“…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.” –Alex Rojas
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC, nicknamed D-trip), the arm of the House Democratic Caucus responsible for getting Democrats elected to the House of Representatives, has issued a new rule for the upcoming 2020 elections. Disappointing anyone who thought they couldn’t possibly sink to more abhorrent, illiberal tactics, we learn that they are now officially blacklisting any consulting firms who provide any service to a candidate who tries to primary a sitting incumbent. It’s an insecure, dictatorial rule they were hoping you wouldn’t notice. Unfortunately for them, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has 3.8 million Twitter followers, and in case you hadn’t noticed, she isn’t shy. Nor is she inclined to give cover to an archaic, inept system that never helped her in the first place.
The DCCC has a long history of favoring corporate-friendly, wealthy, mealy-mouthed centrist white Democrats over actual progressives, and they have enough Washington dollars and clout to usually stall or freeze out progressive primary challengers in districts they are trying to flip. Despite claims of primary neutrality, they have always meddled by secretly providing intel and funding to one over the others, and they often do so in fundamentally undemocratic ways that often usurp actual voters’ desires. But with this new ruling, they have officially become a cartel.
They now exist for no other reason than to protect the status quo and shield incumbents from anyone who might shine a disinfecting light on their mediocrity. Apparently this rule is being billed as a way to curb intraparty sniping and to ensure Democratic House majority is maintained. But, as an anonymous Democrat strategist put it, “if it’s a safe incumbent seat, why does it matter” if there’s a primary upset? But I think that is precisely the point. These incumbents in safe blue districts want to stay entrenched in power without really doing anything for the people they represent. They want to stay answerable to no one but their fat cat corporate donors and the profit-driven, patriarchal Chuck Todd Industrial Complex. They know damn well their district won’t unseat them in favor of a Republican, so as long as they fend off primary challenges, the seat is theirs in perpetuity.
I believe there are three major aims behind this draconian ruling.
The first purpose is that they want to keep their seats. Sure. This is understandable, perhaps even a tad sympathetic. It’s also obvious. I believe it’s the second and third ulterior aims of this ruling that merit discussion. Those are not so apparent to the naked eye, and not the least bit sympathetic. In fact, I find them quite nefarious.
The second motive behind this new rule, I think, is that the Old Dinosaurs of the leadership Democrats are actually trying to prevent the party from moving left. I think the Old Dinosaurs are happily ossified in an era of “normal” politics, where they could call a few votes and make some speeches on the House floor, fund raise with deep-pocketed donors for a few hours, then grab drinks with their Republican friends. They don’t want any real incentive to look outside their D.C. bubbles and realize how bad things have become. They want to stay white and rich and clueless and powerful. They don’t want to answer the hard questions their base keeps asking, and they don’t want to accept the recent fascist takeover of the Republican party. They want to keep bleating easy, meaningless talking points about moderation because that means less work for them. So if they just keep allowing Republicans to set the terms and continue shifting the Overton window to the right, then they don’t ever really have to change or do real work. Which means the last thing they want is for themselves OR their buddies to be replaced by young, diverse, progressives who actually take their job of representation seriously.
I think the third reason behind this new rule is that Dem leadership specifically wants to preemptively lock out successors they did not vet. They only want their precious seats being assumed by people who have “waited in line” and “paid their dues.” They don’t want upstarts and insurgents like AOC butting in. They’re unpredictable! They haven’t been properly
brainwashed groomed in the old ways that don’t work! They use words like motherfucker! When people like Ayanna Pressley unseat an old white dude who never makes DINOs and corporatists feel uncomfortable, they might have to look her in the eye when she asks why white Democrat leadership ignores people of color between elections. Well, that’s not fair! Mike Capuano never asked that! They might have to respond to Eric Swalwell when he breaks the rules by pointing out that he isn’t rich, still has student loan debt, and acknowledges his wife as the breadwinner of his family – hey man, Pete Stark the wealthy banker never raised such lowly, middle-class topics! But when you live in Washington, D.C. and California, an annual salary of $175,000 doesn’t stretch very far in this new oligarchical Gilded Age the Old Dinosaurs have no desire to upend. This concept of lining up successors at the exclusion of voters’ wishes is of course insidious and repulsive, not to mention entitled. Those seats don’t belong to Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer and Cheri Bustos, they belong to the American people. It’s up to US to decide who sits there, not them. And if a pocket of Americans decide they want a middle class bartender to take over, then that is their prerogative. But leadership Democrats want to protect their nepotistic, back-scratching, “business-friendly” status quo, elitist fraternity. This is all a game to them.
