapis without a swatch. Me, I see “blue”.

    It would seem to me though that the “impeachment thingy” rather proves MY point. What has changed?

  4. John Morales says


    It would seem to me though that the “impeachment thingy” rather proves MY point.

    It would, would it? So you’re not sure of whether it seems so to you yet?

    If you meant to say both are right-of-center in your estimation, say so.

    But to say the USA is a one-party state is patently false.

  5. John Morales says

    Holms, this is the meaning of the idiom you applied:
    “The hill you want to die on describes something so important to you that you are willing to fight to the death to accomplish it. Often, the idiom the hill you want to die on is used when describing something that will make or break one’s reputation, or result in either glory or ignominy.”

    You’re quite sure that’s what I’m doing?

  6. Canadian Steve says

    @John Morales -- I think you do not give sonofrojblake enough credit for what he means -- while there may be an appearance of two parties he states there is functionally only one.
    Ie there may be democrats and republicans that could fight to the bitter acquittal that changes absolutely nothing significant, but in the end you have have people wearing blue that want to cut taxes, regulations, and the social safety net (see recent democratic comments about bringing deficits under control…. trust me, it won’t be by raising taxes on the wealthy) and people wearing red that want to cut taxes, regulations and the social safety net.
    Blues may prefer bankers, and reds may prefer oil barons, but while their styles are quite different, the policies are basically the same.

  7. John Morales says

    Canadian Steve, credit? I go by what’s written, the which was hardly ambiguous.

    Listing the similarities between two parties while conspicuously ignoring the differences is not a convincing case that there’s functionally only one party.

    Blues may prefer bankers, and reds may prefer oil barons, but while their styles are quite different, the policies are basically the same.

    I even offered an opportunity for clarification: “If you meant to say both are right-of-center in your estimation, say so.” The result has hitherto been… silence.

    I get it; the proposed idea is that it makes zero difference for which party one votes, and that’s been phrased as “there is functionally only one party”.

    You truly buy into that claim?

  8. Holms says

    John, no that is not the meaning of the phrase, at least not any more. A cursory familiarity with that thing called conversation will show you that the phrase is often used to mean ‘thing to fight for’ or even ‘thing I could be bothered arguing about on the internet’. Use some google-fu and you will see some examples of exactly this use scattered about FTB.

    So I repeat, you are finding some real trivial hills to die on, John.

  9. John Morales says

    Holms, fine. So, you imagine I’m fighting?

    I’m having fun.

    Here: as per sonofrojblake’s reasoning, there’s only one hill, because all hills are similar.

  10. Holms says

    Holms, fine. So, you imagine I’m fighting?

    the phrase is often used to mean ‘thing to fight for’ or even ‘thing I could be bothered arguing about on the internet’.

    Please reread ^

  11. John Morales says

    Ah, I get you now, Holms.

    So, this is the hill upon which you choose to die by virtue of arguing with me.

    (Is it a trivial one?)

  12. Holms says

    Argument? I made an observation, followed by clarification. And now you are responding with a tu quoque.

  13. Holms says

    How was my use of a phrase a solecism, when it was within common use?

    Oh well, at least you did not dispute that you responded with a tu quoque.

  14. John Morales says

    Heh. You really don’t understand how and when it’s an informal fallacy, do you?

    Anyway, enough chit-chat about this.

  15. Holms says

    Your rejoinder in comment 13 was as plain a ‘you also’ retort as any I can recall. Just another observation you seem to dislike.

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