Lujan, Dem. Party Still Shamelessly Tilting the Scales. On the Plus Side: We Won Yesterday

First the good news: by a 5-4 vote SB 47 (PNM’s bailout) was tabled, a huge win. But as this report details, the Dem. Congressional Campaign Committee, led by Ben Ray Lujan, is stacking the deck for centrist, corporate Dems and prioritizing fundraising over principles. Sad.

We Won!  The gallery was packed with 200-300 people, 5-6 in suits, clearly identified as PNM lobbyists. But Senators Cervantes and Wirth understood the dire implications for New Mexico’s ratepayers – that PNM ownership costs us far more for the same energy resources. Senators Stefanics, Soules, and McSorley joined to create a majority that tabled the bill. Senator Martinez joined the three Republicans in support of the bill. Senator McSorley dragged himself to this committee hearing despite his terrible illness because he understood the gravity of this decision and his pivotal vote. PNM will try and make a deal to resuscitate this bill and we must remain vigilant. A key takeaway: there is a huge difference between a 5-4 and a 6-3 Democratic majority on a committee. If the Conservation Committee had been a 5-4 majority, Martinez’s betrayal would have kept this bill alive. We will remember your vote, Sen. Martinez, and that is your second betrayal in a very short session.

This is why it’s critically important that every one of our supporters complete the 2019 Legislative Priorities Survey and share it with others. As one who completed the survey commented:  “I can’t believe all of these bills aren’t law.” But none are. The survey will be the lynchpin for our 2018 election strategy and our 2019 legislative strategy. So please complete it today, if you haven’t already. Click the blue button above, left. It will take 10 minutes. And mark March 4, 2-4pm on your calendars when we launch our two-pronged strategy at a Santa Fe Town Hall meeting. Click here for more info and to RSVP. So complete the survey and RSVP and let’s start getting what we want from this Legislature. If you have a moment, write to Wirth, Cervantes, Soules, Stefanics and especially McSorely and give them a hearty thanks.

We need to count on you to pack the gallery if the bill comes up again. And it will. But it is nicely at rest just now. Stay tuned.

For other Events & Opportunities — and this coming week is packed, click here. Monday is a jammed day at the Roundhouse. HJR 1 (Early Childhood Funding Constitutional Amendment) is up for a full House debate, and the New Mexico Progressive Coalition and the Poor People’s Campaign will be doing press conferences and talks.

Democratic Party Still Not Small “d” democratic, and Lujan Is Part of the Problem

Some months ago, Richard Ellenberg organized a small gathering of progressives to meet with Rep. Ben Ray Lujan to discuss our concerns about the practices of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and about Lujan’s failure to endorse 6 of the 8 bills in Our Revolution’s People’s Platform. Since then Lujan has endorsed two more of those bills, but that is not the focus of this post.

While toward the end of the post I describe signs that, under Rep. Lujan’s leadership, the DCCC may be beginning to value the viability of grassroots candidate support and progressive candidates, as this post makes clear, throughout the 2015-16 and during this current election cycle, he has also orchestrated a strategy that is fundamentally undermining the campaigns of one progressive after another, while favoring centrists who support bans on abortion, are funded largely by wealthy donors, or who are themselves lobbyists for key industries that need to be regulated, not seated in power. As this post describes, far too often the DCCC still considers a candidate’s fundraising capacity and big donor list above principles and positions on what should be key Democratic initiatives.

There are very few Americans who have Representatives with as much influence as Rep. Lujan. He is not impervious to input and we could do far worse than having him represent us. But he has been largely reluctant to use his leadership position to more swiftly and more broadly advance campaign reforms. With the newly published recommendations of the Unity Reform Commission (described briefly below), he is now in a position to use his influence and it is up to us to tell him that is what we want him to do. I offered Chris Garcia, a key Lujan aide, an opportunity to respond to this article, but he kicked it up the chain to those who work more closely with the DCCC, and I’ve heard nothing. Perhaps after you forward this blog to Rep. Lujan, I’ll get some response. Contact info is provided at the end of the blog. Again, I spent many, many hours trying to condense a 56 page report into something more accessible. It is still a long post, but it is also an important one. So let’s get started.

