Wednesday, March 28, 2018

DCCC Moves To Sabotage Progressive Candidates In Minnesota For Two Wealthy New Dems

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Jeff Erdmann and Adam Jennings, the 2 Minnesota progressives the DCCC is trying to tank

The Minnesota primary isn't until August 14 this year. But the DCCC isn't waiting. They've already endorsed two conservative candidates from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, New Dems Angie Craig (MN-02) and Dean Phillips (MN-03). Both have normal Democrats competing in the primary but Pelosi, Hoyer, Crowley and Lujan are insisting on picking their own right-of-center candidates instead of waiting for Minnesota voters to nominate candidates. Jeff Erdmann is the progressive in MN-02 the DCCC is working to sabotage and Adam Jennings is the progressive running in the MN-03 primary. Erdmann and Jennings are both independent-minded progressives advocating Medicare-for-All, while Craig and Phillips are garden variety centrists who speak vaguely about healthcare and will do whatever they are told by party bosses in DC.

MN-02 (south of the Twin Cities) is one of the most evenly matched and competitive districts in the country. The PVI is R+2. Obama won it very narrowly, both times-- and by less than 300 votes out of over 360,000 in 2012-- while Trump squeezed by Hillary by 0.2% in 2016. Incumbent Jason Lewis beat Angie Craig 173,970 (47%) to 167,315 (45.2%).

MN-03 (west of Minneapolis) is bluer. Obama won by bigger margins both times and Hillary beat Trump 50.8% to 41.4%. The PVI is D+1. The DCCC put up a weak, uninspiring EMILY's List candidate, Terri Bonoff, who did miserably-- 169,243 votes (43%) to Erik Paulsen's 223,077 (56.7%). Dean Phillips is just like her, which is the only kind of candidate the DCCC is ever comfortable with-- the reason they've lost dozens and dozens of seats in blue districts over the last decade and the reason they can only win in wave elections.

This week Minnesota Public Radio reported that Minnesota Democrats-- like Democrats in Texas and California are furious that the DCCC is sticking its nose into the state's primaries. Jeff Erdmann and Adam Jennings have raised competitive money and are both complaining that the DCCC has it's fingers-- well, hands and feet-- on the scales for the conservative, establishment candidates. Remember, Minnesota Democrats picked Bernie in both districts. He beat Hillary 58.2% to 41.8% in MN-02 and he beat her 53.3% to 46.7% in MN-03. The DCCC doesn't give a damn that the voters in the two districts want change, not status quo. They insist on two status quo multimillionaire, middle of the road candidates.
"To feel that they need to come in and put their thumb on the scale for the candidate that has all kinds of personal wealth, you know that's frustrating that they're trying to taint the system," Erdmann said.

DCCC officials made it clear money drove their choice to back Craig, he added.

"We didn't talk anything about my background, my success as a teacher, as a coach any of the values that I hold. All they wanted to talk about was where we thought we could get money-wise."

Officials with the DCCC did not respond to numerous interview requests.

In Minnesota's 3rd District in the western suburbs, another wealthy Democrat, Dean Phillips, also won early DCCC backing.

Democrat Adam Jennings is also in the race and hoping for the chance to run against Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen. Jennings said the DCCC wouldn't even speak with him.

"There is kind of an establishment big-money component to all of this, and the more I think about it the more motivated I get to run."

Jennings said the DCCC's choice to weigh in early has hurt his ability to raise money. He said potential supporters have denied him campaign contributions because national Democrats have decided to back Phillips.

The DCCC has not openly campaigned against the Minnesota Democrats it did not choose to back.

[Minnesota DFL Party Chair Ken Martin:] "Ultimately Minnesotans don't respond very well to being told what to do by folks in Washington, D.C."

The DCCC campaign activity comes after a presidential election where some Democrats accused the Democratic National Committee of favoring Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

Erdmann argues Washington desperately needs people like him in Congress as income inequality and corporate power are on the rise.

"This is the perfect time to have regular working-class people get elected into office," he said, "so that we can have a seat at the table and stand up for our interests and our values."

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15 Comments:

At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW! That effort to reclaim the Party from within is really showing results - NOT!

Ready yet to accept the idea that a third party is the way to go?

 
At 7:36 PM, Blogger Cirze said...

Yes.

Sign me up.

 
At 12:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Third parties aren't an option in most states. e.g. The major parties are happy to divert energy into futile third party efforts. However, in those rare instances where third parties start to gain traction, whichever party is threatened will typically increase the number of signatures that the third parties need to obtain to get a ballot line. The third party will then have to spend even more time and money just attempting to gain ballot access.

In most states, if an organization or group can't win at the primary stage, it's not going to be any easier to win in a general election.

 
At 6:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not about being immediately electable. It's about the process of starving a worthless, feckless, corrupt party of votes so that something else can form.

Immediately viable would be great. But since that isn't happening (thanks to Bernie's turtle job in November of '16), we have to do it the hard way.

