Democratic National Committee Tilting the Scales–Again and Ruminations on Udall’s Exit

In the past, if you dared challenge a Democrat in a primary, Party leadership would subtly undermine that effort. Now it is no longer subtle, as the DNC announced an explicit policy punishing those who oppose centrist Dem s. This post addresses the National Party and then ties it back to the Democratic Party of New Mexico as relates to Udall and the Roundhouse.

KSFR Replay for those who missed it.  For those of you who missed the Retake show on KSFR, here is a link to the podcast. I interviewed Hannah Braga Abram, Santa Fe student activist, Renee Villarreal, SF City Council and Rep. Andrea Romero.  Very entertaining and informative 30 minutes.  Click here to get to the podcast.

 Towards Co-operative Commonwealth: Transition In a Perilous Century, is an eight week online course and after reviewing the introductory video (at bottom of page) I think it   is ideal for both newcomers and veterans to social change work. I’ve reached out to the leadership of the project and they have arranged for Retake to have its own group online space for dialog among ourselves enabling  us to leverage the course material and instruction team expertise to advance our own projects and activist work locally.  From the intro video it is clear that you can do this at your own pace. There are no class times when you must be online, but there are many opportunities for you to engage and communicate with activists from throughout the world…as you want to, if you want to. The syllabus is tremendous, the articles thoughtful and well-researched. And since it is free and you can drop off at any time if you find it too much, I see no downside and the potential for our being able to stage an eight-week researching, visioning and planning process. Below is the first paragraph to the first written material for the first module.

In this course we emphasize the grassroots efforts by local communities to organize, mobilize, scale-up and spread proven and promising local socio-economic and environmentally just development alternatives. Accelerating systems change is crucial to address a planet and society in crisis. Throughout the course, we introduce you to a rich array of movements, models and strategies used by those working to change systems. Each offers inspiring evidence of like-minded citizens, communities, producers and consumers around the world, engaged in resisting and changing the trajectory of unregulated capitalism. We explore their work at different levels as they forge democratic and durable ways and means to meet basic human needs— for clean energy, healthy food, quality health and social care and affordable housing. To address basic needs, however, other cross cutting functions require attention.”

Confession, I didn’t read all the materials for the first module last night, but I am also very familiar with the work of Next System Project and have found their research and writing to be among the very best that you can find online. Today I will review what I have to do to set up our NM Retake Our Democracy group to enable us to communicate. And the list of modules is pretty compelling.  Let’s do this!

  1. Framing the Journey: Capitalism, Planetary Limits & The Struggle to Restore & Share our Common Wealth  [This looks particularly germane….a good start]
  2. Stewarding Land & Resources for the Common Good
  3. Ecological Resilience & a Just Food System
  4. Precarious Livelihoods: Pathways to Solidarity
  5. Democratizing Social Care: From Welfare State to Caring Society
  6. Democratic Ownership: Pathways to a Resilient Energy Future
  7. Democratic Financing Solutions for the Great Transition
  8. Synthesis: Building the Politics for Systems Change

If you decide to enroll, please let me know.Click here to enroll. Imagine in 8 weeks, a core group of folks who have done extensive reading and engaged in dialog among ourselves and other activists and practitioners who have outlined some potential initiatives that could address income inequality, access to health care, public financing and the environment. Retake will devote one blog post a week to provide updates on what we are learning and the possible implications. We are also going to spend some time today reaching out to Indivisible, PDA, Indivisible and students from the Sunrise Movement to enroll and be part of our private online space for NM collaboration. There are worse outcomes.  Let’s do it.

Udall Not Seeking Re-Election–I’m sure the phone lines are burning up as candidates test the water

All across New Mexico, the phones are humming with state politicos reaching out, “If I throw my hat in the ring, can I count on your support?”  Support = Money. Among those I suspect making those calls:

  • Hector Balderas, Attorney General
  • Brian Egolf, Speaker of the House
  • Peter Wirth, Senate Leader
  • Alan Webber, Santa Fe Mayor
  • Javier Gonzales, former Mayor of Santa Fe
  • Sen. Joseph Cervantes, and maybe one or two women like
  • Maggie Toulouse Oliver…
  • Deb Haaland

