Here's What Happens When NBC Hires Someone Who Knows Exactly Zero About Politics To Report On... Politics
In her piece about a new anti-progressive PAC today, NBC News' Leigh Ann Caldwell described status quo establishment Dems Hakeem Jeffries (NY), Josh Gottheimer (Blue Dog-NJ) and Terri Sewell (New Dem-AL) as "three rising stars in the House Democratic Caucus." A more worthwhile way to describe the three might be to note they are likely to accelerate the demise of the Democratic Party as a legitimate vehicle for working class Americans. Sewell and Gottheimer are mainstays of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party and Jeffries, who represents a progressive NYC district has no real bedrock values beyond a quest to be the first Black speaker.
Their new PAC is called Team Blue and it appears to be in place to help right-wing Democratic incumbents being challenged by actual Democrats in primaries-- presumably like Republican-lite Blue Dogs like Henry Cuellar in Texas and others who back conservative perspectives. A better name than Team Blue would have been the Anti-Primary PAC. They fear that former progressive primary challengers like AOC, Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush-- each of whom replaced a corrupt conservative Democrat-- will help more progressives take on crap Democratic incumbents who refuse to back things like raising the minimum wage or expanding Medicare coverage.
Caldwell wrote that the fear is AOC has "been unafraid to pump money into races to oust Democratic incumbents," and neglected to mention that AOC has been a generous contributor all endangered incumbents-- unlike Gottheimer and Sewell who only support the Republican wing of the party. Pelosi's handpicked successor, Hakeem (basically a Democratic version of Kevin McCarthy), is so full of shit that people want to run for the doors when he pukes out his pathetic talking points: "The House Democratic Caucus" he told Caldwell, "is the most diverse and vibrant legislative caucus in the history of the republic. This effort to protect our incredible members is an extension of my job as caucus chair: to ensure that members are successful as elected representatives and building campaigns to communicate with the people they represent."
Caldwell, who may have fallen off a pumpkin truck when she arrived in DC for the first time yesterday, wrote that "Because the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC, doesn’t engage in primaries and focuses its resources on members in the most competitive districts, Team Blue PAC will help those who might be in safe seats for the party but facing a primary challenger. The group also wants to help members whose seats may seem safe but become competitive at the last minute."
A person familiar with the formation of the PAC said there were complaints from some Democrats about the party’s campaign structure.
“For a long time members have been saying ... that we provide support to the DCCC but the DCCC doesn't provide support to us,” the source said.
The new PAC comes amid a deepening divide over ideological purity among Democrats.
Those on the far left are increasingly arguing that moderates have no place in the party, including drawing hard lines on issues like abortion, racial justice and climate change.
Progressive challengers have had success, including Ocasio-Cortez, who ousted former Rep. Joe Crowley in 2018, who at the time held the same leadership position in the House Democratic Caucus that Jeffries now does. In 2020, Reps. Cori Bush (D-MO) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) were elected after defeating longtime Democratic House members in primaries.
Two of this new group's leaders-- Gottheimer and Sewell-- represent the more [right-wing-called-moderate-by-idiots-like Caldwell] factions of the Democratic caucus, which are more likely to see primaries from the left. Gottheimer is co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, and Sewell is a member of the New Democrat Coalition and the Congressional Black Caucus. Jeffries is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, whose members are also facing primaries from the left. [Jeffries is not a progressive and is likely to soon leave the CPC.]
The group plans to defend progressive members Carolyn Maloney D-NY) and Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) who are already facing primary challenges from the far left. [Neither is a progressive and their challengers are hardly "far" left, just left of center.]
"This is to protect the majority," Gottheimer said in an interview, "and the only way we can win the majority is to have a big-tent party and ensure that our members have resources they need to communicate their accomplishments and the values we all care about.
"Big tent" used the way Gottheimer uses it, means a fiscal Republican with a few Democratic social issues and with a "D" next to his or her name. Blue Dogs frequently switch to the Republican Party after being elected as Democrats with Democratic money. Everyone who takes money from the Team Blue PAC should be forced to sign a pledge that if they ever switch to the GOP they will return all money they were given through the PAC, including independent expenditures. Gottheimer, of course, would never agree to any such thing. Good news: you can contribute to progressive House candidates who are running to replace corrupt, conservative corporate Democrats by clicking on the thermometer on the left.
Gerry Connolly is a garden variety corporate Dem-- exactly the kind this new PAC will seek to protect. And this cycle he does have a progressive challenger to contend with in his northern Virginia suburban district, Ally Dalsimer. This morning she told me that "It’s no surprise that there is a new SuperPAC whose goal is to maintain the power of our least Democratic Democrats. PACs like this uplift and defend the worst among the Democratic caucus, those most likely to stand against actually passing progressive legislation. Dark money in politics is the root of every problem we face, which is why I will introduce my Conflicts of Interest Act on the house floor the first day I am in office. This bill will comprehensively look at every corporate donation each sitting Congressperson receives, and force representatives to abstain from any vote in which one of their corporate donors is directly involved. Votes like this would mean that my opponent, who takes more money from the Pro-War Industry, would not be able to vote for us to wage war against another nation as he so frequently does. Nor would it allow him to vote against Universal Healthcare coverage as he took thousands from the for-profit healthcare industry. With legislation like this, a new PAC funding the worst of the legislature would be kneecapped, as most of those lawmakers would have very little ability to vote on anything of substance."
Jason Call, a progressive activist in northwest Washington, is taking on former lobbyist and corporate New Dem Rick Larsen. He sent me this statement about the Team Blue PAC:
None of this is surprising. The establishment of the Democratic Party is simply codifying what they have held as an objective for the last thirty years-- serving corporate interests. I think people forget that 'moderate' Democrats put Ronald Reagan in the White House 41 years ago. Many of these Democrats are the ones still in power today, if not still in elected office themselves, their protégés that came through the Clinton wing of the party. The only difference between the right wing of the Democratic Party and the actual Republicans is they give lip service to social equality and environmental concerns, while standing in the way of the measures that would actually change the systems of oppression. Now that a fraction of their power in the party is being challenged by the progressive left, buoyed by a public that is coming to terms with both the economic and social failures of crony capitalism, they are of course going to pull out all the stops to prevent those challenges.
But here’s the thing. They can’t stop progress. One way or another, change will come. People are waking up to a planet that is literally on fire, and even young people who consider themselves Republicans are no longer seeing the boogeyman threat of socialism as a real thing. In their efforts to prevent change, the establishment is going to further expose their deception. Take Rick Larsen in WA-02, mouthing the words that we can’t do half measures on climate action, while fossil fuel PACs continue to line his coffers. Every political cycle presents a new opportunity to present the message of corporate corruption that keeps the majority in poverty for the express purpose of making the rich richer. They can’t keep the pretense up for much longer. So to the new Team Blue PAC, I say 'game on'-- we’re not backing down and we’re not bowing out.