If we surrender to only the party that is CURRENTLY viable, we'll always be skiing down the bunny slope of lesser evilism until we, literally, hit bottom.

 
At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incumbents are perfectly fine with low participation rates. I don't see how you are punishing anyone by sitting out an election. Political parties themselves are just conduits for various political interest groups and wealthy individuals. The net result of 2016 election is that a bunch of really rich people are getting trillions of dollars through the tax bill and regulatory relief. Those individual can now use a small fraction of that money to block progressive reform efforts within the Democratic Party (they are already doing this, it's just a lot easier now). The task of third parties isn't any easier now in 2018 than it was in 2016, 2012, 2008, or 2000. We don't have a parliamentary system. We have a really restrictive two-party system.

There's a really good article about this topic in Jacobin Magazine "A Blueprint for a New Party" which offers a useful strategic guide on this issue. The answer isn't establishing a third party (at least right now). The answer is doing what Blue America is doing, or working through any number of independent organizations that have popped up in the wake of 2016 that support progressive causes and candidates.

 
At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who said sit out? IF there aren't any Green or DS or independent candidates, write in your dog.

In '16, others (mostly left-ish) got about 5% of the total votes. $hillbillary surely knows that if the others only got their usual 1%, $he would now be president of/by/for Goldman-Sachs, would be raking shit-tons of bribe money and would see the emporess of the world when she looks in the mirror.

Let your democrap party and its candidate see that he/she only got 80% of the lefty vote. That'll send the message.

Your magazine article serves to keep morons participating by making them think that they're doing good. All BA and others do, by maintaining the mirage of democrap leftishness, is keeping the lesser evilism toboggan careening down the slope and keeping the democrap money spigots open.

Had Bernie gone independent instead of turtling in '16, we'd have a viable movement to coalesce around by now. Lacking Bernie balls or some other charismatic catalyst, voters must do it on their own. And that means voting NOT for democraps ever again, with only maybe 6 or 8 exceptions for decent people who still think they are democraps.

The party is irredeemable. Their ever-more fascist actions every cycle prove it. All you need to be is just a teensy bit skeptical. Blind faith only blinds fools.
That's been true for as many millennia as humans have manufactured gods and religions in their own image.
In the 21st century, it takes a truly colossal fool.

 
At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With very few exceptions, writing in your dog's name and voting Green is functionally the same as setting your ballot on fire. It's just performative politics. It has no political impact.

e.g. rare exceptions being a handful of local races, where Green candidates are actually viable.

Bernie didn't go Green, because he had almost no chance to win that route. There was no scenario in which he was going to play spoiler for Trump either (Clintonite complaints notwithstanding). Obviously Greens wanted him to be a sacrificial candidate, so that they could get a little extra funding in future cycles (before disappearing again like Perot's short-lived Reform Party). The issue wasn't cowardice, the "problem" is that he isn't stupid.

The Greens were so poorly organized at a national level that they couldn't even get a ballot line in all 50 states. Sanders doesn't owe his political career to the Dems or to the Greens. He owes it to Vermont voters who helped him become the first independent candidate to win a federal race in 40 years. He wasn't going to burn 45 years of work and his seniority and flush it all down the toilet so that some Green candidate could have a little more money to spend on a losing campaign in 2020. The Greens still have yet to win a single federal race. That's not a great track record, or evidence of a robust and powerful political organization. Most of the left grass roots organizers who view the Dems with skepticism don't see the Greens as a serious alternative either. The goal is to actually exercise power, not simply to perform the act of voting.

 
At 2:55 PM, Blogger marymccurnin said...

If the Green Party isn't viable and the DCCC is taking over, how do we fix this?

 
At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That, marymccurnin, is the $64,000 question! It's a shame that so many otherwise intelligent people on this blog can't assemble the facts which produced your question.

I suspect that -considering the vehemence which some comments contain in defending the Party as currently configured- DxCC operatives are trolling this site to counter the influence those of us who oppose their GOP-lite orientation may have. It's real easy to claim that the Party can be reclaimed from within until one notices just how many real progressives are pushed out of races due to DxCC strong-arm tactics and other nefarious activities. Those who are paying attention to these activities cannot accept the palliative offered about reclaiming from within.

The Whigs disappeared in a matter of months once enough people left to form the Republican Party. There is nothing stopping the "democrats" from travelling that same road once enough people reach the same conclusion marymccurnin did. To ask that question is to answer it, and to reveal the only realistic means of fomenting change.

Let the Republicans fall off the edge of the Flat Earth, let the "democrats" take the place of Republicans on the political spectrum, and the rest of us can coalesce around a new party organization which will work for the benefit of the majority of the people.

 
At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mary, there are times when it might make sense to back a Green Party candidate. e.g. in New York Jabari Brisport ran a great city council campaign. In CA Gayle McLaughlin's campaign for Lt. Gov is really good to see. Cheri Honkala is great candidate running for state office in PA. I would do it on a case-by-case basis, depending on the candidate, potential spoiler impacts, etc.