Soon the powers that be will begin serious conversations in hopes of anointing the Democratic candidate much as occurred in the race for Governor. And just to show you what is at stake, We have already heard that Deb Haaland and Ben Ray Lujan are considering their options and that Alan Webber and Tim Keller will pass. I am sure both Susana Martinez and Steve Pearce are exploring their options. But Gov. Lujan Grisham had her moonshot for education, how about a moonshot for the Senate.  Here are some folks I’d love to see in the Senate:

  • Viki Harrison, Common Cause
  • Marcela Diaz, Somos Un Pueblo Unido
  • Eric Griego, Working Families Party
  • Janene Yazzi, Navajo Nation
  • Nick Estes, Red Nation
  • Andrea Serrano, Ole
  • Mariel Nanasi, New Energy Economy

There is a striking difference between the first list and the second. The first is filled with politicos with “experience” and the capacity to raise huge vats of money, likely a goodly chunk of it from gas and oil, insurance, banking and other corporate entities whose donations come with strings. Most wouldn’t be horrible Senators and frankly I’ve been impressed with Deb Haaland, but with her as the possible exception, we  would need to email and call constantly to enlist their support on Medicare for All, $15 minimum wage, and the Green New Deal.  We would hear how they are studying these initiatives, how much they care about our health, our environment and the wealth gap. But just as with Senators Heinrich, Udall and Rep. Lujan, they will courageously study anything and then take the safer path

We would never need to write or email anyone on the second list, except to provide our thanks. The second list also has vast experience, just not the type of experience that the media or the powers that be value. And until very recently, you needed those powers that be to fuel (as in fund) your campaign only then to be held accountable to their corporate priorities. I didn’t spend a ton of time on either list and likely there are some others who should be included in either list. But I would sure love to see someone from that second list jump out of the gate, launch a $27 a month fundraising campaign and watch the flood of folks like you and I sign up to donate, canvass and call like crazy. If a Bronx waitress can oust one of the Democratic Party’s top leadership, maybe someone from my preferred list could jump on this and run.

A guy can dream.But the truth is, it is one thing for AOC to capture a very progressive House district and a far greater challenge to win a state, so too here in NM. But any of those folks on my second list could win in a race for the House should that seat become vacant if Lujan decides to run for Senate. But what is clear, is that through programs like EmergeNM  we need to continue to recruit, train, and support new progressive leaders with an interest in building careers in public service and we need to have those people, help them gain experience and build name recognition, as opportunities will continue to open up unexpectedly.

Feel free to comment and make suggestions as to your views on potential candidates on either list.

Democratic National Committee Takes Off the Gloves.  Centrist or Die

I tend to avoid the F word, but this meme has been sitting in my photos folder for over a year. Sure its extreme, but so are the times.

The Democratic National Committee has read the tea leaves and they spelled out an odd jumble:  AOC, Justice Democrats, Ayanna Pressley, Stacey Abrams, Our Revolution, Bernie and Beto…and they began to quiver. Their iron grip on the Party, their close ties with mega donors and Wall St, all appear in jeopardy. With overt and tacit threats that Democrats in Name Only (DINOs) could find themselves facing challenges in the primary from younger, more progressive and a more diverse array of challengers, the DINOs had to take a stand. The Blue Wave touted so broadly wasn’t just blue, it was young, diverse, and impatient with doing business as usual and with checking with the Party’s major donors before surfacing an idea or introducing a bill.

And so, the DNC developed a new policy that defines how the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will do business going forward. And this time, the DCCC is not subtly tilting the scales, they are tossing the scales away entirely.  This new policy is for now to be included in the DCCC’s list of vendor hiring standards, which state that the organization “will not conduct business with, nor recommend to any of its targeted campaigns, any consultant that works with an opponent of a sitting member of the House Democratic Caucus.”

“Make no mistake—they are sending a signal that they are more afraid of Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez winning primary challenges than Henry Cuellar who votes with Trump nearly 70 percent of the time,” Alexandra Rojas, executive director of Justice Democrats, told The Intercept.

As New York Magazine‘s Eric Levitz noted, “it’s far from clear that the DCCC’s policy will even succeed on its intended [objectives]. The small-dollar donor armies that have freed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from the burden of fundraising—and filled the coffers of Bernie Sanders’s nascent 2020 campaign—aren’t going anywhere,” Levitz wrote. “The DCCC can’t eliminate the demand for political operatives who are willing to assist left-wing primary challenges.”

