New grassroots progressive energy is permeating the Democratic Party across the Nation, but reports surfaced this week of Ben Ray Lujan and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee huddling with Wall St and padding Party coffers with almost $150M in mostly corporate donations. This is not OK.
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan has served New Mexico well. He has risen through the ranks of the Democratic Party. He is in a safe Congressional seat. He has an opportunity to create important change in the direction of the Democratic Party, away from its all too cozy alliances with Wall St., the hospital, health and pharma industry and with industries and unions that are more concerned with pipeline jobs than creating a new sustainable economy.
Unfortunately, there is overwhelming evidence reported below, that the Democratic Party has not learned from the 2016 election or the last 40 years where its centrist message and corporate ties have led Democrats to lose the House, the Senate, one state legislature after another and then the White House to the most unpopular Presidential candidate in US history. Reports broke yesterday of memos from Wall St and other corporate lobbyists to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with a range of troubling messages that when considered in the context of other Democratic Party leadership actions and comments over the past months, indicate that Rep. Lujan, the DCCC and the Democratic Party are going to stay the same corporate, centrist course.
There are many Democrats who are tired of losing because our leadership continues to betray the majority of Americans in order to curry favor with the 1%. Bernie Sanders demonstrated that the American people, when inspired, will contribute generously and often and they will work ceaselessly to advance the cause, but the new progressive activism in the Democratic Party will wither if the Party continues on the same old path. As a post last week reported, No Is Not Enough. We have to stand for something and with climate change posing a finite deadline, we have no time for centrist corporate accommodations. As reported last week, Naomi’s Klein’s No Is Not Enough and the Progressive Democrats of America have published bold platforms, the only kind of YES that can save this planet Click here to review that report.
Speaking for myself: I’d rather go down in flames supporting a Party and candidates that stood for YES, that told America it is time to pull together and work for justice. The current Democratic Party is only offering another form of No.
It is time to hear from our Democratic leadership throughout the State. Is the summary below ok with you? It is time to hear from Rep. Lujan, Rep Lujan Grisham, Sen Udall, Sen. Heinrich, Richard Ellenberg, and local leaders like Sen Peter Wirth, Rep. Brian Egolf and Mayor Gonzales. Are you ok with the current direction of the Democratic Party as described below?
The International Business Times reports that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), a committee chaired by our own Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, has been conducting meetings with corporate lobbyists and raising almost $59M so far in 2017 (as described by The Intercept the 2016 figure was almost $150M. The IBT goes on to report that “Democratic Party groups were lambasted by progressive politicians, activists and local party officials for failing to devote adequate resources to progressive candidates in some 2017 congressional special elections held in areas not traditionally competitive for the party, such as Montana and Kansas, and overemphasizing the race in Georgia, where moderate Democrat John Ossoff lost to conservative Republican Karen Handel amidst tens of millions of dollars in election spending.”
As reported in the IBT, memos from Wall St executives have surfaced specifically complaining about how Elizabeth Warren does not represent the Democratic Party, with one memo specifically mentioning Wall St. being more comfortable with Clinton’s messaging that focuses on “bad actors” in the finance industry, as if there are good actors. The IBT article goes on: “Joyce Brayboy, a Goldman Sachs lobbyist and a member of the Democratic National Committee who helped elect establishment-aligned Tom Perez as DNC chair over progressive Keith Ellison, and Michael Pease, co-head of global government affairs at Goldman Sachs, met with the DCCC to convey similar concerns. They “feel like the rhetoric [around Wall Street] is problematic,” the document states. Goldman employees who support Democrats felt that they were being attacked,” The article goes on to detail the over 600 CEOs who are making maximum donations to the DCCC and points to one hedge fund operator who in 2016 poured $42M into supporting Democratic campaigns. No wonder regulations on Wall St go nowhere. Click here to read the full IBT report.
In many ways, The Intercept’s article on this issue is even more revealing. Though a very short article, The Intercept traces one instance after another where memos from:
- Finance lobbyists brazenly remind Lujan and the DCCC of past support and how concerns with Warren are creating “headwinds” and that they are concerned that Warren is raising concerns about the integrity and trustworthiness of the banking industry — a classic example of blaming the messenger;
- Labor representatives lament Democratic resistance to fossil fuel pipelines that provide jobs;
- Health and hospital industries warn about concerns about Democratic support for allowing the government to create health exchanges that could compete with private plans, jeopardizing their profits.
This is business as usual. Click here to read The Intercept article.
These reports come on the heels of some pretty compelling evidence that the Democratic Party at a national level is simply not paying attention to the voters.
- Only three weeks after the catastrophic November election, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, at the top of Democratic leadership in the House, said on Face the Nation: “I don’t think people want a new direction. Our values unify us and our values are about supporting America’s working families.” Betraying working families and heeding the input of the financial industry that fleeced those families is NOT “supporting working families.”
- Corporate led pressure and pressure even from Pres. Obama prevented Keith Ellison from winning the DNC Chair position;
- This month, the NY Times reported: “Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, replied with a flat ‘no’ when asked if Democrats should make single-payer a central theme in 2018. The comfort level with the broader base of the American people is not there yet,” Pelosi said. This, despite various polls showing 58% of Americans and 70% of Democrats support Single Payer.
- From the Guardian: “Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee chairman, travelled to Atlanta to support Ossoff, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $5m – backing that campaign.This level of support was absent from the campaign of the progressive Democrat James Thompson in a Kansas special congressional election in April.” To read the Guardian Report, click here. With that kind of support from the Democratic Party, progressives could have won in Kansas and in Montana.
- From the New York Times: “If the national Democratic Party would start getting more involved in these races earlier, then maybe we could flip them,” Mr. Thompson said in an interview. “It’s frustrating.” Thompson was the Montana progressive who narrowly lost in his special election campaign, despite receiving virtually no Party support. Click here.
I can’t speak for other progressive Democrats who are trying to revitalize and reform the Democratic Party of New Mexico (DPNM). But I am guessing that hundreds of those Democrats investing their time in ward meetings, canvassing, County and State Committees and attending DPNM and DPSF fundraisers are NOT going to be amused by this report. Retake leadership met yesterday and raised very strong concerns. We are seeking a meeting with Rep. Lujan’s staff and other leadership of DPNM so they can hear our concerns and answer our questions. The Democratic Party was positively gleeful about the prospects of GOP elected officials having to go home to hear from their constituents about Trumpcare and other failed policies. It is time for the Democratic Party to hear from its constituents. We need some answers.
Paul & Roxanne