Monday, February 26, 2018

New Day Dawning For The Democratic Party? Maybe... Maybe Not


There was mixed news out of the California Democratic Convention in San Diego yesterday. On the one hand, the bell was loudly tolling for the Ancien Régime as a majority of state party delegates clearly told neoliberal incumbent Dianne Feinstein that it was time for her to retire. The progressive in the race, state Senate President, Kevin de León, took 1,508 votes (54%) in the endorsement process to Feinstein's 1,023 (37%). (Feinstein put a $5 million check from her own bank account into her campaign warchest.) The rules require 60% for a party endorsement so there will be no endorsement in the Senate race.

Similarly, most of the House races will have no candidate endorsed by the party, although there were a few exceptions, like progressive environmental activist, Marge Doyle, who won 73% of the votes cast for the nomination to oppose Paul Cook in the eighth district (a good thing) and like gun nut and death penalty proponent Andrew Janz, who scraped by with 68% for the nomination to oppose Devin Nuness in CA-22 (a very bad thing). In other cases, the progressive in the race was able to stop the establishment jerk from getting the nomination, the way Katie Hill stopped Bryan Caforio (CA-25) and Doug Applegate stopped Mike Levin (CA-49). And at least the DCCC failed to get their imbecile "ex"-Republican candidate, lottery winner Gil Cisneros, the endorsement in CA-39. Unfortunately Katie Porter was unable to keep dishonest New Dem Dave Min from winning the endorsement (by one vote). Oh, yeah-- and the imbeciles at the convention may have thrown away a chance to pulverize Dana Rohrabacher. Here's how they did it

Why would a crap candidate like Min be able to get so many votes against real progressives like Katie Porter and Kia Hamadanchy? One problem is the clueless media, which is incapable of analyzing a field of candidates. They don't know what a New Dem is. They constantly refer to corrupt "conservatives" as "moderates," the most positive description there is for most voters, and they never dig into candidates and give voters the information needed to make a rational decision. Now let's take this national and away from California. Yesterday, Heather Caygle, the junior high school student that Politico has covering elections, began her childish coverage of right-wing Chicagoland Blue Dog Dan Lipinski by asserting that stupid and disproven Beltway platitude that "Dan Lipinski is the kind of candidate Democrats need more of for the party to win the House in November." There is no single sentence that sums up the predicament the DC Dems find themselves in than that bit DCCC flaltulence they're able to foist on stenographers posing as reporters. Electoral history proves the exact opposite. Poor Heather! Is she sad? Probably not; just duped.

This she got right: "The seven-term congressman from Chicago, who opposes abortion and voted against Obamacare, marriage equality and immigration reform, is one of the most conservative members of the House Democratic Caucus." But if there's one thing Politico stands for, it isn't light and reality, it's drama and conflict.
The question of whether the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will officially back Lipinski for reelection-- he faces a stiff primary challenge from the left — has triggered an outbreak of ill will and finger-pointing from each wing of the party toward the other. With less than a month until the March 20 primary, tensions that have been brewing privately for weeks between the caucus’ centrist and progressive lawmakers are now spilling out into a messy public spat.

Caught in the middle are House Democratic leaders, who govern a caucus more aligned with Lipinski’s opponent, Marie Newman. But they are wary of appearing to kick one of their incumbents to the curb, aware of the potential long-term implications for party that is struggling to regain its standing with blue-collar voters.

“I don’t think what the DCCC does or says means a lot for my race as much as sending a signal to other Democrats who are looking to run,” Lipinski said in an interview.

“Democrats have to know that they’re going to have the full support [of the DCCC] even if they’re not straight in the party line,” he added. “And we need candidates who are not straight along the party line to win the districts we need for the majority.”

Lipinski is one of three co-chairmen of the Blue Dogs, a coalition of center-left Democrats that has been struggling to rebuild since Republicans took back the House, wiping out many of the group’s members, in 2010.

After years of feeling ignored and sometimes shunned by the DCCC-- Blue Dogs have said the campaign arm is historically biased toward progressive candidates, even if they aren’t the best fit for a district-- this election cycle was supposed to bring a better working relationship between the two groups.

With that in mind, Blue Dog leaders Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.) pressed DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) about the Lipinski race over dinner in January.

Was DCCC planning to endorse Lipinski ahead of the primary? they asked Luján at Acqua Al 2, a popular Italian joint on Capitol Hill. Luján responded that the campaign arm would support Lipinski, and Cuellar and Costa walked away from the dinner thinking an endorsement was in the works, according to both men who recounted the conversation to Politico.

“We would be disappointed” if that endorsement didn’t come, Cuellar said recently. “Especially when I personally spoke to the chairman and the chairman told me ‘we will be supporting the incumbent.’”

Three sources close to the Blue Dogs said other lawmakers in the 18-member coalition were also under the impression in recent weeks that DCCC would publicly endorse Lipinski.

But a week after the dinner, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a fellow Illinois Democrat and member of DCCC leadership, broke ranks and endorsed Lipinski’s opponent. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, another progressive Democrat from Illinois, also backed Newman that day.

