The still-not-officially-declared Blue vs. Blue battle for the soul of the Democratic Party just got a little more heated. The latest round in the clash between Old Guard politicians and younger, more radical progressives, has seen the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee – the campaign arm of House Democrats – send a letter to more than 100 political firms. The DCCC informed recipients that it will not work with any groups that sign up to help defeat sitting Dem incumbents, or recommend such outlets to 2020 political candidates.
“The core mission of the DCCC Is electing House Democrats, which includes supporting and protecting incumbents,” the committee wrote in a memo obtained by Fox News.”To that end, the DCCC will not conduct business with, nor recommend to any of its targeted campaigns, any consultant that works with an opponent of a sitting Member of the House Democratic Caucus.”
Defending Their Troughs
Self-described “democratic socialist” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) shocking primary victory over Dem bigwig Joe Crowley in 2018 woke up establishment party figures to the fact that they had a grassroots fire on hand. It was a challenge within their own ranks that could become every bit as dangerous as the Donald Trump-led revolt against the Republican ruling class in 2016. Booted from office, Crowley naturally has now become a lobbyist for Tony K Street firm Squire Patton Boggs.
Other Swamp Dems worried about having their cozy congressional seats swiped from under them by leftist firebrands are now turning the establishment money machine against the young would-be usurpers. “The DCCC is oftentimes the gatekeeper for consultants to get to candidates,” Ian Russell, a campaign media strategist and former top official at the committee, told National Journal. “Unless you have a steady stream of income coming from another source, it would be very difficult to navigate the House world if you were shut out by the DCCC.”
But progressive populists remain undeterred. “The DCCC can do anything it wants to try to prevent the next generation of Democrats from taking power. They will not succeed,” said Sean McElwee, co-founder of the progressive activist group Data for Progress. He and his cohorts are deadly serious about removing what they see as the outdated dinosaurs that have controlled the Democratic Party for too long.
McElwee was the lead author of a 2018 policy report commissioned by Justice Democrats, the very same group that issued a casting call for progressive Democrats and discovered Ocasio-Cortez as a primary opponent to Crowley. Titled “The Future of the Party,” the manifesto openly draws a line in the sand between Old Guard Dems and the new interlopers:
“While pundits debate the future of the party, the Democratic Party’s base is united around policies that would create a fair economy for all, racial justice, and gender equality. Still, many in the party leadership and wealthy donor class express concerns that such policies will endanger the party.
This report tackles these questions head on, demonstrating with polling data that the Democratic Party’s base has moved left, and voters are ready for a progressive agenda. Though the party elites may be ‘divided’ the base is not; they are ready for unabashed progressive politicians.”
McElwee declares that his report “shows that a pivot toward the ‘center’ is poison with the Democratic primary electorate,” and that “many Democratic incumbents are failing their constituents by opposing progressive policies with broad-based support.”
Insurgents Have the Initiative
Whether or not this lurch to the hard left makes for good electoral strategy is beside the point. Progressives are succeeding in moving the party this way, and the establishment figures have been reduced to performing rearguard actions meant to preserve their tottering empire. The DCCC’s move to cut off funding and staffing sources for the challengers to the throne is merely one such reactionary measure.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her aging generation of Democratic power politicians are threatening, cajoling and trying to bargain with the revolutionaries who do not feel represented by the blue shade of Uniparty cronyism embodied by the older generation. It does not matter how these veteran Dems manipulate the purse strings of electoral influence; their efforts are doomed to fail unless they can lean on an authentic base of popular support to justify their continued existence. The Republican establishment was completely unable to do this against the Trump Tsunami in 2016. That is why former House speaker Paul Ryan is retired today, and the Bush family dynasty has been consigned to the ash heap of history.
Surely Democrats must understand that nobody is clamoring for more careerist Sen. Dianne Feinsteins (D-CA) or Rep. Steny Hoyers (D-MD) to lead the party going forward? But with no prominent protégés to nurture, the Old Guard is reduced to holding on for dear life, to something it seems to know is coming to an end. Rather than taming the surging tide of restless opposition swirling all around them, this latest move to protect the old ways of a fading Swamp establishment only further highlights the grave peril in which our ruling class finds itself.