Why Dan Lipinski must be defeated in the next Democratic primary

I have written before about Democratic congressman Dan Lipinski, easily one of the worst Democrats in Congress, who occupies a seat that he ‘inherited’ from his father when the latter stepped aside to make room for him. In the 2018 election, he was challenged in the primary by a much better candidate Marie Newman but the Republican-lite Democratic party leadership threw its weight behind Lipinski even though Lipinski is pretty much opposed to everything that the Democratic party claims to represent.
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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.
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What happened in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is a strongly Democratic state with all its congressional and the two senate seats held by Democrats. The governor is an outlier in being a Republican but he has been careful to position himself as a centrist moderate technocrat and distanced himself from the nutjobs that currently make up the Republican party. So the primaries are where the real action is and on Tuesday we saw two proxy battles between the party establishment and progressive insurgents.

In the senate race there was a generational switch in that the incumbent Ed Markey who has been in Congress for 44 years represents the progressive wing and the much younger challenger Joseph Kennedy turns out to be the establishment candidate. Markey has aligned himself with the progressives in Congress, co-sponsoring the Green New Deal with Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, and they in turn strongly backed him. Kennedy was clearly seeking to use his famous name to move from the House of Representatives (where he currently holds a seat since 2013) to the Senate. No Kennedy has lost an election in Massachusetts and no doubt he hoped to ride the wave of the family name to victory. His problem is that his politics are more Republican-friendly.
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These people really, really hate the LGBT community

Denver Riggleman is a Republican congressman from Virginia who is a member of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus in the US House of Representatives. Donald Trump has endorsed him for re-election and Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, an utterly reactionary evangelical Christian who is one of Trump’s most ardent supporters, had also endorsed him. Thus you would think he was a shoo-in to once again obtain his party’s nomination to represent his congressional seat in Virginia. But on Tuesday he lost his primary race to rival Bob Good. Riggleman joins Democrat Dan Lipinski and Republican Steve King as the third incumbent congressperson to fail to win the party’s nomination in this election cycle.
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A silver lining in yesterday’s gloomy election news

As expected, yesterday was not a good day for Bernie Sanders in the three primaries held in Illinois, Florida, and Arizona (Ohio postponed its primary at the very last minute). There were all kinds of problems due to the confusion about the pandemic, and the absence of poll workers caused some polling stations to close. How this affected the overall turnout is not yet clear.
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Some progressive down ballot candidates to watch

The Democratic party leadership is center-right in its ideology and hopelessly locked into the corporate-military structure. It needs to be transformed by getting more progressives elected at all levels. While much attention is being paid to the Democratic race to be the party’s presidential nominee, we should not ignore the progressive candidates who are vying to replace either right wing Democratic incumbents in safe Democratic seats or Republicans. They face tough odds because the party establishment supports these Democratic incumbents even though many of them vote with Republicans on key issues, especially when it comes to the rights of women, the LGBT community, and minorities. Defeating those incumbents would send a strong signal to the party leadership of the need to change and give a shot in the arm to a stodgy party, similar to the way that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did.

Here are some new faces that are worth following.
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Progressive candidate narrowly fails to unseat conservative Democratic incumbent

There was a spirited Democratic primary in the congressional district of Laredo in Texas where the incumbent Democrat Henry Cuellar was challenged by a young 26-year old progressive Jessica Cisneros, who failed narrowly, by a margin of 51.8% to 48.2%. Although this is a safe Democratic seat, Cuellar is pretty much a Republican and is backed by business and other right-wing forces and the party establishment.
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Revealing behavior of the Democratic establishment

There was an uproar recently when the Democratic party establishment in the form of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said that they would cut off any consultants and vendors who worked for primary challengers to party incumbents. This was seen as yet another example of the party leadership trying desperately to retain its neoliberal ideology in the face of more progressive challengers who had succeeded in unseating entrenched conservative incumbents.
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A Democratic primary to watch

Rachel M. Cohen updates us on an interesting development in a Texas congressional district that is solidly Democratic but where the incumbent Henry Cuellar seems more like a Republican.

While Cuellar is more commonly known for voting to support a 20-week abortion ban and funding a Mexican border wall in his own southern Texas district, his record on labor issues has driven worker advocates crazy for years.

In May, Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott introduced the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, a bill that would eliminate right-to-work laws, impose new penalties on employers who retaliate against union organizing, crack down on worker misclassification, and establish new rules so employers cannot delay negotiating collective bargaining contracts.

The bill has 214 Democratic co-sponsors, and Cuellar is not among them.

He was one of the few Democrats not to co-sponsor the $15 minimum wage bill the House passed this summer, and while he ultimately voted for its passage, he also voted for an unsuccessful amendment that would have exempted millions of workers from the law.

Cuellar has also criticized many of the signature labor reforms of the Obama era — including expanding overtime pay to 4 million workers and holding corporations liable for the violations of their franchisees. He’s one of just three Democrats to co-sponsor legislation restricting the definition of a joint employer, which would make it harder for workers at franchised companies to unionize and hold large corporations accountable.

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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.
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