Today, we are focusing on the DCCC’s influence on how House candidates are recruited, identified, and supported, and more importantly how these practices systematically undermine progressive candidates and promote the candidacy of corporate, centrist Democrats. The primary source for this post is an Intercept article, “The Dead Enders: Democrats Who Signed up to Battle Trump Must Get Past the Democratic Party First” by Ryan Grim and Lee Fang. The report is a detailed 56-page study that I highly recommend. But I know that many do not have time to read such a lengthy document, so I have excerpted liberally from the report to tell the tale. I tried to pare this to a manageable length, but the Intercept’s report is so detailed, so damning, and so important, I couldn’t cut out much more than I did, and I highly, highly recommend you review the full report.  Click here to read the full report.

The power of “Dead Enders” is its detailed analysis of the DCCC influencing of at least 15-20 2018 primary election races across the country, and it looks back historically at patterns in DCCC influence on primaries and general elections. I have long criticized President Obama for not getting more done, and while much of what he DID do was not exactly progressive, as this article and my synopsis describes, a significant reason why his progressive legislation either failed or was seriously compromised (e.g. ACA) was the abundance of centrist Democrats who were elected where, if primaries had not been influenced by the DCCC and other corporate Democratic efforts, a progressive could have been in place and supported stronger legislation.

But despite some signs of possible reform (see the end of this post), the DCCC appears tied to the tried-and-failed strategy of supporting moderate, corporate centrists in battles for swing states, consistently undermining more inspiring progressive candidates. From The Intercept: “For the first time since 2006, the Blue Dog Coalition, the right-leaning Democratic group that prides itself on promoting socially conservative, business-friendly lawmakers, has worked with the DCCC to select the party’s candidates for the 2018 midterms.

The new collaboration is a stunning reversal for a party that has seen a groundswell of support for progressive ideas — such as a $15 minimum wage and single-payer health care — that are staunchly opposed by the Blue Dog wing of the party. Operatives from the DCCC meet on a weekly basis with the Blue Dogs to discuss recruitment and how to best steer resources to a growing slate of centrist Democratic candidates, according to Politico.”

So with no further adieu some shocking truths:

Lancaster, PA. The First of Over a Dozen Examples of the DCCC at Work. In June, Jess King, the head of a nonprofit that helps struggling women start and run small businesses, announced that she would be running to take out Republican Rep. Lloyd Smucker in Pennsylvania’s 16th District. “Nick Martin, her field director and another co-founder of Lancaster Stands Up, was a leading activist in the popular and robust local anti-pipeline movement, an organized network King was able to tap into.That was October, by which point her campaign had broken the $100,000 mark, a sign of viability she had hoped would show EMILY’s List that she was serious. “We followed up a few times after and did not hear back,” said King’s spokesperson, Guido Girgenti.” There was other evidence of a progressive resurgence in PA but, from the Intercept, a series of quotes that captures perfectly the undemocratic workings of the DCCC: “It turned out the Democratic Party had other ideas — or, at least, it had an old idea. As is happening in races across the country, party leaders in Washington and in the Pennsylvania district rallied, instead, around a candidate who, in 2016, had raised more money than a Democrat ever had in the district and suffered a humiliating loss anyway.”

“Christina Hartman, by the Democratic Party’s lights, did everything right [PG: by DCCC criteria] during the last election cycle. She worked hard, racking up endorsements from one end of the district to the other. She followed the strategic advice of some of the most sagacious political hands in Pennsylvania, targeting suburban Republicans and Independents who’d previously voted for candidates like Mitt Romney, but were now presumed gettable [PG: instead of targeting disenfranchised Dems.]. Hartman, with the energetic support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and EMILY’s List, used her fundraising prowess to go heavy on television ads to drive her moderate message, confident that the well-funded Clinton ground game would bring her backers to the polls. It did not.” Having been defeated soundly in 2016, you’d think the DCC would be seeking a different approach. It did not.

