RSN Fundraising Banner
The DCCC Is Trying to Put Me Out of Business - and I'm a Democrat
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=50448"><span class="small">Monica Klein, The Intercept</span></a>   
Tuesday, 26 March 2019 13:17

Klein writes: "Six hours after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced that it was blacklisting firms that work with primary challengers, I met with a potential client who was considering a Democratic primary. The client told me that two consultants dropped out that morning - and now the candidate may not run at all.*"

Newly elected chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Representative Cheri Bustos, arrives for the House Democrats' leadership elections in Washington, D.C., November 29, 2018. (photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)
Newly elected chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Representative Cheri Bustos, arrives for the House Democrats' leadership elections in Washington, D.C., November 29, 2018. (photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)

The DCCC Is Trying to Put Me Out of Business - and I'm a Democrat

By Monica Klein, The Intercept

26 March 19


ix hours after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced that it was blacklisting firms that work with primary challengers, I met with a potential client who was considering a Democratic primary. The client told me that two consultants dropped out that morning — and now the candidate may not run at all.*

The timing of the DCCC’s blacklist is not remotely coincidental. In the first quarter of an off-year, many potential candidates decide whether to jump into a race. If campaign staff dries up before day one, a once-daunting campaign can feel impossible.

This is precisely what the DCCC wants. The committee is hoping that these young women will stop contemplating challenges against Democratic incumbents. We can’t allow the DCCC to succeed and block these brave challengers.

Like many women in their 20s across America, I feel inexplicably hopeful and manifestly seen when I watch Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez take on the stale and insular political dynamics of Washington. We feel spoken for and welcome to speak when we see one of our own — a young, fearless woman in fire engine-red lipstick — transfigure politics from a bureaucratic, impervious institution for old white men into her own bully pulpit for affordable health care, green jobs, and living wages. We cannot imagine a Washington without her.

Ocasio-Cortez’s unapologetic energy in Washington cannot be separated from her decision to run against Joe Crowley in Queens, New York. Every action Ocasio-Cortez takes carries the same fearlessness that prompted her not to wait her turn. Our party desperately needs countless more Ocasio-Cortezes who won’t wait until their representative is done serving — especially when these elected officials have stopped “serving” anyone but themselves and their donors. And we need a national party that encourages and supports firms that work with new progressive challengers.

Yet instead of embracing Ocasio-Cortez and the fresh path she has opened, the DCCC and other national “Democratic” organizations are wrapping their arms more tightly around the heavily white, male incumbent Democrats in Washington.

As astounding as Ocasio-Cortez’s meteoric rise was, part of the now-infamous story is how she did it with just grassroots volunteers and minimal campaign infrastructure. Imagine how many Ocasio-Cortezes we could have if the Democratic Party was supporting firms that work with progressive challengers — instead of threatening us with extinction. There’s a reason why Ocasio-Cortez’s rise seems like a political fairytale to many of us. As consultants, we frequently see talented candidates struggle to gain momentum because of inadequate support. Yes, it’s possible to run a campaign with little paid staff and a team of tireless volunteers. But when your opponent has top-tier fundraisers, pollsters, and digital and communications support, you’re inevitably at a forbidding disadvantage.

For those of us who work in politics, launching a campaign can feel like second nature. But for potential candidates who are new to the political arena, experienced staff can provide a key guiding hand — especially during those critical early months. Outsider candidates without political experience — say, a former bartender or a public school teacher — are precisely the types of leaders we need more of in Washington, and exactly the types of candidates who benefit the most from early campaign guidance.

In the past year alone, I’ve had clients return from meetings with national Democratic organizations dissuaded because they were told that they have no chance of winning and shouldn’t try. I’ve had clients threatened by New York’s Democratic establishment, their donors scared off and their campaign funding dried up. I’ve watched clients struggle to find talented staffers who are willing to work with a primary challenger — and then mocked for making simple campaign missteps. Time after time, the leaders of the Democratic Party who purport to pursue a strong Democratic majority are throwing up roadblocks that make running a viable campaign near-impossible. Yes, there are the shining stars like Ocasio-Cortez who manage to break through. But imagine how many more potential candidates now won’t even try.

As campaign consultants, we must keep working with primary challengers — lifting them up, connecting them to critical early resources, and providing the guidance and support they need to run a successful campaign. But the DCCC needs to do its part. Stop threatening firms with financial ruin if they work with Democratic incumbents and challengers alike. Instead of protecting ineffective Democrats, offer primary challengers access to the resources they need.

At a time when Democrats have largely failed to stir national political excitement, we should encourage reflection and promote debate within our own party. We should recruit and support primary challengers like Ocasio-Cortez across the nation. Yet the DCCC’s efforts to suppress primaries and punish firms for working with challengers accomplish the opposite.

Representatives who are effectively serving their communities should have nothing to fear from a primary challenge. On the other hand, throwing up ridiculous roadblocks and consulting bans is more telling than ever. The old guard of the Democratic Party is petrified — because their record is flimsy, their vision outdated, and their bank accounts filled with corporate donations. This fear is the clearest signal we have that it’s time for a new generation of Democratic leaders. Bring on the primaries.

