Corporate Democrats have made it known that although progressive candidates represent the views of the majority of Democratic voters on a number of high-priority issues including healthcare and the climate crisis, the party leadership will continue to marginalize progressives in the 2020 congressional elections—angering groups including the Justice Democrats and Our Revolution.
Progressive organizations championing Medicare for All and a Green New Deal slammed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) on Thursday for selecting a leadership team consisting of seven representatives of the pro-business New Democrat Coalition.
Following her election as chairwoman of the DCCC, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) selected three so-called "centrist" Democrats to head the committee's candidate recruitment team and three pro-corporate representatives to lead its Frontline panel, which will defend vulnerable incumbents in 2020.
"At a time when progressive members of the new class of Democrats, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are dominating national headlines and gaining grassroots supporters, the DCCC has missed another opportunity to engage where the center of energy is in the Democratic Party and in American politics." —Waleed Shahid, Justice DemocratsNone of the candidates the leadership team chooses and defends are expected to be progressive now that Reps. Pete Aguilar (Calif.), Val Demings (Fla.), Donald McEachin (Va.), Ami Bera (Calif.), Suzan DelBene (Wash.), and Brad Schneider (Ill.) will be overseeing the committees' operations.
The representatives have taken large campaign contributions from the for-profit health insurance industry, Amazon, and defense contractor Northrup Grumman—relationships that Justice Democrats communications director Waleed Shahid argued are not aligned with the interests of most Democratic voters.
"At a time when progressive members of the new class of Democrats, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are dominating national headlines and gaining grassroots supporters, the DCCC has missed another opportunity to engage where the center of energy is in the Democratic Party and in American politics," Shahid told the Huffington Post, referring to the newly-elected congresswoman from New York.
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Bustos has indicated that she will actively fight against progressive candidates who back bold, widely popular proposals like the Green New Deal—supported by 92 percent of Democrats—and Medicare for All, which 84 percent of Democratic voters support.
Bustos told Politico clearly that she plans to "support Democrats in the House" rather than encouraging primary challengers—even if those challengers better represent constituents.
"I hope we don't have to deal with a lot of primary angst because it takes a lot of resources when that happens," Bustos said.
But Our Revolution pointed to successful and widely-popular progressives like Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), urging the DCCC to not dismiss similar candidates in 2020.
"The DCCC would do well to incorporate members from the Congressional Progressive Caucus in candidate recruitment efforts to ensure that we continue building on the gains we made in 2018 in future elections," Diane May told HuffPost.