If you’re hung up on political consultants, you’re missing the true import of Cheri Bustos’ diktat about primaries and Democratic incumbents: The threat to consultants– that if they work for anyone who challenges a Democratic incumbent they’re done for– is dastardly and debilitating, but also possible to circumvent.
The real problem is that it’s another signal from the Democratic establishment that rebels are not welcome; progressives are not welcome; independent minds are not welcome. Yet another impediment that the DCCC can throw up against challengers in the never-ending incumbent protection racket that is at the heart of the DCCC.
Two interesting and contradictory things happened in the last few days. Reporters Akela Lacy and Ryan Grim at The Intercept blew the whistle on how the DCCC, completely controlled by Nancy Pelosi, pressured 4 consultants to stop working for Marie Newman, the progressive challenger to anti-Choice, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-healthcare Blue Dog Dan Lipinski in Chicagoland. The DCCC told the consultants that “if they continued working against Lipinski, their future business with the party would suffer.”
Grim and Lacy wrote that the DCCC policy “will have the effect of protecting white male incumbents defending seats against challengers in an increasingly diverse party.” That’s the case with Lipinski, who inherited the seat from his father in 2005 and has ‘retrograde’ views when it comes to much of the Democratic agenda, including his opposition to marriage equality and abortion rights. He voted against the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the signature legislation House Democratic leaders are trying to save in their campaign against Medicare for All.”
Meanwhile more than 40 official chapters of the Young Democrats— including Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, UC Berkeley, Boston College, UCLA, Michigan State, Occidental, Texas State, University of Wisconsin, Rutgers– are boycotting the DCCC over Bustos’ anti-democratic policy. In their letter to Bustos, the Harvard Young Democrats wrote that:
“Primary challengers are essential to ensure that the Democratic Party is continually held accountable to the needs of our constituents. This blacklist policy is undemocratic and antithetical to our values of inclusion and diversity. As Rep. Ayanna Pressley has put it, as Democrats we ‘cannot credibly lay claim to prioritizing diversity & inclusion when institutions like the DCCC implement policies that threaten to silence new voices and historically marginalized communities.’ Challengers to incumbents have been essential to making the Democratic Party an institution that truly reflects the progressive values and diverse identities of the people it claims to represent. As young Democrats, we support a national boycott of donations to the DCCC until it reverses this blacklist rule and institutes policies that support, not punish, new voices in the Democratic Party. Until this policy is reversed, we urge donors to contribute to individual candidates.”
At the same time that was happening, Pelosi contacted former Congressman John Tierney to recruit him to run against a Democratic incumbent she personally detests, Seth Moulton. And while it’s hard to argue with Pelosi that Moulton deserves a primary challenge, the real point is that Lipinski deserves one so much more.
It’s just that Pelosi doesn’t feel the same degree of personal animus towards Lipinski as she does towards Moulton, who tried the derail her bid for the speakership.
With Moulton running around wasting his time on a DOA presidential campaign, Pelosi sees an opportunity to knock him off politically at home. I think that’s great, although she did run-over the hopes former state Sen. Barbara L’Italien, who has been planning on running against Moulton herself.
And what does Cheri Bustos have to say about all this? Nothing… not a peep. Maybe she’s looking up the word “hypocrisy” is the dictionary.
Thanks for always doing what you can to make a better world,
Howie, for the entire Blue America team