Email This Page your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+42 # DongiC 2019-03-26 14:40
Progressive Democrats are in a battle with their more moderate and corporate prone colleagues. They will have to struggle to get fair treatment from the DCCC. The fight is worth it; everything is at stake. If we can't do it within the party itself, then, we will have to form a new party. The nation is trending in our direction. We can do it and we must do it. The future of our country and our world depends on what we do in the next two years. Another Trump victory would spell doom on what we hold most dear. Let us bestir ourselves.
+8 # economagic 2019-03-27 07:26
Yes, but with one important quibble: I think it's time we throw out the term "moderate," along with "conservative" and "centrist," for the timid, lazy, thoughtless Democrats who have forgotten what their party stood for the last time the situation became anywhere near as dire as it is today--if they ever knew. I am talking about the 200 or so Democrats in Congress who are there because they think that public service means going through the motions of democracy without ever considering what democracy means. And I am talking about the dozen or two dozen "center-right" members who call themselves Democrats but routinely vote with the Republicans. Has no one noticed Debbie Wasserman Schultz's latest outrage?

And yes, I am talking about the fossil fools, the ancient misleaders of the Democratic party, the DLC clowns who decided that the country needed two right-wing parties so gave us Clinton, Inc., George II, and Obama.

A great many in Congress and the general public have no idea what the original New Deal was and what it accomplished. They should read--or better, listen to--FDR's speeches, and also read up on the history of the US in the Depression and what my parents called "The War." "All" that those giants were facing was the latest in a long string of failures of the capitalist economy (1907, 1893, 1873; just the big ones) and the two greatest war machines ever. Today the planet is burning and the sixth extinction is proceeding apace, while our "leaders" fiddle.
+7 # 47scooter 2019-03-26 22:52
This passionate speech by AOC

reminded me of Nomiki Konst taking on the DNC "Unity" Commission for the DNC's failure to oversee the budget when one billion dollars was spent on Hillary's losing campaign -- $700 million to FIVE consultants -- and hardly any to the state Democratic committees.
+10 # rural oregon progressive 2019-03-26 23:44
This is such a sad and sickening commentary on what used to be my Democratic Party. The pendulum has swung so far to the right, it makes both my wife (of 46 years) and me weep. The current establishment DCCC and DNC are the result of that "pendulum swing". They do not wish to see their gravy-train evaporate. I am not ready to give up. I will use whatever few years I have left in this life to support young and right minded (I mean "correct-minded " progressives to regain control of our once-proud party. I am often embarrassed to call myself a Democrat, because the Democratic Party has been morphing into the neo-lib party that it now is for the past 30 years. If the Party cannot be transformed into its former self, we need to remove it and replace it. My fear is, that this country and world will be forever harmed before we can do this. As retired folk, on a very limited retirement budget, we cannot afford to support each and every true progressive. So, we are doing what we can to support Sanders, and people like those who are now being oppressed and suppressed by the DCCC. We are in the process of writing our "so-called" progressive representatives (house and senate) (DeFazio, Wyden and Merkley) and letting them know that as elected Democrats, we require and demand that they use their positions to stop this bull shit being perpetrated from within their own Party. Thank you Monica Klein for this great piece.
+7 # bobmiller101 2019-03-27 01:20
Let's see how this plays out until 2020. If the DNC keeps putting roadblocks in the way of up and coming candidates, and keeps lambasting the most outspoken progressives, it might finally time to start a new party, Let's see what happens with Bernie. I'm 69, a life-long Democrat who has worked on a number of campaigns, and have just about lost all hope for the Democrats to represent THE PEOPLE and NOT BIG BUSINESS.
+4 # Robbee 2019-03-27 08:37
The DCCC Is Trying to Put Me Out of Business - and I'm a Democrat
By Monica Klein, The Intercept
26 March 19

- the billionaires' last stand? - a stranglehold on the dem party?
+5 # Street Level 2019-03-27 10:58
Both the DNC and RNC are not public entities but rather monopolies that usurped politics in America.
Their CEO's and Board of Directors decide who's "in" and who gets crowned as the nominee.
Real leaders like Bernie have so much public support so they have to let the dog-and-pony show continue until the primary where they allow their delegates to unleash every dirty trick in the book against other candidates delegates before preaching "unity".
Now it appears that the Dem's want "Groping Joe" who will only do well with the older voters who would donate money for the experience.
Even though the Justice Democrats are working from all sides of the party for reform, we still need a third one. No more monopolies.
+2 # economagic 2019-03-27 19:29
All too. Are you old enough to remember the "smoke filled rooms" of the pre-World War II era, where the party bosses would gather before and during the convention and decide who would be their chosen candidate while smoking cigars?

After the war their undemocratic nature became obvious, and they became history in the 60s and 70s as both parties instituted the system of primaries, forcing the bosses to develop new ways to keep the plebes in their place. Television was one of the first, and it was and still is very effective.
+5 # WorkingClass 2019-03-27 19:58
I am 70 years old and I have worked for many Dem candidates over the years. If the party wants to say that only Dem's of a certain stripe should represent the people of any Congressional District it is time to take over the party from the ground up. Go to precinct meetings and run for delegate. Take your friends and take over the precinct. We need to clean house if we are going to have any credibility with the American people. Whatever you do don't let the corporate financed bastards win.
0 # economagic 2019-03-28 17:49
Good advice. BTW, I've been meaning to ask you about the story behind your online handle.