“The decision stung, King said. “I’ve consistently supported full funding for women’s health, including contraception, and safe abortion as a last resort. I’m the only candidate running on Medicare For All and debt-free public college, policies that would hugely benefit women and working moms who struggle to make ends meet as insurance premiums and college tuition go up.”

In mid-October, the DCCC hosted a candidate week in Washington, bringing in Democrats running for the House from around the country for trainings and networking. Hartman was invited; King was not.”

This Is How the DCCC Is Manipulating These Races. From the Intercept:  “In district after district, the national party is throwing its weight behind candidates who are out of step with the national mood. The DCCC — known as “the D-trip” in Washington — has officially named 18 candidates as part of its “Red to Blue” program. (A D-trip spokesperson cautioned that a red-to-blue designation is not an official endorsement, but functions that way in practice. Program designees get exclusive financial and strategy resources from the party.) In many of those districts, there is at least one progressive challenger the party is working to elbow aside, some more viable than others. Outside of those 18, the party is coalescing in less formal ways around a chosen candidate — such as in the case of Pennsylvania’s Hartman — even if the DCCC itself is not publicly endorsing.”

Prioritizing fundraising, as Democratic Party officials do, has a feedback effect that creates lawmakers who are further and further removed from the people they are elected to represent. In 2013, the DCCC offered a startling presentation for incoming lawmakers, telling them they would be expected to immediately begin four hours of “call time” every day they were in Washington. That’s time spent dialing for dollars from high-end donors. Spending that much time on the phone with the same class of people can unconsciously influence thinking.

Minnesota’s District 2. Another Example of How the DCCC Works. From the Intercept: “Take, for example, the case of Angie Craig, a medical device executive who ran for Congress in Minnesota’s second district in 2016 and has thrown her hat in the ring again. The medical device industry is huge in Minnesota, and its outsized lobbying power is felt acutely in Washington. Despite spending $4.8 million, Craig lost by 2 points. That narrow defeat, though, belied the true failure of her campaign. She was, objectively, the least inspiring candidate up and down the ballot: Craig underperformed Clinton by 4,000 votes and even underperformed Democratic state Senate and House candidates by 13,000 and 2,000 votes, respectively.” Jeff Erdmann thinks he knows why Craig lost. He was a volunteer for her in 2016, phone banking and going door to door. His story is detailed and telling but you’ll have to get to the full article for those details. Suffice to say, he decided to run himself in 2018. But again, the DCCC preferred a medical device lobbyist to a progressive with clear grassroots support and funding from the People’s House Project.

More from the Intercept: “Craig, fresh off her “amazing” 2016 race, is back again. Ritner, according to Erdmann and Rosenow [Erdmann’s campaign manager] said the DCCC would remain neutral in the primary, but that didn’t last long. In November, the DCCC endorsed Craig, joining EMILY’s List and End Citizens United, the trio of groups that represents the party’s central authority.”

Emily’s List pops up over and over again in the Intercept. I had always thought of Emily’s List as purely an advocate for women candidates and women’s issues. The Intercept destroyed that misconception thoroughly. The Intercept also goes into a good detail exploring the progressive sounding End Citizens United. You’ll need to read the whole article to find out how misleading a name can be.

Before providing briefer summaries of over a dozen other races in which the dynamic above recurs, let’s see how this process leads to Centrist control of the House.

