Tuesday, June 02, 2015

New Dems And Blue Dogs Whining It Costs Them More To Run For Congress Than It Costs Real Democrats


Writing for Stars and Stripes and the Washington Post Sunday, Anne Kim, an operative for Wall Street's deceptively named Progressive Policy Institute (a pro-corporate/anti-worker New Dem outfit that was founded by the DLC to promote neoliberal ideas like NAFTA and the TPP), decries how much more it costs reactionary Democrats-- New Dems and Blue Dogs-- to run for election than it costs real Democrats. It costs the Democrats who support the Republican/Wall Street agenda double what it costs actual Democrats to run for office. Kim's research finds that the fake Dems "spent roughly twice as much as their liberal counterparts to win or defend their seats." That trend is getting more pronounced and she pointed out that for every dollar that the average Progressive Caucus member directly spent to defend his or her seat in 2014, the average right-wing Democrat spent $1.93. By comparison, right-wing Democrats shelled out $1.54 for every campaign dollar spent by liberals by 2012 and $1.65 in 2010.

She doesn't get into it, but these figures include the way Wall Street-backed conservaDems gigantically outspend progressives in primaries, often with the help of the Democratic Beltway Establishment which has now entirely abandoned its pretense of being neutral in primaries. Let's look at a few of the most recent examples from the last cycle. Here are 4 notable races that pitted New Dem types who back cutting Social Security benefits against progressives who favor expanding Social Security. In each case, the corporate-backed right-winger seriously outspent the progressive:
CA-17- Ro Khanna- $4,427,701, Mike Honda- $3,447,979
CA-31- Pete Aguilar- $2,246,265, Eloise Reyes- $1,029,617
IL-13- Ann Callis- $1,936,927, George Gollin- $522,126
VA-08- Don Beyer- $2,688,020, Patrick Hope- $307,599
The New Dem analysis for why they have to spend more than real Democrats never touches on the fact that the New Dems' conservative policy agenda turns off Democratic primary voters. Instead they claim that "moderate districts are by definition competitive... In 2014, outside groups spent an average of $2.2 million per race in New Democrat and Blue Dog districts, compared with an average of $299,339 in Progressive Caucus districts. All told, outside groups spent $121 million on moderate districts, vs. $20.4 million in liberal ones." [Keep in mind that New Dems and Blue Dogs and their propagandists like Kim, always refer to them as "moderate" rather than as the conservatives that they are.]

In January, after Long Island Blue Dog and DCCC chair Steve Israel led the House Democrats to a second consecutive electoral donnybrook, he gave Politico an interview indicating he has every intention of following the same catastrophic strategy that tanked the Democrats in 2010, 2012 and 2014 (the Israel years). Several members of Congress have told me that Israel's pointless, policy-free messaging doesn't appeal to real voters and that that's why so many Democrats just don't bother voting. Israel recruits Republican-lite candidates (in some cases, actual Republicans) and then fills the airwaves with ineffective, garbage messaging and still expects to win. He doesn't win; he loses... and loses and loses. And yet, Pelosi left him in charge-- albeit with another title-- of the DCCC again, where he is already talking about how the Democrats won't win back the House in 2016. He's right. The Democrats will never win back the House as long as Steve Israel is running the show, or even partially running the show.
House Democrats will hammer home the message of “middle-class economics” in hopes of reviving their fortunes in 2016.

After three months of griping that their party’s midterm-election message was too complex and often too diluted, lawmakers who gathered here for a three-day Democratic retreat hope they have found the formula for reversing the losses they took in November.

We’re “absolutely unified on three essential messages going forward: It’s middle class, middle class, middle class,” said Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), who had just surveyed 90 Democratic members about what they want to see in 2016. “Everybody agreed that it has to be about the middle.”

Israel, the new chairman of the House Democrats’ messaging arm, said another problem in 2014 was that news on Ebola, Ukraine and Islamic militants knocked domestic concerns from voters’ minds.

...It’s an optimistic goal-- Democrats would need to sweep 30 seats to regain the majority. But Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján, who outlined the party’s political strategy during the retreat, argued that the GOP is overextended going into 2016.

According to a source in the room, the New Mexico Democrat told members that the DCCC has identified 26 House districts that Obama won in 2012 that are now occupied by a GOP lawmaker, and another 23 where Obama got at least 48 percent of the vote.

But Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the Democratic whip, expressed cautious optimism that the party would win back the House in 2016.

“I think we can take back the House in 2016,” Hoyer said. “But if you were betting a whole lot money, would I tell you to bet a whole lot of money that we can take back the House in 2016? I wouldn’t.”

In the survey results released Thursday, Democrats widely said they had lacked a unified message to cut through the noise of the midterms, in addition to failing to appeal to the middle class or capitalize on good news about the economy.

The survey was designed to help Democratic leaders examine what went wrong during the midterms, in which the party ceded 13 seats to Republicans, sinking it further into the minority than Democrats had been in decades. Democrats hope that in 2016, demographics and the excitement of a potential Hillary Clinton presidential ticket will aid their chances.

During a closed-door meeting Thursday, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told lawmakers that during the midterm campaigns, “I listened to your policy discussion and my eyes glazed over.”

“You can’t repeat them outside your rotary club,” Dean told the lawmakers. “Keep it simple. You don’t win on policy. You win on values.”

Other speakers [New Dems and other Wall Street shills] said during the breakout sessions that Democrats need to focus on growth, not redistribution of wealth, when talking to voters.
And the DCCC continues spending virtually all its resources trying to reelect and elect Blue Dogs and New Dems who vote with the GOP and have no connection to the Democratic values-driven grassroots. If you contribute to the DCCC, that's the toilet your money gets flushed down. Instead, consider contributing directly to progressive candidates-- like these challengers and these incumbents.

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At 7:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Israel's pointless, policy-free messaging doesn't appeal to real voters and that that's why so many Democrats just don't bother voting. Israel recruits Republican-lite candidates ... and then fills the airwaves with ineffective, garbage messaging and still expects to win. He doesn't win; he loses... and loses and loses."

Having watched this process up close a few times, it seems to me that the "ineffective, garbage messaging" produced by the DCCC's house brand media advisors and driven by its house brand pollsters, which candidates pretty much have to use if they want the tap on that sweet, sweet DCCC money to flow, may be the actual point of the entire process of contribution and expenditure: a machine that grabs money and burns it for the exclusive benefit of a closed circle of contractors and insiders, without regard to the actual needs of candidates or the party as a whole. But whether it's actually crooked in a legal sense or not, how much expensive failure can an organization tolerate? We continue to find out.

At 4:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think this observation above is spot-on. the godawful messaging work is a service in search of clients. if they didn't have this particular pipeline they'd have to actually prove effectiveness to sell it.

At 9:11 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I call it Bob Shrum Syndrome.


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