Yesterday Alex Seitz-Wald and Henry Gomez, reporting for NBC News did some lazy Chuck Schumer puffery with a poorly researched story on Democratic Senate primaries. Mostly innocuous, Seitz-Wald and Gomez wrote that "Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), now the Senate majority leader, credited his success leading the party’s campaign efforts in 2006, when the Democrats had reclaimed the chamber, to his heavy hand in primaries. 'Of all the things (former Democratic Senate Leader) Harry Reid and I discussed the day I took the DSCC job, I believe that aggressive candidate selection-- through both recruitment and intervention in primaries-- contributed to winning the Senate majority more than any other (even more than our fundraising advantage, which was significant, to be sure.),' Schumer wrote in a post-election strategy memo."
Is that so? Had the two NBC veterans done the tiniest bit of digging that would have found that the biggest 2006 success of all was the defeat of Montana Senator Conrad Burns, which happened despite Schumer, not because of Schumer. Schumer selected a conservative, GOP-lite Wall Street hack, John Morrison, the state auditor, with nothing to offer the voters. The netroots organized strongly behind the very issues-oriented populist president of the state Senate, Jon Tester. Schumer fought against Tester like a mad dog and Tester buried his absurd candidate 61-35%-- and then went on to beat Burns with minimal support and zero enthusiasm from Schumer.
In Connecticut Ned Lamont took on Schumer-crony Joe Lieberman from the left and despite all the conservatives and crooks in the Democratic establishment-- primarily the Clinton and Schumer-- backing Lieberman, Lamont beat him in the primary (52-48%) and became the official candidate of the Democratic Party. Lieberman ran to the right as an Independent. The corrupt Democratic establishment joined Republicans Rudy Giuliani, Susan Collins, Newt Gingrich, William F. Buckley and Ann Coulter in backing Lieberman, even though some of them gave Lamont endorsements on paper. Lieberman won and Schumer was delighted. Lieberman was eventually driven out of the electoral politics by the Democratic base. Lamont is now governor of Connecticut.
In Missouri, Schumer's candidate won. Problem is... she was barely a Democrat at all-- Claire McCaskill, who could never be counted on by Democrats and spent her time undercutting everything progressive that came up-- the Kyrsten Sinema of her day. Speaking of which... Another huge Schumer priority was ultra-corrupt right-wing scumbag Harold Ford, Jr., who lost to Republican Bob Corker.
Schumer's specialty is picking conservative candidates-- since Schumer is a conservative at heart and doesn't believe in Democratic values at all-- most of whom lose... and when they win, like McCaskill or Sinema, Democrats soon come to regret it.
Yesterday's report from Seitz-Wald and Gomez seemed to go out of the way to avoid mentioning progressives whenever possible. For example, no mention of Schumer nemesis Erica Smith when discussing the North Carolina race, just the two conservative candidates, Cheri Beasley-- one of the only Democrats running for Senate anywhere who opposes getting rid of the filibuster-- and Jeff Jackson-- who has disparaged the idea of expanding the Supreme Court. (Smith is campaigning on a broad progressive platform which includes both ending the filibuster and expanding the Court.)
Same thing in Wisconsin-- ink for the establishment candidates, not a mention of Tom Nelson, the progressive Outagamie County Executive: "In Wisconsin, the field includes Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes-- the first African American to hold that post-- state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and Alex Lasry, the 33-year-old son of the billionaire owner of the Milwaukee Bucks and a top executive with the champion NBA team."
In their write up of the Pennsylvania race, they certainly didn't mention that progressive John Fetterman is way ahead of the rest of the field in every single poll. Instead you walk away from their report thinking conservative Conor Lamb and the EMILY's List nothing-candidate Val Arkoosh are the front-runners. The newest poll from Franklin and Marshall in mid-August:
Val Arkoosh- 6%
John Fetterman- 33%
Malcolm Kenyatta- 5%
Conor Lamb- 12%
You wonder why the Senate can't do anything, why it's crippled by the prevalence of conservative Democrats like Manchin and Sinema. Schumer's comms team knows exactly how to frame stories for lazy Beltway journalists. And as for Florida... the sad sack Schumer candidate already has the nomination as far as the DSCC is concerned. The candidates you'll access by clicking on the 2022 Senate thermometer on the left are the not-Schumer candidates, all progressives who are campaigning on progressive platforms built on the values Democrats stand for and that Schumer abhors.
Last night I called Erica Smith's senior campaign advisor, Morris Katz and asked him if he had seen the NBC report. He had. "This is a disappointing example of Beltway media engaging in the erasure of progressive candidates," he told me. "DC establishment insiders, and all too often the mainstream media, create a narrative for these races that excludes the progressive candidates regardless of how they're polling, their fundraising numbers, or the reality of what's happening on the ground. This tactic tries to create a self fulfilling prophecy of a race in which there isn't a strong progressive alternative. We're not going to let that happen in this race and are grateful to the supporters of the campaign who aren't going to let that happen either and who are showing up for us across every county in North Carolina and are committed to ensuring that Senator Smith wins this primary. North Carolina Democrats are seeing how dangerous it is when conservative Democrats like Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin get elected. We don't need any more like that."