How Can House Democrats Avoid Another Electoral Catastrophe-- Anything Short Of Winning Back The House-- In 2016?
After last cycle's electoral debacle for the Democrats, I spoke with a dozen Democratic candidates from competitive districts who felt they lost, at least in part, because of astonishing DCCC malfeasance. Almost every single one of them brought up Steve Israel, and not one person said a single word in his defense. Below is an unpublished-- at least until now-- op-ed by one of the candidates who should be serving in Congress now but because of conscious decisions by Israel and his incompetent team has moved on and will no longer participate in Democratic Party electoral politics. A piece like this could have been written by any of a dozen candidates.
No Defense for the Democrats' Electoral MalpracticePelosi has since appointed a new DCCC chairman, an inexperienced novice, Ben Ray Luján, who is completely under Israel's thumb-- and she appointed Israel to a new position to shape Democratic Party messaging, the job Elizabeth Warren has in the House. There is virtually no job that Israel, a reactionary and grotesquely corrupt Blue Dog, is less suited for. The Democrats are doomed until the old-- really old-- leadership retires. Meanwhile, you can find non-Israel/non-Luján progressive candidates on this page.
by Candidate X
Last week’s result for Democrats was nothing short of an embarrassment. This is a failure at the highest level of the Democratic congressional leadership.
The Congressional map has become redder and redder since 2010, one failure after another for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. They let the Republicans control the debate. Chairman Steve Israel’s DCCC created a bunch of spineless, feeble Democrats running for Congress around the country.
The DCCC’s strategy was, either inadvertently or stupidly, to minimize any Democratic achievements.
The Affordable Care Act, while flawed as a result of legislative caving to the GOP on single-payer healthcare, has resulted in the lowest percentage of uninsured Americans on record. Instead of coming up with a conversation that speaks to most Americans on healthcare, they abandoned it. The stock market hit record highs, unemployment is the lowest since 2008, and gas prices are the cheapest in years-- all under a Democratic president. But none of that was visible in the 2014 campaign for Congress. Congressional Democrats should have asked voters the question, “Would you rather go back to 2008?” There was no coherent message about what electing Democrats would get the American people. Instead, it seems like the DCCC strategy focused on sending more e-mails with ridiculous subject lines asking for a $3 donation.
Having been a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives [last year], I have personally seen the clumsy operation of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and it is shameful. Not only is there frequent turnover of staff, but most are young and politically inexperienced. On my many trips to Washington for meetings with the DCCC, they mostly included sitdowns with a 20-something recent college graduate who is a supposed “expert” in political strategy and my district. In fact, I met with Chairman Steve Israel only one time in three years over two campaigns, which resulted in canned e-mails from amateurish DCCC staff “directing” me what to do. The sum of the DCCC support to me, and other candidates in what should be viable districts, was to give unattainable fundraising goals and advise you to run from the President if you must.
In order to win, Democrats need a clear message on what a Democratic-led Congress would get them. Mushy talk like ending gridlock and opposing the right-wing tea partiers isn’t enough. Democrats should pick popular progressive positions and tell the American people, if we regain the majority we will raise the minimum wage, reform our immigration laws, enact universal background checks for gun sales, expand Social Security, give you student loan fairness, bring you equal pay for equal work, and we’ll fix the Affordable Care Act to make it work even better. These are popular progressive positions that enjoy a majority of support from Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, yet they’re opposed by the Republican Party.
Democrats deserve new leaders with fresh ideas who can deliver results. From the DCCC chairman all the way to the minority leader, this party’s congressional leadership needs a big shakeup. 2016 could bring great things for Democrats including the blue wave we’ve all been waiting for, but not if DCCC incompetence continues to rule the day.