No one wants to be the next Joe Crowley or Mike Capuano. On some level, that’s understandable. But, like, how about just don’t be Joe Crowley? Shouldn’t that be the lesson here? Shouldn’t this have instead served as a wake-up call? Perhaps Dem leadership should be realizing the importance of actually living in their districts, holding regular town halls, giving a shit about what their constituents want, moving with the times, stuff like that. But no. Instead, they’re choosing to double down on protecting incrementalism and “bipartisanship” when they should be hitting the panic button. To Hoyer, Bustos, and Co, it’s just a damn country club.
Sadly, this rule is significant and will likely have terrible consequences for the future of America. The thing is, AOC’s and Pressley’s success cannot be replicated ever again, at least not exactly. They benefited from the sneak attack factor, which allowed them to use volunteers and mobilize a grassroots campaign without pricey consultants. It’s not that Crowley and Capuano didn’t have access to the DCCC machine and its power; they did. It’s just that they didn’t see those strong primary challengers coming, so they didn’t avail themselves of it until it was too late. No Old Dinosaur will make that mistake again. Strong primary challengers will now be sniffed out ten thousand miles away, and the machine will be ready. Primary challengers will now need a lot more than volunteers to be successful. But this iron-fisted, protectionist ruling will strip challengers of that professional support and serve to shut things down before they can even get off the ground. Which is precisely the point.
These Old Dinosaurs do not care about the people they serve, nor do they care about America’s future. They just don’t. They exist to perpetuate their own inertia and protect their own at all costs – even if “their own” votes with Trump almost seventy percent of the time. I will assume this also lifts at least some of the veil on why Democrats pathetically beg white male racist conservatives and “moderates” for votes every cycle instead of speaking truth to power, representing their true base, and fighting for the serious change we really need. Conservatives and “moderates” won’t ever ask them to change.
Tostada Nachos with Beef
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- ½ medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbs chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- 1 canned chipotle in adobo, minced
- ¾ cup store-bought red salsa
- 1 tsp masa harina
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 tbs fresh lime juice
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and coarsely chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded if desired, and minced
- 2 generous tbs chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Pinch of ground cumin
- 1 tsp or so fresh lime juice
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
- 6 corn tortillas
- Kosher salt
- 1 15 oz. can refried beans
- 8 oz. brick of cheddar cheese, shredded
- Sour cream
- Pickled jalapeno slices
- Salsa, if desired
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the beef and cook, crumbling it as you go, until no traces of pink remain. Add the onion and cook until the onion has softened and is translucent, stirring often. Now add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and chipotle. Stir to thoroughly coat the beef and onion with the spices and cook out the garlic, about 1 minute. Lower the heat to medium and add the salsa. Stir to combine and thicken a little. It will come together very quickly. Now quickly stir in the masa harina, salt and pepper to taste, and the lime juice. Shut off the heat.
- Add the avocado to a mixing bowl, then add the jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, cumin, lime juice, and salt. Use a fork to mash it all together to your desired consistency. I like mine to stay a little chunky. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. If not using right away, cover with plastic wrap and make sure the plastic wrap is directly touching the top of the guacamole.
- Preheat your oven to 375 F. Heat up about an inch or so of canola oil in a large deep-sided skillet. Cut each tortilla in half, so you have a total of 12 half-moons. When the oil is ready, fry the tortilla halves, in batches if necessary, until golden brown and crispy. You’ll know it’s about there when the bubbles start subsiding. Remove the tortillas with a spider or slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Let them cool until you can handle them.
- Transfer the refried beans to a small mixing bowl and thin with a little water, just enough so they can be stirred easily with a spoon. Use a mini offset spatula or butter knife to spread each tortilla half with a nice amount of refried beans. Line them all up on a baking sheet. Carefully spoon the beef onto each nacho and lightly press it into the beans to make sure it doesn’t fall off when you transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Feel free to mound up the beef here. Now evenly sprinkle the cheese over the nachos. Carefully slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling a little. Remove the nachos and dollop the top of each with guacamole, sour cream, and a few jalapeno slices. Dot with salsa if desired. Serve immediately.