The answer as I see it is to work through groups like DSA, or Our Revolution, or Blue America, or Brand New Congress, or Justice Dems, or Indivisible, or the Working Families Party, or issue advocacy groups, that are operating outside of the party's control. In some places Socialist Alternative might be a viable option in local races. Don't give money to the DCCC (a lesson that I learned the hard way). Don't give money in primaries to DCCC backed candidates (unless the DCCC's hand is effectively forced by fundraising, organization, etc -- at a certain point even the DCCC will want to claim some ownership of victories).

Give money directly to candidates and to organizations that will help to keep those candidates accountable if they get elected.

I don't think the DCCC is some overpowering force. The 2018 cycle is probably the biggest challenge it has ever faced, in part because there are so many first-time candidates, and there are so many new people who are actively involved at the primary stage. The fact that DFL in Minnesota is publicly pushing back against the DCCC is evidence of internal competition within the party. It's a bad sign for the DCCC. The DCCC's heavy-handed intervention into Texas's 7th district backfired so badly that it helped to put Laura Moser into the run-off. They will win some, but I think there's a good chance for some great candidates to slip through this election. We will continue to build on that in local races in the next cycle, and then in 2020, hopefully there will be more break-throughs.

I would recommend checking out "Blue Print for a New Party", which offers a very good survey of the various recent efforts to gain power through third parties (link below). The answer is to act like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, or the Koch Bros, or Planned Parenthood's PAC and to set up an organization that operate outside of party control.

Ideally, the pressure organizations will build up enough power that they exert power in both parties primaries. Think of the NRA (up until recently). A lot of the power of the NRA was due to the bipartisan nature of their political influence. When the NRA becomes just an extension of the GOP, it will lose a lot of the power that it once had. The same is true of a bunch of business lobbies. If they get to a point where they are propping up candidates in only one party, rather than playing in both D and R primaries, they will start packing up losses legislatively. When organized labor was in its prime, it exerted influence on both parties.

The article is a really useful means of understanding the quirks of the U.S. political system and the kind of rules that need to be navigated (e.g. the U.S.'s ballot access is apparently on par with authoritarian states like Belarus -- which is not that surprising when you think about it; however, you deal with those facts as they are, and find ways to work around them):

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/11/bernie-sanders-democratic-labor-party-ackerman

 
At 7:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:08 et al:

Thanks. Finally a discussion that should have begun 30 years ago. How to do this... because NOT doing it would be lethal to the USA as it has morphed into the united shitholes of America.

I disagree with almost everything Bernie did after the convention started.

If someone actually believed what he SAYS, he would have found the corruption and fraud of the democraps untenable. When he turtled and went fetal, he proved that he does not believe what he says. He only proved that his interest is only in keeping his "seniority" and assignments from the democraps in the senate. He's a fraud.

But that aside, and imagining that Bernie was not a fraud, he could have done 2 things, either of which could have fairly easily become a catalyst to a viable alternative to the democraps in fairly short order:
1) He could have met with the Greens, combined forces, built a 50-state strategy (for 2018; Stein was on the ballot in 48 or 49 states), set up a small-donor fund-raising strategy and so forth. He could have pulled more votes than $hillbillary if he had sued the DNC and her for fraud in several primaries, calling attention to their party's nefariousness.
2) he could have declared an independent movement/party and built a national organization the same way as #1.

That assumes that voters who were so excited by Bernie's primary campaign didn't turtle and go fetal in the general (like they did) and vote for the democraps anyway; and it assumes that voters in this country have the intellectual potential to understand that this has to happen or all will be lost.

 
At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're welcome to join us in building a coalition-based corporate-free alternative to the establishment parties. We must combine our power to achieve progressive change.

#JoinTheMovement for a #PeoplesParty at ForAPeoplesParty.org

 
At 9:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're not talking about building just another 3rd party. We're bringing together existing groups so we can combine our energy into 1 electoral force. We're building a coalition of unions, existing antiestablishment parties, student groups, progressive organizations & individuals, etc that can build a new party that actually represents the PPL.

#JoinTheMovement for a #PeoplesParty at ForAPeoplesParty.org

 
At 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are building a coalition of progressive parties, unions, student groups, progressive groups & individuals, etc that can combine our power to build a viable new party. We need a party that represents working people, the poor, the marginalized, etc. Both current parties represent their big money donors. If we want progressive change, we need a progressive party free from corporate money & influence.

#JoinTheMovement for a #PeoplesParty at ForAPeoplesParty.org

 
At 2:46 PM, Blogger GenXer Vee said...

‪“It’s better to vote for what you want & not get it than it is to vote for what you don’t want & get it.” E. Debbs‬

‪If we keep voting for what we really DON’T want (lesser evil), we’ll NEVER get what we really DO want.‬

‪No matter if D or R “win” WE lose.‬

‪http://www.gp.org/2018_candidates‬

 

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