Politics can get dirty. But there is a certain level that must not infect intraparty battles. Unfortunately, the DCCC and the Democratic Party are doing an excellent job of going beyond dirty to vindictive. It so happens that the vindictiveness serves as a cover for what is readily apparent: real Progressives need not apply.
It is essential to cauterize the reality in everyone’s psyche that most American support Progressive policies. Theo Anderson wrote in his article “Progressives Are the New Silent Majority,”
Something remarkable has happened over the past few years: A new silent majority has emerged, decades after Richard Nixon made that phrase famous. Nixon meant the people whose values were, he said, dominant in American culture, but underrepresented in American politics. Calling them the silent majority was a way of channeling the white backlash against the civil rights movement.
The new silent majority is defined by the broad consensus that has emerged in the United States around progressive policies. This consensus isn’t widely reported. In fact, it’s obscured by the oft-repeated idea that the nation is deeply polarized, as if Americans are torn between support for conservative and progressive policies. They aren’t. On the battlefield of ideology, conservatives have been routed.
The progressive consensus cuts across economic and social issues and includes even traditional culture-war flashpoints. On most policy questions, polling shows that about three-fifths or more of the public prefers progressive positions.
Anderson Points out that at least three-fifths of Americans support the following.
- A federally funded healthcare system that provides everyone with insurance.
- Unions should have the same or more influence than they have now.
- Limits on campaign spending.
- Support for renewable energy and climate change.
- Reproductive rights of women.
- LGBT rights.
- Higher minimum wage.
- Legalized marijuana.
- Free childcare.
- A path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Americans do not get their wants from the party that for the most part have those values as a part of their platform. The party does not run candidates that not only support these values but articulate them with assertive messaging. As these candidates emerge, the Democratic Establishment is all too ready to squash then under the pretense that Progressivism can’t win.
This year comes with a twinge of vindictiveness. Texas’ Congressional District 7 is a classic example. The DCCC cut and paste writings by the Progressive candidate Laura Moser implying that she is a Washington insider who disparaged Texas. It was the typical smear one would expect from the Right Wing. Yet the party used it on it on one of its own candidates. In an interview with Politics Done Right, Moser said that the opposition research on the Republican incumbent, John Culberson, was much less harsh.
Based on the words of the Chairman of the DCCC and a Houston Chronicle article that attacked Moser, the dog whistles tooted loudly. The leadership should heed this warning.
It is clear this DCCC opposition to Moser is meant to be a proxy attack on any Democrat who has any affinity for Bernie Sanders’ policies. From the article, it seems he brought it up out of the blue. These guys just won’t let it go. There will be no blue wave unless both wings of this party come to an acceptably happy place. Hacks like Lujan makes it extremely difficult. The DCCC even resorted to Right Wing tactics to smear a good candidate. You do not do that if you are trying to unite the party for a wave.
And who is the DCCC supporting in District 7? They are supporting a corporate lawyer working for a firm with a dubious record that every Progressive must scorn.
“I’d always agreed with my husband that we would move back to Houston when the time was right, and part of my commitment [to the resistance] led me to speed up my plans,” Moser said. “Women all over the country felt the same call and returned home to try to ‘be the change.’”
But Fletcher’s legal work for “those in need” has caused her problems in the campaign. The firm where she is a partner largely represents employers and won a major case against local janitorial workers, who were predominantly immigrants. The firm boasted, in its effort to attract future business from employers, that it won the case in part by studying the social media feeds of the jury pool to make sure the jury was stacked with Trump supporters. PJS, the firm’s client, was involved with Empower Texans, a right-wing group working to undermine organized labor in Texas.
Levi Tilleman, a Progressive in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District is suffering similar discouragement form the Democratic Party Establishment. Here is an accomplished and articulate millennial, young new blood who was a very Progressive Obama administration Alum. He also appeared on Politics Done Right to discuss his well-established run-ins with the Democratic Party Establishment.
Tillemann had Steny Hoyer, the number two Democrat in the House, all but tell him to get out of the race. And who does the Democratic Party want to run in his place? Levi wrote a Sentinel article titled “LEVI TILLEMANN: The swamp comes to Colorado” that described the Party’s chosen one, the one that is supposed to be more electable.
But the DCCC was actively working behind the scenes. They were grooming a white-collar criminal defense lawyer — who didn’t even live in the district and had defended payday lenders, fracking companies and scam artists — for the race. By late spring of 2017, my campaign was regularly being told that the DCCC had chosen their guy, that he was receiving support, training and help with endorsements from the DCCC. But publicly both the DCCC and their candidate denied this.
The insider drumbeat was so intense that in June of 2017, I commented publicly on it to Roll Call – a political newspaper. “I think that the worst possible thing we can do … is attempt to clear the field,” I said. “That is not the logic of democracy.” A few weeks later, one of Jason Crow’s staunchest allies, the head of National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League Colorado, NARAL, coordinated a spurious Federal Election Commission complaint against our campaign – a complaint that has cost almost $6,000 in legal fees to respond to.
The next month, a local politico confided that the DCCC’s regional press spokesperson had been secretly undermining my campaign.
The pattern is clear. The grassroots need not apply. Lawyers with electability problems are ‘electable,’ but real Progressives are dismissed based on dubious electability reasons that have no bearing in reality.
The generic poll according to CNN is at 3% favoring the Democrats but within the margin of error. The enthusiasm gap has closed as well. It is not hard to figure out why. Firstly, the media is concentrating on Russia, Stormy Jones, and issues that do not immediately affect the personal economies of the poor and the middle-class. Secondly, Democrats are not bending the message when they get the opportunity on TV and other avenues to issues that matter to most Americans. Thirdly, and most importantly, arms of the Establishment Democratic Party like the DCCC are choosing flawed candidates more in line with the plutocratic class than the average middle-class and poor American.
Republicans have yet to launch an all-out assault and the poll numbers are already closing. One can only expect that when the outright assault begins, how effective it will be given their track record. The Democratic Establishment need to step out of the way and let the young blood who they are discouraging, to emerge and bring freshness and enthusiasm into politics again. Barring that, America is likely to stick with the devil it knows.
Also published on Medium.