If this new decree from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) were in place a couple years ago, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would likely not be in Congress right now. The DCCC has decided that anyone primarying any Democrat should be treated as a pariah, and they should have no future in liberal politics. 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.
The DCCC’s mission is not policy-centric, per their own admission. In a memo, they wrote “The core mission of the DCCC is electing House Democrats, which includes supporting and protecting incumbents.” This kind of mindset leaves no room for ideology, and is just pure partisanship. This is no different from the loyalty pledge that Donald Trump tries to force out of people who work for him. It doesn’t matter what you do, just don’t attack Democrats and the DCCC will support your campaign.
This is a direct rebuke to groups like Justice Democrats, who are launching a nationwide search to challenge Democrats in safe districts who do not represent the will of the people. The simplest way to prove that the Democratic Party does not represent the wishes of its base is to take Medicare for All polling. It’s practically a consensus on the left that Democratic voters want socialized medicine. Hell, a majority of Republicans want socialized medicine, and yet, only 33% of Senate Democrats support Medicare for All.
It’s an unimpeachable fact that your average Republican voter is farther to the left on health care than your average Democratic Senator.
This is why we need to primary Democrats. Now, granted, you don’t want to go crazy with purity tests because purple districts exist and all politics is local. But in safe districts like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (or Beto O’Rourke’s), there is no good reason to oppose the liberal will of the electorate. These people are supposed to be representatives, and the DCCC is trying to destroy people’s careers who dare try to hold Democrats accountable to public will.
The Democratic Party has come a long way since the worst election loss in human history, but there is still a ways to go. The rot starts at the top, as it couldn’t be clearer that not only have many major liberal power centers not learned anything from 2016, but they don’t even want to learn anything from from their failures.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.