How Committee Assignments Can Protect Centrist Control.  From the Intercept:  “In Congress, one man or woman can be more than one vote. Leaders of both parties exploit the donor habits of major industries by sticking the newest and most vulnerable members on key committees like Financial Services or Ways and Means. Veteran members have come to call the new arrivals “the bottom two rows,” a reference to their junior position in the amphitheater-style committee rooms. Their voting habits are distinguished by the centrism they believe brought them to office. A simple majority is only as strong as its weakest member, and giving those weak members outsized power dilutes legislation. That’s what happened in the 2009-2010 session, as then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who was in charge of the DCCC, as well as committee assignments, packed key panels with centrist and conservative freshmen and sophomores.”

More from Intercept: “Those centrists were there not because the nation demanded moderation, but because Democrats had recruited them in 2006 and 2008 and put them there. Rahm Emanuel, Pelosi’s lieutenant who, at the time, ran the DCCC, looked for wealthy candidates who could self-fund a race. “The most important thing to the DCCC then was if you were self-funding,” said Michael Podhorzer of AFL-CIO. “That moved candidates toward business centrists. And it set the stage for Obama’s Democratic majority not being as aligned with his policies as a more progressive majority might have.” And more from the Intercept….and getting closer to the terrible consequences of the DCCC strategy.

“Those committees stacked with new centrists delivered weaker legislation than they otherwise might have. In 2009, Democrats dialed back their ambitions when it came to the size of the stimulus, the strength of Wall Street reform, and the quality and extent of coverage that would be provided by Obamacare — all in order to accommodate centrist members representing swing districts. Polls show that the ACA is not unpopular because it is too progressive; rather, its problem areas are the elements of it that are too conservative — high premiums and high deductibles.”

Former Rep. Dan Maffei, who won House elections in Syracuse in 2008 and 2012, but lost in 2006 and 2010:  “In 2006, they [DCCC] didn’t come because they thought I had no chance. In 2010, I didn’t get much help from the DCCC or outside groups because they thought I would win fairly easily, and I barely lost. The DCCC isn’t really able to predict,” he said, noting that some members who did get massive support in 2010 lost by 30 points.”

By focusing on dollars, the party winds up with medical device executives, rather than American government teachers or progressives who were brought up picketing for fair wages.  The above excerpts from the Intercept delineate the key dynamics driving the DCCC corporate strategy. If that was all the Intercept had presented one could argue that these were aberrations. But the Intercept did not stop there. Below are over a dozen other instances of the same kind of tilting of the scales. THIS HAS TO STOP. And Rep. Lujan is in a position to be an agent for change in this arena. Lujan is revered in NM, is in a very progressive Congressional District, and could, if he chose, be a beacon for change. This is not being a beacon. I will acknowledge that, as described at the end of this post, Lujan has introduced new reforms that open the door ever so slightly to progressive candidates, but so much more could be done. The national Unity Reform Commission has been meeting for months and has developed a platform of Democratic Party Reforms that will be voted on by the DNC. Passing these reforms could bring us a huge step further from the kind of practices and priorities outlined in this post. Click here for more on the UNITY REFORM Commission and contact info for the NM DNC members who will be voting on this. We will be asking you to contact these folks and be persistent about it.

Below are more verbatim excerpts from the Intercept that underscore what has already been presented above.

VIRGINIA DISTRICT 2 — Karen Mallard is a public school-teacher in Virginia Beach, where she’s lived her entire life. Her story would be laughed out of a political novel as too on-the-nose if it weren’t real: When she learned that her father, a miner, didn’t know how to read, she set out to teach him and so, developed her passion for teaching. She formed her politics as a child standing on the picket line with her grandfather, also a miner. Trump’s election convinced her to become a first-time candidate, and she traveled to D.C. to drum up support, meeting with Danny Kedem at EMILY’s List. Kedem was fired up, Mallard said, and promised to arrange a meeting with his counterpart at the DCCC. But the meeting never happened because, Kedem later told her, the party had already settled on its man, Lynwood Lewis. When Lewis dropped out, the DCCC turned its attention to party leader Dave Belote, who ran briefly before dropping out after his mother fell ill. That still didn’t create an opening for Mallard. Two days after the stunning Virginia election, Elaine Luria, a Norfolk business owner and Navy veteran, called Mallard and told her she planned to get in. Mallard, however, thinks her experience in the community will pay off. “Everywhere I go, I see somebody I taught or coached. The DCCC needs to listen to people. Just because you can stroke a check for $100,000 doesn’t mean you’re the best candidate.”

