The Dem Party Establishment’s Long, Ugly History Of Sabotaging Progressives Candidates

By Branko Marcetic
In These Times (4/5/18 – May issue)

In February, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) attempted to undermine Democratic primary candidate Laura Moser out of fear she’s too far left. The Houston journalist and activist is running in Texas’s 7th District on a platform of single payer, gun control and reproductive rights. In a move typically reserved for Republican opponents, the DCCC—whose mission is to fundraise for Democratic House candidates—posted opposition research it had conducted on Moser. Citing her recent move to Texas from Washington, D.C., and her campaign’s payments to her husband’s D.C. research firm, the memo portrayed her as corrupt and a carpetbagger.

Despite these attacks, Moser came in second in the primary, moving on to a May 22 runoff.

This could well be the year the Democrats take control of the House for the first time since 2010. Of the 90 seats the party is targeting for November, just 24 need to turn blue, a prospect made all the more exciting by the Bernie Sanders-inspired deluge of progressive candidates around the country. But the DCCC is emerging as that movement’s counterweight, if not downright enemy.

Turning the House purple

The DCCC, chaired by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), has teamed up with the House’s centrist Blue Dog caucus to recruit candidates for the 2018 elections, attempting to replicate the 2006 strategy of then-DCCC chair Rahm Emanuel. Democrats did win back the House in 2006 (arguably due as much to George W. Bush’s historic unpopularity as to Emanuel), but the influx of conservative Democrats contributed to a watering down of the Affordable Care Act and Wall Street reform, a shift to austerity, and, eventually, legislative stalemate.

That doesn’t seem to bother the DCCC.

At a critical time for the Democratic Party to start winning, the establishment appears content to follow the same blueprint that left the party in electoral shambles.

The Committee’s recruits are heavily weighted toward military veterans and former national security officials. Elissa Slotkin, a DCCC-backed candidate in Michigan’s 8th District, worked for the CIA in Iraq under John Negroponte before moving to George W. Bush’s National Security Council and then Barack Obama’s State and Defense Departments. Slotkin was an architect of the failed “surge” strategy in Iraq and continues to claim it as a success. As recently as 2014, she praised Negroponte—whose claim to fame is covering up the atrocities committed by Reagan-supported right-wing forces in Central America.

Well-heeled & well-connected

The DCCC’s candidates also skew toward the well-heeled and well-connected. An heir to a liquor fortune, a millionaire philanthropist, a furniture company heir and former State Department official, the former executive of a shoe company once accused of labor abuses: All appear on the DCCC’s 2018 roster. Angie Craig, running in Minnesota’s 2nd District, was an executive of a powerful medical technology company and spent her time there funneling money to mostly Republicans.

In Nebraska’s 2nd District, the DCCC lent a hand to Brad Ashford—a former Republican who favors abortion restrictions—at the expense of his more progressive primary challenger Kara Eastman, who supports reproductive rights, Medicare for All and other progressive policies. Over in Virginia’s 2nd, the DCCC swung in early behind businesswoman Elaine Luria, a military veteran who twice voted for her Republican opponent, over Karen Mallard, a union member who supports a $15 minimum wage and universal healthcare.

DCCC officials and alumni have also reportedly stepped in to nudge progressive candidates out of several House races. …

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(Commoner Call cartoons by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to )


Scum & Villainy: Meet The Right-wing DINOS the DCCC Is Planning To ‘Win’ 2018 With


Ann Kirkpatrick cast the vote that kept Guantanamo Bay open and voted against cap-and-trade, and has been a consistent opponent of EPA air-quality measures; Jason Crow says he won’t take corporate PAC money, so instead he’s funded by his law firm which lobbies for casinos, fossil fuel companies (he also opposed gun control after the Aurora shooting happened on his watch in his district, having received large sums from the gun lobby) and he’s the beneficiary of Bain Capital’s largesse; Paul Davis voted to bar cities from enacting gun control rules, and for a ban on the use of state funds to support gun control lobbying, he’s supported drug tests for welfare recipients and a corporate tax cut during the recession.

Elissa Slotkin is a hereditary millionaire who is ex-CIA, ex-Bush National Security Council, ex-Obama Department of Defense, she participated in a coverup of Reagan-funded death squads in Central America; Brad Ashford introduced bills to lower corporate taxes and ban the hiring of undocumented workers, consistently voted with Republicans when he was in Congress (including voting for repeals of Wall Street regs and Obamacare, and for the Keystone XL pipeline), he supports DACA repeal, opposed the Iran deal, and doesn’t want Gitmo to ever close, and supported a bill to allow racial discrimination in auto lending.

Jeff Van Drew has a 100% rating from the NRA and is lavishly funded by gun lobbyists, voted against raising minimum wage, against death-penalty abolition, for reviving the death penalty, against affordable housing quotes, in favor of pulling his state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and introduced a state constitutional amendment requiring parental notification for teens having abortions; Millionaire Susie Lee owns seventeen homes and her own airplane; she voted against the Iran deal.

What do they all have in common? They’re backed by the DCCC and/or the New Democrat Coalition and similar leading establishment “centrist” Democratic organizations as part of their “Red to Blue” strategy for flipping GOP-held seats later this year.

Just another reason you shouldn’t give a dime to the Democratic establishment. Instead, support Our Revolutionthe Great Slate and Brand New Congress.

Link to Story


Dems Beware: Here’s Some Of The Quislings The Corporate Democrats Running The Party Want You To Vote For This November

Millionaires, mediocrities and militarists — a sneak preview of the Democratic Party’s new fall lineup.

By Branko Marcetic
Jacobin (4/2/18)

It’s no secret that the Democrats are going for a repeat of 2006. All the elements are there: a deeply unpopular president; a host of districts seemingly ready to turn blue; and an aggressive push by the national party committees. Key to these efforts is the DCCC’s “Red to Blue” campaign, a list of Democratic candidates — sometimes recruited, sometimes not — in flippable districts who are singled out for extra help from the party.

So what can the party’s voters expect if these lucky individuals are voted in? The list — much like the party’s picks in general — tends towards military veterans and former officials, particularly if they happen to be business owners, wealthy, and well-connected. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the more notable names on the list. …

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(Commoner Call cartoons by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to )


Knowing The Difference Between ‘A’ Problem & ‘The’ Problem: Our Trumputin ‘Fresh Hell’ Is The Result Of Our Selective National Blindness


On The Media / WNYC (3/30/18)

Fifteen years since the start of the Iraq War, we live in what many see as a fresh hell: the erosion of institutions and standards at the highest levels. But political science professor Corey Robin argues that the Trump era is merely an extension of the same reflex that gave us the Iraq War — and much that preceded it. Robin recently wrote a piece for Harper’s Magazineabout the American tendency to re-imagine the past [See below]. He and Brooke discuss our collective failure to draw connections between Trump and what came before, and how it forms part of a longer pattern of forgetting in American culture.

Link to Story and 10-Minute Audio

(Commoner Call cartoons by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to )


Words For Democrats To Heed Gearing Up For Fall Elections & 2020

“It is fundamentally flawed to believe you can achieve the ends of moral policy with the means of moral compromise. You cannot travel north no matter how small the steps you take south.”

— Garry Kasparov, “Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin & The Enemies Of The Free World Must Be Stopped”, 2015 (p.114)