A little over a week ago, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced a new, Trump-like loyalty pledge that, if it were in place pre-2016, would mean that congresspeople like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez almost certainly would not be currently serving in Congress. Per the National Journal:
The campaign arm on Friday sent out a list of hiring standards to more than 100 political firms, including one provision that made clear it will neither contract with nor recommend to House candidates any political vendors that work to oust sitting members of Congress. That offers key protection to the caucus’s moderate members in battleground seats, where House control will be won or lost.
It is intended to help stymie attempts by insurgent progressive groups who plan to primary incumbents deemed insufficiently liberal on key issues, but also to shield members of the party’s ascendant liberal wing who represent safe Democratic territory and could face intraparty challenges of their own.
The new protocol, intentionally debuted early in the off-year before most campaign hiring begins, presents a stark financial deterrent to the country’s top firms that provide essential services ranging from polling to TV advertising to strategy. It could cripple would-be primary opponents’ ability to entice top talent to join their staff. The DCCC independent-expenditure arm doles out millions in contracts to consultants and drives more revenue toward them by connecting campaigns with vetted operatives.
This is nothing more than a brazen, Trump-like attempt by the Democratic oligarchy to fossilize corporate power at the top of the party. By ensuring that anyone who wants to work with insurgent candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Ayanna Pressley will not have a career in Democratic politics, the DCCC is attempting to neuter the progressive uprising on the left.
Luckily, the progressive uprising on the left is infinitely better at politics than the decrepit old guard of the Democratic Party, and this weekend, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went on the offensive, telling people to stop giving money to the DCCC and instead, give it straight to the candidates themselves.
Perhaps the Democratic Party's most popular politician is telling people not to donate to one of the central campaign arms of the Democratic Party. This is, as we say in the business, a big freaking deal.
Sunday proved to be a truly powerful moment, as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her legion of donors proved to the dinosaurs running the DCCC that we do not need them in order to raise lots of money for Democrats through existing Democratic campaign infrastructure like ActBlue.
The DCCC exists for one reason and one reason only: to maintain corporate hegemony over the only liberal party in America. It’s a basic fact that corporate America is opposed to the left because the left wants to restrict their power. Pro-corporate policies are inherently conservative in any capitalist system. This is a war for power over the party, and not fighting back means losing our grip on the direction of the Dems. The DCCC and their corporate overlords have immense power within the Democratic Party, as this Trump-like loyalty pledge proves. The only thing we can do is fight back.
Otherwise, the Green New Deal and Medicare for All will go the way of the public option in the ACA—and get turned into some Heritage Foundation-approved tire fire that does nothing other than further enrich America’s oligarchy. Our representatives in both parties simply do not represent us, as demonstrated by the staggering juxtaposition of a majority of Republicans wanting Medicare for All while just 33% of Senate Democrats endorse this policy supported by large majorities on the left. Our representatives by-and-large only represent their major donors, as proven by efforts like this from the DCCC. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her millions of social media followers spent the weekend proving that it’s actually possible for Democratic politicians to represent both their donors and their constituents. They just need to view them as being one and the same.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.