No one likes saying "I told you so," but I warned and warned and warned that if the House Democrats made very conservative New Dem Sean Patrick Maloney head of the DCCC, it would lead the party to ruin. They did and it is. Let's look what happened in his own state. He pressured the legislature to create an absurdly partisan map that had no chance to stand up in court-- what does he think New York is, Floridastan?-- and the court-appointed map maker punished the Democrats severely with a map that couldn't have been better for the Republicans if they drew it themselves. It's a map that isn't so much handing out seats to Republicans as it is putting incumbents into districts with each other-- including the cowardly, self-serving Maloney.
The Punchbowl crew started the day writing about the fallout, beginning with Maloney's extremely unpopular decision to abandon his own less blue district and try to steal Mondaire Jones' seat. Jones is one of the serious young progressives who is the promise of a hopefully resurgent Democratic Party that has been destroyed by corporate whores owned by Wall Street... like Sean Patrick Maloney. The Democrats will implode without members like Jones. The Democrats will be better off without members like Maloney. Jones is one of just 8 incumbents Blue America has endorsed this cycle. Please help him beat back Maloney's Wall Street-funded attack by contributing to his campaign here.
Among House Democrats, reported Punchbowl, "tensions are running so high that several members have approached Democratic leaders and said they’d call for Maloney to step down if he decides to go ahead and challenge Jones, a 35-year-old progressive. That would be a disaster for Democrats as they head into the heart of what’s going to be a very tough election cycle for them. And we're told House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jefferies-- the most powerful Democrat in the New York House delegation [and, like Maloney, a creature of Wall Street an swampy lobbyists]– and Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark even approached Maloney, telling him he needed to address the situation with Jones and Bowman. Some New York Democrats are calling for a state delegation meeting to try to work out a deal."
Maloney's move made for a very awkward caucus briefing at DCCC headquarters Tuesday, with many members privately fuming and waiting for him to address the “giant elephant in the room as he went all rah-rah about keeping the House,” as one lawmaker described it... but Maloney didn’t discuss his announcement, we’re told.
This situation could get very sticky. Maloney has already exhausted any goodwill he had with many Frontliners, who have long been frustrated with him and feel like he doesn’t protect them from tough votes like previous DCCC chairs did. Now Maloney has several members of his own delegation-- as well as progressives and other lawmakers in the broader caucus-- fuming too.
We checked in with DCCC and sources close to Maloney. They made clear to us Maloney has no plans to step down as DCCC chair, even if he’s in a member-on-member primary while simultaneously leading Democrats’ efforts to hold onto their endangered majority.
...Maloney-- who currently represents NY-18-- preemptively announced shortly after the new map was out on Monday that he would run in NY-17, where his home is located, even though he’s never represented the roughly 75% of the district that Jones currently represents.
Maloney’s decision caught everyone by surprise, including Jones, who was furious. Jones complained to anyone who would listen about the move. It’s especially sensitive because the DCCC chair-- who sits at the leadership table-- is bigfooting a first-term minority lawmaker.
Defenders of Maloney said Jones would be a better fit for the reworked NY-16, currently represented by Bowman. But if Jones does that, it could cause a huge split among progressives. Bowman-- also in his first House term-- is a member of the Squad. Jones is often described as “Squad adjacent.” Some Democrats also sent us unsolicited emails backing Maloney.
Jones-- who was working the floor during Tuesday’s vote series-- declined to comment.
Maloney defended his decision to run in the 17th District and potentially challenge Jones, instead of an open seat in the 18th District that would be slightly more competitive in the general election but has a significant chunk of Maloney’s current constituents.
“Look, I live in the district I’m running in. The voters can figure everything else out,” Maloney told us. “It’s a broken process, and it’s producing, obviously, broken results, but I think you’ll see these issues work themselves through.” Maloney said everyone should “calm down.”
Frontliners across the caucus were upset with Maloney’s handling of the situation, especially the fact that he didn’t inform Jones or Bowman of his decision to run in NY-17 before announcing it, according to Democrats.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team are standing behind Maloney. But the leadership has now been drawn into a nasty battle that is deeply dividing the caucus.
“This sort of pointless sniping is detrimental to our efforts to keep the majority,” one senior Democratic aide told us. “We have an extremely capable DCCC chair who has demonstrated he can walk and chew gum.”
