Progressive Insurgency vs. Corporate Democrats: Round Two
“The question that comes up all the time is, is there anybody internally assisting and abetting, encouraging people to run against incumbents?”
- Rep. Bill Pascrell
You know you've gotten their attention when your opponents get paranoid.
Politicians should be spooked by the voters. Unfortunately they aren't. Yet.
That may be about to change.
The 2016 Sanders campaign took the establishment by surprise.
They had to use all sorts of dirty tricks, that they hadn't had to publicly use in decades, to keep Bernie from winning.
I believe that they honestly weren't aware of and didn't understand the unrest in the progressive base. They thought the problem was Sanders. By defeating him they could go back to the status quo.
They were/are that out-of-touch.
Instead they triggered a Progressive Insurgency.
The results so far have been less than earthshaking.
Challengers to incumbents have historically struggled. Besides Ocasio-Cortez, the only other progressive Democrat to defeat an incumbent last year was Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), who beat Rep. Michael Capuano in a heavily blue Boston district.
This is true, but only from a certain point of view.
First of all, all primary challengers face long odds.
Secondly, progressive challengers face longer odds than most because the establishment and media will always oppose them.
Third, progressives actually had more success than this would indicate. For example, the annihilation of the NY Independent Democratic Conference by progressives.
“Hey, shut the f... up or go outside!”
- California state party Chairman John Burton to impudent peasants
I'm certain that the Democratic establishment's plan was to wait out the unexpected unrest from the base. That strategy has worked for decades, so why change now?
Things will go back to Wall Street-friendly normal after the 2018 election.
Except that hasn't happened.
A specter is haunting the House of Representatives: the specter of primaries. All the powers of the status quo have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this specter. Blacklists have been drawn up; arms have been locked. The ferocity with which House Democratic incumbents have rallied around each other reached absurd new dimensions this week. With Crisanta Duran, the first Latina state House speaker in Colorado history, challenging Rep. Diana Degette, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus weighed into the primary — on behalf of Degette.
Democratic Reps. Dan Lipinski, Ill.; Eliot Engel, N.Y.; Henry Cuellar, Texas; Steny Hoyer, Md.; and Jerry Nadler, N.Y., are all facing primary challenges, and paranoia is being stoked inside the Democratic caucus.
Some members of the Democratic establishment have resorted to threats.
“I don’t know what that agenda is, but if they want to come after members of the Black Caucus, it’s two ways,” warned Meeks, the Queens Democratic Party boss who clashed with Justice Democrats in a local district attorney race last month.
Some Democrats are hoping that Ocasio-Cortez, the rabble-rousing freshman with 4.7 million Twitter followers, gets a primary challenge herself in 2020.
He and his father, Bill Clay, have represented the district for the past 50 years, and Lacy Clay called the group’s actions “insulting” to the intelligence of Missouri voters.
“They are going after the wrong target. Instead of fighting Republicans and defeating Trump and holding on to our majority, they find it convenient to go after their own, which is to me a bunch of B.S.,” Clay told The Hill.
He likened Justice Democrats to “Russian trolls of 2016” trying to sow divisions in the Democratic Party.
I like how one one hand he says "their own", and in the next breath says "Russian trolls".
What is going on now is far different from 2016, when it was all about just one candidate. It's even different from 2018, because now, thanks in part to the DCCC to blacklist primary challengers, there is a growing progressive infrasructure to challenge establishment incumbants.
"The DCCC blacklist backfired spectacularly because not only did it unite candidates behind a common cause, but because it connected us with candidates who never would have found us otherwise," Katz said, adding that business has been so good she has had to turn away prospective clients. "We're already in the black, and I feel like I'm on the right side of history."
...Justice Democrats, the insurgent-left group that recruited Ocasio-Cortez, started a website called the DCCCBlacklist.com, to act as a one-stop shop for candidates looking for strategists, field organizers, advertisement makers, tech vendors and more.
There is even something called the Movement School, a 10-week professional development program developed by people affiliated with AOC and the Justice Democrats.
Despite all of this, the Democratic establishment isn't giving even an inch.
They refuse to endorse any true progressives of any kind on any level.
If I was to make a prediction, I would say that the elites in the Democratic Party will still win most of the primary battles. After all, they have all of the media and most of the money on their side.
But I expect the Progressive Insurgency to score twice as many upset victories as they did in 2018. Soon the "Gang of Four" that Pelosi complains about will be the "Gang of Twelve".
At that point the Democratic establishment will be under immense pressure to actually listen to their base.