Now with three weeks until the primary, national progressive groups are ramping up their support for Newman through a barrage of TV ads and mailers-- and a DCCC endorsement for Lipinski has yet to materialize.

...While at first glance the dispute between the Blue Dogs and DCCC might seem like a simple disagreement over semantics, several Democratic lawmakers and aides said the campaign committee’s refusal to publicly back Lipinski, even if it is offering some help privately, is much bigger than that.

DCCC’s actions, those members argued, could have a chilling effect on current members and potential candidates who don't line up with the progressive purity test liberals are pushing.

“If someone is a big donor to the DCCC or is a big voice like Schakowsky, if members go astray, are they going to have to watch their back?” said a senior Democratic House staffer.

“I think it’s shocking that the DCCC or Chairman Luján can’t say that they support Congressman Lipinski. Supporting incumbents should be number one there.”

Lipinski has a huge name recognition advantage-- his dad was the district’s congressman for two decades before him-- in addition to a strong campaign war chest and several important local endorsements, including from the AFL-CIO. The campaign’s most recent internal poll has Lipinski up 57 percent to Newman’s 21 percent.

But Newman has racked up a bevy of high-profile endorsements-- including from the SEUI, another powerful labor group with significant sway in Chicago-- and a super PAC that is funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars into the district on her behalf.

"Democratic Party institutions’ reticence to endorse Rep. Lipinski is understandable-- Rep. Lipinski is a Democrat in name only,” Erik Wallenius, Newman’s campaign manager, said in a statement. Newman and her supporters argue that Lipinski is out of step with the heavily Democratic district, a working-class area on the southwest side of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs where one-third of the residents are Latino.

...House Democratic leaders haven’t publicly weighed in on the race. But Lipinski praised House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for saying that there’s no litmus test for Democrats who oppose abortion. And House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has donated to his campaign.

That’s why Democrats who support Lipinski say it’s baffling that the DCCC is so reticent to back him.

...Now the Blue Dogs are calling for Schakowsky to step down from her leadership post at the DCCC, where she is the national chairwoman for candidate services.

“If you decide to take on the Democratic incumbent [while] having a leadership position within the Democratic Congressional Campaign, those are counterproductive activities and they're counterproductive to the larger focus on the districts we need to gain,” Costa said.

But Schakowsky told POLITICO she has no intention of resigning, calling her endorsement of Newman a local issue that doesn’t reflect on her leadership within the campaign arm.

The district is heavily Democratic and doesn’t have a serious Republican challenger-- the only GOP candidate is a Holocaust denier-- so her endorsement won’t cause Democrats to lose the seat, Schakowsky argued.

“This has nothing to do with going after people who differ in positions from me around the country. This is a particular race in this district, in my state,” Schakowsky said. “I’m not on a crusade to get rid of Blue Dogs by any means. We hopefully will elect more in this election cycle.”
More Blue Dogs? Why? To bolster the Republicans when crucial votes are called? The Democratic Party means something more than the careers of it's elected officials. Hoyer never understood that and Pelosi forgot it years ago. That's why it's time for people like them to step aside for a new generation pdf progressive leaders like Ted Lieu, Pramila Jayapal, Mark Pocan, Ro Khanna, Randy Bryce and Jamie Raskin. And that's why I started this post by celebrating Kevin de León's victory yesterday over DiFi.

Do we have to celebrate that the DCCC isn't as bad as Smith & Wesson? What a low bar!

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At 6:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not maybe not. not. get it right. learn what is delusion and what is truth. there is a difference.

you yourselves note often (daily) that if the democraps were left to their own devices, only corporatists would run, many of them being opportunistic former republicans looking for a path to a place at the trough.

The "good" people that occasionally strike a chord with voters in a few districts are all outsiders and insurgents. By definition, then, the party isn't changing. And, again, still, as you so often relate, the party resists any and all insurgencies with every dollar and shitbird candidate they can muster.

so... definitely not.

At 7:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One problem is the clueless media, which is incapable of analyzing a field of candidates."

What was that pithy observation made by Upton Sinclair when he ran for CA Governor?

Let's see if this one rings a bell: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

The vast majority of all media in CA is corporate-owned. Corporations are incredibly hostile to progressives on all topics. Why is it that even smart people who can see the individual trees in the forest STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT THE MEDIA'S FUNCTION IS NOT TO TELL THE TRUTH WITH FACTS?

The media's job is to sway public opinion into supporting or opposing issues as the owners of the media decree. It is literally thought control, and independent free-thought isn't always suitable to support the effort to maximize profits at the expense of the controlled. That cannot be allowed to happen lest the wealthy lose value.

The success of Bernie Sanders in raising the possibility that he could win has the corporatists terrified. They are not about to risk another such success as long as they have the means to defeat it within their portfolios. The media will report only what they are told to report and only in the way they are told to report it.

Remember that when you question why the media doesn't act as you believe they should.


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