NEVADA DISTRICT 3 — Democrats and Republicans have battled for several cycles over this Henderson- and south Las Vegas-based seat. Susan Lee, an education advocate and the spouse of a wealthy casino executive, founded a homeless shelter and self-funded a failed bid for Congress for a different Nevada district in 2016. Now, despite a crowded field of several challengers, Lee is running in Nevada’s 3rd District with the support of DCCC and the backing of former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid.

Jack Love, a first-time candidate who announced his campaign before Lee did, said he contacted the state party office and never heard back.The DCCC, End Citizens United, and other party PACs, Love said, declined to interview him. “They basically anointed one person without even speaking with me,” said Love, whose platform includes progressive policy priorities like Medicare For All, though his campaign bank account includes precious little money. “It’s clear to me that the only thing that matters to the party is who’s got the money.”

ARIZONA DISTRICT 2 — Last year, former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a tough-on-immigration candidate who previously represented a northern Arizona district, moved to a house in southern Arizona to run for this Tucson-area seat. The DCCC, Emily’s List, End Citizens United, and other PACs coalesced quickly behind her campaign, ignoring a spirited challenge from former Assistant Secretary of the Army Mary Matiella. “A candidate’s viability is judged too quickly and too narrowly,” Matiella, who could be the first Latina to represent Arizona in Congress, told The Intercept. “The ability to immediately post a six-figure quarter isn’t just the primary consideration, it’s the only one.”

KANSAS DISTRICT 4 — In April 2017, the political world turned bug-eye on Wichita, Kansas, as the results of a special election to replace Mike Pompeo came rolling in. For a tense stretch of time, it looked like James Thompson, running on a progressive platform that hewed closely to that of Sanders, might just pull off an upset in the heart of Koch Industries country. He wound up about 7,500 votes short, but immediately announced his plan to run for the same seat, this time against the Republican incumbent Ron Estes, in 2018. Washington Democrats were not particularly enthused about his chances. “I have never heard hide nor hair from the national party about the race,” Thompson said. His primary opponent, Laura Lombard, who moved back to the district from Washington, said she’s been in touch with the DCCC, but the party doesn’t like the odds of winning the district and isn’t helping in the primary.

Thompson is not clamoring for party support. “From what I’ve seen of the DCCC’s help, they want a bunch of promises made you’ll raise X amount of money, and you’ll spend this amount on TV ads.” he said. “At this point I’m not interested in having the DCCC, which has a proven losing record, try to come run my campaign.”

NEBRASKA DISTRICT 2 — The Democratic Party has largely lined up behind former Rep. Brad Ashford to take back this Omaha-based seat. The DCCC and other PACs have provided resources and endorsements to Ashford, who compiled one of the most conservative voting records for any Democrat in the House during his time in office. Kara Eastman, another Democrat competing in the primary on a populist campaign of single payer and tuition-free college, said that, after inviting her to candidate week, the party has attempted to shut her out of the campaign. “Well, we have been in contact with people from the DCCC since we started the campaign, and I was told that they would be remaining neutral until after the primary, and now it’s clear that’s obviously not the case,” Eastman, who has raised more than $100,000, told The Intercept. Eastman is backed by Climate Hawks Vote, at least three local unions, and some local party officials. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which was founded in 2009 as a small-dollar alternative to the DCCC, is leaning toward planning to endorse her. In 2017, the national Democratic groups shocked Nebraska Democrats by pulling support for mayoral candidate Heath Mello over his past votes for bills to ban abortions after 20 weeks and the requirement that an ultrasound is used on a woman seeking abortion. Ashford, as a state legislator, voted for the same two bills, while Eastman is running on a solidly pro-choice platform. Last year, DNC Chair Tom Perez, in the wake of the Mello controversy, drew a line in the sand, saying that “every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health. That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.” But that hasn’t prevent national Democrats from rallying behind Ashford. An EMILY’s List spokesperson said the group is monitoring the race but has yet to weigh in.

