Sunday, June 16, 2019

Fight Back Against Cheri Bustos-- And Win Some Art For Your Trouble


If you read DWT with any regularity-- or just wander over from time to time to look at the pictures-- you probably know the work of artist, cartoonist and charicaturist Nancy Ohanian, who does many of the illustrations. Nancy had long careers at the New York Times and the L.A. Times and in the academic world and just recently won this year's National Press Foundation’s Clifford K. and James T. Berryman Award for Editorial Cartooning. She also just put together her third deck on gorgeous, collectible playing cards, each card decorated with a different one of her creations. Lots of Trump poses, of course, but plenty of other 2018-19 political characters we'll never forget, whether we want to or not. Nancy gave Blue America 5 decks to give away this week to lovers of political art.

This is how we're going to do it. We want to raise money to combat the DCCC's anti-democracy Cheri Bustos Rule against primaries so we're asking you to go to our ActBlue congressional primary page. Donate any amount to any candidate-- or any combination of candidates-- and you'll have a shot at the random drawing for one of the decks.

The old establishment diktat about the only to win "Republican seats" is by running a Republican-lite campaign has been proven false over and over and over. Last week the Virginia Democratic establishment got slapped down again when they ran a corrupt conservative "ex"-Republican legislator against incumbent Democrat Lee Carter because they think Carter is too far to the left. In 2017, the voters of Manassas turned out in their highest numbers ever to replace the "untouchable" Republican House Majority Whip and replace him with democratic socialist Lee Carter. Last week the Democratic establishment's shill candidate lost his primary bid against Carter. But the Democratic establishment never learns.

As you probably know, Cheri Bustos has blacklisted firms that work with progressive candidates running against Blue Dogs. And Pelosi has given her the OK. So far we have four candidates we're trying to help overcome the DCCC roadblocks. There will be more soon; we're still vetting candidates to be as sure as we can be that when they get to Congress they won't disappoint. (Just like the cards won't disappoint you.)

Jennifer Burton, a Democratic media consultant, owns a company called SWAY. She explained for Politico readers this past week, how Bustos and Pelosi are damaging the Democratic Party. While Pelosi and other Democratic leaders pat themselves on the back for an increasingly diversity caucus, she wrote, "they are cutting off opportunities for female and minority political consultants-- often leaving key decisions about messaging and voter outreach in the hands of white men" by enforcing Bustos' idiotic, wrong-headed policy, part of an agenda to bolster progressives and target progressives. (Bustos herself is a rapid Blue Dog and New Dem with ambitions to run for Speaker.) The policy is clear: "Any consultants who work against Democratic incumbents will be barred from working with the DCCC and will not be recommended to its preferred candidates in 2020 and future election cycles."
The DCCC’s purpose is to protect Democratic incumbents and, in turn, the House’s Democratic majority. But, in practice, this policy protects the old boy’s network that dominates the culture of the DCCC and the outside firms it pushes Democratic candidates to hire for polling, direct mail, television ad-making and mor

In short, the committee is blacklisting people like me.

I have worked in Democratic politics for the past 30 years-- for former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, for the DCCC and for various political media firms, including the one I started six years ago. In this time, I have seen many Democratic challengers beat incumbent Democrats in primary fights—Sheila Jackson Lee, Hilda Solis, Seth Moulton, Ro Khanna, Donna Edwards, Denise Majette, and, of course, two of the party’s newest superstars, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley. (It’s worth noting that all of these cases involved safe Democratic seats that had no chance of going Republican because of primary challenges.)

Not surprisingly, many candidates who challenge congressional incumbents are women and people of color; it’s often hard for them to make the leap into politics, and sometimes their only option is to run against the system. The DCCC’s rule will clearly hurt these kinds of candidates. But what people outside the Beltway might not realize is that many times these primary races are also the only opportunities afforded to female consultants and consultants of color.

Last cycle, I worked for Marie Newman, who took on Dan Lipinski, a Democratic congressman from Illinois who is anti-abortion and who fought for many years against marriage equality. Marie got within 2 points of knocking off Lipinski and now is running again. I’m signed up to work for her because I share her progressive values. Several weeks ago, two other consultants on Marie’s team decided to quit her race because of the DCCC blacklist policy. But I’m standing my ground, even though it means I will be exiled by the DCCC.

The political consultant world resembles Hollywood, where the top jobs-- director, cinematographer, writer-- go to white men. In our ranks, the top job on a campaign (and the most lucrative job) is usually the media consultant, the person who is responsible for the messaging and ad-making on a campaign. And the person in that job is usually a man. In 2018, according to information I received, the DCCC hired eight media firms to handle independent-expenditure campaigns-- that is, efforts to spend money on advertising to help Democratic challengers, independent of the campaigns themselves. (I confirmed on OpenSecrets that these eight firms were listed as vendors of the DCCC.) Of the almost 20 principals from these eight firms, only three were women and only one was a person of color.

Diversity in the consultant ranks is not a trivial matter. When the backbone of the Democratic Party is women and nonwhite voters, it’s clear that having more women and people of color in consulting roles would enhance political messaging to our most loyal constituencies. From my own experience, I’ve seen how much it matters to women candidates and candidates of color to have consultants that look like them on their teams, and how our work is better because we’re more aware of sensitivities, tone, and even how best to film and light these candidates.

My own firm prides itself on its diversity, both in our own ranks and among the clients we work for. Last cycle, six of the eight people at our firm were African Americans, including two of our principals and all of our editors and directors of photography, and we worked for more than 20 candidates of color.

When the DCCC hires consultant firms, it always asks about diversity within the staff and leadership, but the firms have yet to be held accountable. Drop in on any campaign conference call (we have a lot of them), and you’ll hear a lot of mansplaining, often of tone-deaf strategies about how best to reach women and minorities. Or talk to any female consultant, and you’ll hear countless stories about unfair treatment from these Democratic committees.

Goal ThermometerAt a time when the Democratic presidential field includes four women in the top tier and several candidates of color, it’s hard to believe the Democratic Party still has so few women and people of color in leadership positions at its own consulting firms. The new DCCC chief, Illinois. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, is perpetuating this problem with the committee’s new policy. A better approach would be to stop punishing consultants who work for candidates they believe in and start hiring more firms that actually look like the people that make up the Democratic Party.
"Until that happens," Burton concludes, she "won’t be bowing to the DCCC’s new demands." And it won't happen-- certainly not whole Pelosi, Hoyer, Bustos and other fossils run the House Democratic Party. The thermometer on the right will give you an opportunity to contribute to any or all of the outstanding progressive candidates primarying reactionary incumbents. And don't forget, 5 random donors will find a deck of Nancy Ohanian cards in their mailboxes. Did I mention that the decks are autographed? (Contest ends Wednesday morning at noon, EST.) UPDATE: Bustos is an honorary co-chair of the despicable Third Way.

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At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

no thanks. bustos keeping the gavel in Pelosi's hand vs. more well-meant morons keeping the gavel in Pelosi's hand?

a no-win situation. I'll pass.

At 3:12 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Two can play at this game Cheri.

At 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd BUY a set of these cards if I knew how.


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