Even if Levitz is correct, such a policy will cause some of the more experienced and some of the younger operatives who can be a tremendous resource to a campaign, to pause. Can you sense the internal conversation?  “If I work for this candidate, will my career evaporate?”  What’s more, the policy sends a signal and not a very positive one:  We (Shumer, Pelosi, Lujan, et al) are not going to cede power to these upstarts. As Sen. Feinstein recently said so proudly to a group of Sunrise Movement youth:  “I’ve been at this a long time. Maybe you should just listen to me.”

Well, speaking for myself, I’ve been listening to these DINOsaurs for far too long. Battle on. Let’s start with calls to Rep. Lujan to protest this policy. He will say that he is no longer in charge of the DCCC, but when you are told this, tell whoever answers that he may not be in charge of the DCCC but he is a powerful member of the Democratic House Caucus and assistant Speaker of the House. Tell him, that in addition to it being past time for him to sponsor the Green New Deal, we want OUR elected official who works for US to tell Pelosi and the DCCC that the Party is not supposed to take sides in primaries and the chips should fall according to how the voters vote, not how the powers that be stack those chips for the preferred candidate who will do their bidding.

Contact info for Rep. Lujan.

  • Ph: (202) 225-6190 (DC); (505) 984-8950 (Santa Fe); (505) 994-0499 (Rio Rancho)–again, staffers may tell you that they don’t deal with DCCC issues, please tell them that we understand that and we still want to register our concerns about Rep. Lujan’s failure to address DCCC bias when he was in charge and he must have influence over those now running the DCCC. It is an entirely disingenuous argument. Call!!!!
  • email:  OR
  • Link to email form: Click here to get to his form. You will need to input your zip code to get access to the form used to direct email to the Congressman.

After you make that call, if you know anyone on my second list above, send them a note and encourage them to think seriously about helping NM elect a game changer, not a corporate shill.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

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11 replies

  1. Forget the Democratic Party. There are other parties (including Natural Law, Green, Labor, Constitution, and Communist) as well as no-party. Some have more progressive platforms than the Dems.

    • Unfortunately, I don’t think any of those parties have the political leverage to do anything but elect GOP. We need a multiparty, Ranked Choice Voting system yesterday.

  2. Hey Paul
    I signed up for this course yesterday and was thinking about contacting you to see if Retake would form a discussion group so your move on this is welcome. Let me know the retake group name and how to connect.

  3. Rep. Lujan never sponsors or co-sponsors ANYTHING of consequence. He is without a doubt the worst possible candidate for Senate, and that’s without knowing all of the others who might be candidates. He’s the perfect representative for the old guard Dem party that you talk about in the rest of your post…no new or radical ideas, just toe the line, party loyalty.

  4. It’s Hannah Laga (not Braga) Abrams.

  5. I have much affinity for your SECOND LIST of senate campaign options and others along similar coalition neighborhoods. HOWEVER, asking such questions if Ben Ray Lujan, anticipating any support to counter DNC stance is ludicrous!
    He’s a wanna be has been, out for himself, blew off us in SF multiple times, is NOT a leader and only shows up,for photo Opps.. I’ve stopped voting for him.
    I certainly think we need to strategize an approach to undermine the DNC business as usual. PS. DEB HALLAND needs to stay put . We need her where she is. Mariel is one sharp strong woman I’d support .

    Maybe we could run full page newspaper ads calling out for and listing who WE THE PEOPLE want to represent The US Senate? Why wait for politicos to call the Shots? been there, done that…Let’s shift the process.

    As for the DNC “bump stock”declaration, we could ask Bernie for tactical suggestions… if anyone has ideas, it’s bernie…
    Pamela ‘ Canyonrivers’ Marshall

  6. Udall Not Seeking Re-Election: I would add State Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and State Rep. Melanie Stansbury to the second list. Since they are new, and represent Albuquerque Districts, you probably don’t know them.

    • I know Antoinette very well but need to get to know Melanie. Thanks for the comment. Not sure they have the exposure yet, but that was part of the point of the blog….we need to cultivate young, experienced talent for moments like this.

  7. This stacking the deck is nothing new. It’s why all the Dem. prexies have been pro big biz and pro big banks (Obama), and anti Bernie. And incumbency would corrupt most if not all of our preferred candidates soon enough.

    Gabe Hanson.


  1. A Heartfelt Thank You, Plus a Reprise of a Week of Political Maneuvering, Exposés, and Action Alerts | Retake Our Democracy

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