TEXAS DISTRICT 21 — The surprise retirement of Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Tex., opened up this district, which has trended Democratic in recent campaign cycles. Several national Democrats, including Rep. Hoyer, have endorsed Joseph Kopser, a former Republican now running as a centrist Democrat. Kopser has raised the most money, but he’s being challenged for the nomination by Derrick Crowe, Elliott McFadden and Mary Wilson. Crowe, a former official at an ethics watchdog group and Capitol Hill staffer, has received endorsements from National Nurses United, Justice Democrats, and the local chapter of Our Revolution, but said he’s been shunned by the establishment. “They thought [Kopser] could raise the most money, but he doesn’t share our Democratic or progressive values.”

TEXAS DISTRICT 7 — In this Houston metro-area district, three Democrats are leading the primary race. Alex Triantaphyllis, a former Goldman Sachs banking analyst, is running a more conventional Democratic campaign and Elizabeth Pannill Fletcher has the backing of EMILY’s List. The third candidate in District 7 is Laura Moser, who shot to resistance fame by launching Daily Action, a much-ballyhooed system that sent text messages to resisters looking for one action they could take each day. Her small-dollar campaign has raised more than $600,000. “I built an activist organization after Trump’s election that got nearly 300,000 people involved in the resistance. I thought that would carry more weight than our family’s bank account,” said Moser. “But I’ve channeled those activist skills into my campaign and the results are clear. We’ve got nearly 9,000 unique online donations, 600 volunteers, and more social media followers than all of my opponents combined. That type of energy by fellow progressives, I think, is more important than anything Washington can provide.” [PG: This is the kind of candidate who SHOULD be someone the DCCC is searching far and wide to support. Instead they back Goldman Sachs. Ugh.]

CALIFORNIA DISTRICT 50 — Ammar Campa-Najjar had his moment in the viral sun earlier last year, as the internet celebrated the “hotness” of this congressional candidate. He has since won the backing of Justice Democrats and a slew of local labor and Democratic groups. His opponent Josh Butner has said that he was not recruited by the DCCC, but encouraged to run by “local Democrats.” The New Democrat Coalition PAC, the pro-Wall Street wing of House Democrats, has given him $5,000. Butner was cited in two articles about the party’s ability to recruit veterans; the DCCC made sure to alert reporters about the coverage, issuing a press release. “I don’t want to assume foul play from the party, but there have been people suggesting they’re tipping the scales,” said Campa-Najjar

IOWA DISTRICT 1 — George Ramsey, a 30-year Army veteran, would be the first African-American to represent this district, though he is, by his own definition, not the most progressive candidate in the race. That would be Courtney Rowe, a Medicare For All backer, who has the support of the Justice Democrats and is working to rally the progressive base.They were talking about numbers that end in millions.”  In July, as he began to set up his Iowa congressional campaign, he reached out to the DCCC’s regional director. “We talked about what their expectations would be for their support for candidates. They made it very clear that fundraising was one of the primary mechanisms for their support,” Ramsey said, then clarified that fundraising was actually alone as the top priority. “They didn’t really put a number, but for us it was very clear that they’re looking for general election-type of numbers and not necessarily the type of numbers a candidate would need to get through a primary. They were talking about numbers that end in millions.” With two promising progressives to choose from, the DCCC is backing centrist state Rep. Abby Finkenauer, as is End Citizens United and EMILY’s List.