Nick Fandos reported this morning that "What might have seemed like an easy political decision for Maloney, however, has quickly turned into a political firestorm, replete with racial overtones, off-the-record recriminations and rare breaches of congressional decorum between staff of neighboring colleagues.
Some Democrats saw the maneuver as an attempt to box out Representative Mondaire Jones, a first-term congressman who represents the vast majority of the district’s population, and force him to enter a primary against Jamaal Bowman, a fellow Black progressive, in the neighboring 16th District. Jones made no secret of his own feelings, though he has yet to say which Democrat he will challenge. 'Sean Patrick Maloney did not even give me a heads-up before he went on Twitter to make that announcement,' Jones tersely told Politico on Monday. 'And I think that tells you everything you need to know about Sean Patrick Maloney.' In a rare break from Congress’s genteel protocols, Jones’s chief of staff even shared a screenshot of an exchange with Maloney’s top aide, and accused the chairman of prioritizing his personal interests 'rather than working to unravel this gerrymander' by the courts."
While Maloney was playing his inept political games, all he has ever done in Congress, aside from raising money from hedge funds, Mondaire was doing what he always does: the peoples' work. Addressing Robert Reich at a Justice Committee subcommittee on antitrust, Jones noted that Congress had received unsolicited testimony last week "from one of the richest human beings who has ever lived: Jeff Bezos, Executive Chairman of Amazon. It all started when President Biden tweeted, 'You want to bring down inflation? Let’s make sure the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share.' But Jeff Bezos, whose enormous corporation paid nothing in federal taxes during the first two years of the Trump Administration, and which still pays a lower rate than the average American, thought that he knew better. He tweeted, 'Raising corp[orate] taxes is fine to discuss. Taming inflation is critical to discuss. Mushing them together is just misdirection.' Secretary Reich, let me ask you directly: How would making the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share help bring down inflation?"
Reich: Congressman, the answer is very direct and easily understood. If corporations paid their fair share, that means that other Americans don’t have to pay as much. They can afford such things as child care, which enables them to be more productive. It enables most of America, therefore, to generate more output which brings down inflation.
When you have the second richest man in America saying that the President ought to do this, or this, and presides-- that particular man presides-- over a corporation that paid zero taxes in 2018. And over the last four years has paid, as far as I understand, a rate of about 13% on one of the largest incomes-- corporate incomes-- in the United States, if not the world. Whereas most Americans are paying a much, much higher rate. You’ve just got to say to yourself: “This is rich.” In all senses of the term.
Jones: Thank you.
A few days later, we heard more from Mr. Bezos-- who has so much money that he could give every Amazon employee a $100,000 bonus and still have as much in the bank as he had when the pandemic began.
Mr. Bezos continued, “In fact, the administration tried hard to inject even more stimulus into an already over-heated, inflationary economy and only Manchin saved them from themselves. Inflation is a regressive tax that most hurts the least affluent. Misdirection doesn’t help the country.”
I had no idea that Mr. Bezos, who could single-handedly fund pre-K for every child in America but would rather spend his money on vanity trips to space and cowboy hats, cared so much about “the least affluent.”
Secretary Reich, in your written testimony, you noted that “investing in care” would help “reduc[e] inflationary pressures.” Would you explain for us how the provisions of Build Back Better would help the American people deal with inflation?
Reich: Absolutely. Congressman, first of all, if we had-- and every American family had-- access to good, high quality child care, that would enable so many more people in the United States to work, to be productive. Because they are productive, therefore the entire economy would be larger, therefore we would have less inflationary pressure.
There are many other provisions in the Build Back Better bill that would also improve overall productivity. It’s also the case with regard to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill--infrastructure is another public investment. All of these public investments are investments in the future productivity of the United States, and, as such, they improve the capacity of American workers to do better--and simultaneously enlarge the capacity and output of the United States. All anti-inflationary steps.
Meanwhile, partially due to Maloney's supreme ineptness, New York is a complete mess now. Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke have been drawn into the same district as have Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney. Punchbowl further noted that "and a host of Black and Hispanic lawmakers from across the city have found themselves with drastically different district lines." And many candidates who have structured their lives around the old maps are now up shit's creek without a paddle, including state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, who gave up her Senate seat and now has no place to run for Congress-- unless she follows my advice and challenge serial liar Elise Stefanik.