The bedrock of a democratic process is that the voters are given a choice; without this, modern democracies (and republics) are no better than dictatorships where a choice of one candidate only is allowed. We saw signs of this in the primary race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders which was exposed by Donna Brazile. And they are doing it again.
As the Democratic Party seeks to ensure that only “establishment candidates” make it to the ballot paper, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) are attempting to pressure other candidates out of the race.
In Colorado, Levi Tillemann (regarded as a progressive) is seeking to run for office against Jason Crow. Crow has already received the backing of the DCCC and appears to be the “anointed one.” Representative Stephen Hoyer (minority whip and a ranking Democrat) put the party’s position across to Tillemann in an effort to make him drop out of the race; what Hoyer didn’t know, is that he was being recorded.
What follows is a transcript of the conversation that has been released by Tillemann to The Intercept, and appears with edits requested by Tillemann himself regarding personal details:
HOYER: Levi, obviously I wanted to talk to you about this congressional race.
TILLEMANN: You would like me to get out of the race.
HOYER: You keep saying I would like you to get out, and of course that’s correct.
TILLEMANN: I know you’re fundraising for Crow.
HOYER: Yeah. I’m for Crow. I am for Crow because a judgment was made very early on. I didn’t participate in the decision.
TILLEMANN: So your position is a decision was made very early on because voters had a say. That’s fine because the DCCC knows better than the voters of the Sixth Congressional District, and we should line up behind that candidate.
HOYER: That’s certainly a consequence of our decision. There are two things I would like you to consider. One may be easier than the other. First would be, if you stay in the race — and frankly, I hope that you would not — but I’ll get to that in a second. But if you stay in the race, it is not useful to the objective to tear down Crow. Crow’s clearly the favorite; doesn’t mean he’ll win, just means he’s the favorite.
TILLEMANN: I hear you.
HOYER: That doesn’t mean it’s right, just means —
TILLEMANN: No, I hear you.
HOYER: I don’t know Crow well, but I think he’s a decent human being.Levi Tillemann
TILLEMANN: So before we go any further on that, Crow is the favorite in no small part, Congressman Hoyer, because the DCCC not only put its finger on the scale, but started jumping on the scale very early on. I’m born and raised a Democrat, I mean, it’s undemocratic to have a small elite select someone and then try to rig the primary against the other people running, and that’s basically what’s been happening.
HOYER: I hear you, and I disagree.
TILLEMANN: But you were part of that process.
TILLEMANN: You said, “Abso —”?
HOYER: I’ve been at this a long time. When I said we need to get in strong, hard, and early, you disagree with me. You know, obviously, that’s your choice.
TILLEMANN: You guys are shoveling money at him.
HOYER: We’re going to continue.
TILLEMANN: You’re going to continue to do it?
HOYER: We are going to continue to do it, and the reason, Levi, we’re going to do it is because a decision was made to focus. It was clear that was our policy and our hope that we could, early on, try to come to an agreement on a candidate that we thought could win the general, and to give that candidate all the help we could give them so that we would have a unified effort going into a general election.
TILLEMANN: Which means effectively, Congressman Hoyer, I’m running a campaign against Crow, and against you, and against the DCCC, because you guys are on Crow’s side.
HOYER: Yeah. You know, frankly, that happens in life all the time.
Red to Blue Purge
This is not just taking place in Colorado. It is part of a national strategy by the DCCC in red states that they think might turn blue. Other potential candidates have come forward and spoken of the party machinations designed to leave a clear path for the party’s preference. The candidates that are anointed receive funding, exposure, training, and backing that all but guarantees them the nomination regardless of the district voters’ wishes.
Democrat Kara Eastman of Nebraska faces a tough challenge along with 16 other potentials as the “chosen son” Brad Ashford is added to the “Red to Blue” list.
The DCCC also tried to get Texas’ Laura Moser to stand down (along with six other candidates) to leave the route clear for another of their establishment picks. But Moser, being a tenacious journalist and activist, has turned the situation to her advantage positioning herself the heroic underdog. She said:
“I’m running a local congressional race on local issues, and I didn’t mean to be this kind of folk hero of the left. That’s definitely not what they wanted to do, but that was the result, I think.”
And Pelosi Chimes In
With all the shenanigans taking place, you might think that the head honchos of the DNC would stay out of this, or at least distance themselves. But not so for Nancy Pelosi who fails to recognize that there is perhaps a touch of scandal over this affair.
When questioned regarding Hoyer’s (and by implication the DCCC) actions, she stated:
“I don’t know that a person can tape a person without the person’s consent and then release it to the press.
In terms of candidates and campaigns, I don’t see anything inappropriate in what Mr. Hoyer was engaged in — a conversation about the realities of life in the race as to who can make the general election.”
And this is the arrogance and blindness that will eventually destroy the party. It is an attitude of superiority that all but neglects the will of the actual people; deeming “reality,” the choices of the leadership. No, Nancy, the reality is that people should be free to make their own choice over who represents them; if she and her party can’t understand this, then there is really neither hope nor option left for traditional Democratic Party voters.