COLORADO DISTRICT 6 — This suburban seat has long been an elusive Democratic target. One candidate for the district, clean energy expert and entrepreneur Levi Tillemann, charged that Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, pressured him to get out of the race in favor of Jason Crow, a veteran and partner at powerhouse Colorado law and lobbying firm, who is backed by the DCCC, “The DCCC verbally said they would be neutral and in practice just endorsed one of the candidates in CD6.” Tillemann comes from a long line of political heavyweights in Colorado and moved back to the state to run.

PG:  Despite DCCC machinations, progressives have been able to overcome their influence, and if the DCCC were paying attention, races such as these might cause them to reconsider their manipulations. From the Intercept:

In New Hampshire, for instance, the DCCC backed state House minority leader Jim Craig over local activist Carol Shea-Porter, in a classic establishment-versus-grassroots campaign. The conventional wisdom suggested that Craig’s endorsements, his moderation, and his ability to fundraise were what was needed in the district. Instead, Shea-Porter took a firm stand against the war in Iraq and organized an army of foot soldiers on the ground. Vastly outspent, she smoked Craig by 19 points in the primary.

In California, the DCCC backed Steve Filson, a conservative pilot, against Jerry McNerney, who Rahm Emanuel [then DCCC Chair] believed was hopelessly liberal. After McNerney beat him in the primary, a peeved Emanuel said the DCCC wouldn’t be helping him in the general. A coalition of environmental groups got behind him instead, and McNerney won anyway.

In upstate New York, Rahm Emanuel went with Judy Aydelott, a former Republican who was a tremendous fundraiser. She was crushed by environmentalist and musician John Hall, after which the DCCC shunned the race as unwinnable. Hall won.

In North Carolina, Rahm Emanuel completely ignored Larry Kissell, running in North Carolina in 2006. With the help of Netroots activists, Kissell ended up losing after a recount by just 329 votes. In 2008, this time with DCCC support, he won by 10 points. Emanuel did the same with Dan Maffei, who lost in a recount by roughly 1,000 votes. With DCCC support the next cycle, he won in 2008.

Let’s Look at Virginia 2017:  The same pattern held in the Virginia House races in November, in which the party focused on a handful of swing districts, only to see stunning upsets across the state — epitomized by a Democratic Socialists of America-backed nobody unseating the House majority whip, and transgender journalist Danica Roem knocking off a legendary bigot.

Could Things Be Changing Ever So Slightly in the DCCC? From the Intercept:

The fundraising ability of a candidate with the proper profile for a district is no longer the only criteria it looks at when studying viability. Grassroots support now officially matters. And the party now looks at whether a candidate has the backing of local Indivisible or other activist chapters when evaluating potential lawmakers. That is a significant change and suggests a tantalizing future for the party. The party still demands, according to the “majority maker” memo it sent to candidates in December, that at least 75 percent of the campaign budget be spent on paid advertising, so it is changing slowly.

The DCCC and others in Party leadership appear to increasingly recognize the value of small-dollar donors and grassroots networks. “In assessing the strength of candidates for Congress this cycle, we have put a greater premium on their grassroots engagement and local support, recognizing the power and energy of our allies on the ground,” said DCCC Communications Director Meredith Kelly. “A deep and early connection to people in the district is always essential to winning, but it’s more important than ever at this moment in our history.” The committee, meanwhile, has made major investments in grassroots organizing, field work and candidate training, which also represents a genuine change.

PG: Make no mistake, these are important shifts and Lujan, no doubt, is one of those pushing these reforms. But as the litany of past and current examples underscore, this kind of change must accelerate considerably. And we are fortunate to be the constituents of perhaps the single most important House representative to advance these reforms. Nancy Pelosi surely won’t; Wasserman won’t; but Lujan can. If you tell him what you want. Before kickoff today, give our Representative something to think about while watching the Super Bowl. And also click here to review the Unity Reform Commission efforts to push Democratic Party reforms.

  • Ben Ray Lujan, Congressional District 3
  • Ph: (202) 225-6190
  • Lujan’s email links have not worked. I am working to get a viable email from one of his aides. In the meantime, call his office to let him know how you feel.

Enjoy your Super Day!

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

8 thoughts on “Lujan, Dem. Party Still Shamelessly Tilting the Scales. On the Plus Side: We Won Yesterday

  1. My comment on the rigidified Democratic Party with a “not so transparent agenda” is to say that perhaps the Universe (or whatever you want to call the BIGGER PICTURE) is “being USED as the “useful idiot” to hurry along the establishment of a THIRD party to break the oppositional (by nature) TWO PARTY SYSTEM that has been considered a “SACRED COW” of American politics for, well, FOREVER…..TWO PARTY ANYTHING HAS AN OPPOSITIONAL NATURE (like SPORTS)– our country is not a football field although the metaphors of “offense and defense” are used willy nilly in political media discussions ALL the time…It is a “boy” model and it is time to move to a more COLLABORATIVE AND “for the good of the WHOLE” model. I do not think the younger folk entering the political fray are going to put up with this DEMOCRATIC PARTY MANIPULATION MUCH LONGER and so I thank the old guard of the Democratic Party for MAKING IT EVER EASIER TO CRUMBLE IN AN OPPOSITIONAL HEAP WITH THE REPUBLICANS and usher in a NEW MODEL THAT PUTS COUNTRY FIRST, PEOPLE FIRST, AND RETIRES FOOTBALL AND OTHER SUCH GAMES TO PURELY SUNDAY AFTERNOON ESCAPISM…POLITICS IS SEEN AS A GAME AND THAT IS WHY IT IS SO CONFLICTUAL AND ALWAYS IN A STALEMATE….JUST HAVE TO SAY THAT THE MASCULINE MODEL OF JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING and that continues to RUN THE SHOW in politics and government MIGHT CONSIDER TAKING A LONG VACATION and the NEW MORE COLLABORATIVE MODEL that the feminine finds more comfortable can step in and shift this mess into a THIRD which is after all the number of integration and a much needed EVOLUTIONARY LEAP!

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  2. PS: I meant to say at the beginning of my post that “perhaps the Universe is using the Democratic Party as the “useful idiot” to hurry along the establishment of a THIRD party…..etc etc etc—thanks!

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  3. Wasting time waiting for the Democrat party to wake up. Don’t think they ever will. Time to get moving on a progressive third party.

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  4. I agree with each of the comments above! It is time to cut to the chase. At some point we will have to face the challenge and many feel the time is now! The worst case scenario is that we go after Lujan publicly and mount as many signatures as possible and let him know we are on to him and what exactly we want and if we lose, well at least we began to act. There has been enough talk and if Democrats in NM are given a choice and they choose the Clintonites, then we decide what to do after that. In that vain, we also let him know that if he chooses to continue to alienate the progressive movement, he will have to pay the price in the future. I also think we contact the national progressives (if you have not done so as yet) and find out what they are doing to deal with this issue. After the news on California, they must have some thoughts! But for sure, we should go all out right now and not waste any time to let Lujan know we are not going to play his game! The game is on and I think people will vote the agenda!

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  5. Hi!
    FYI, the blue button “Take Legislative Survey” does not link to the survey. Going up to the top, clicking on the red on black announcement “Speak Up! Take the Legislative Survey” DID get me to a page where I could click on the blue button “Take Legislative Survey”

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  6. We need to run an independent against Ben Ray in 2020. We need the House this year. But, if the Dems don’t have it together by 2020, eff them! In 2020, just for the reason you stated of packing committees with bluedogs, I would rather have a Republican in than a corporate ass kisser like Ben Ray. Why isn’t anyone primarying him this year?

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