Hot Tips For The DCCC: Dan Lipinski Sucks And Everyone Hates Unfairness
Here in Illinois, the state I live in, we have got some pretty fantastic Representatives, especially in and around Chicago. We've got Jan Schakowsky (who is pretty much my favorite, ever), Bobby Rush, Chuy Garcia, Mike Quigley, Danny Davis, Luis Gutiérrez -- I could go on. Sure! We cannot elect a non-shitty Governor to save our lives, but when it comes to Congress and the Senate, we do pretty all right.
And yet, for reasons pretty much no one understands... we have fucking Dan Lipinski. Dan Lipinski, who would make sense if he were representing a Republican area of the state as a Republican, but who instead represents a reliably blue district as a "Democrat" who is basically a Republican. And a bad Republican at that. He hates reproductive rights and also gay people. He voted against the ACA and for DOMA. If he had a little "R" next to his name, we'd be getting all kinds of fundraising emails about how we have to stop him. But he does not. So the DCCC is doing all it can to tank the campaign of Marie Newman, a candidate who believes that abortion should stay legal and that gay people are human beings deserving of rights. Like a regular-ass Democrat.
You see, the DCCC has been very concerned--ever since that young, socialisty upstart Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unfairly stole a Congressional seat that rightfully belonged to some old white dude and started going around charming the entire nation with her appealing ideas and snappy comebacks--about progressives mounting primary challenges to Democratic incumbents.
In order to put a stop to this, DCCC chair Cheri Bustos announced in March that they would refuse to work with any vendors or anybody who worked on the campaigns of those who primary Democratic incumbents. Thus, the DCCC -- which has decided that Illinois is stuck with Dan Lipinski forever whether we like it or not -- has been going balls to the wall on threatening anyone who does anything for Newman's campaign.
"I've had four consultants leave the campaign," Newman said. "We've now had two mail firms say that they couldn't work with us because of the DCCC issue, and then a [communications] group, a compliance group and several pollsters." Consultants who planned to work with Newman said that the DCCC delivered the warning in the nicest terms possible — but that it was a very clear threat to their ability to do business with the DCCC.
This is some straight up mob shit, or at least it would be if they were any good at this. The mob can pull off this kind of thing because A) They know enough to not actually advertise the fact that they are trying to intimidate people into not competing with them and B) They can have people killed if they talk.
If you cannot have people killed... IT IS JUST A HOT MESS OF BAD PR.
Which is why this hasn't gone over well, and why 40 College Democrat groups are now boycotting the DCCC. Bustos has agreed to meet with progressive groups to discuss the policy, but is not promising anything.
As hard as it might be for the DCCC to reconcile, not only do people tend to notice when things feel unfair, they also do tend to not like it very much. It leaves a bad taste in their mouth. And like it or not, lots of people here in America feel extremely jaded about politics in general, they feel like everything is unfair and corrupt and gross and that is not how you want people to feel if you want to get them to the voting booth. Not being gross and corrupt is literally what many of these progressive challengers are running on.
Seriously, how stupid do you have to be to think "Oh, let's put a stop to these people who think we are gross and corrupt by being obviously gross and corrupt! Everyone will love it!" Are these really the people we want in charge of anything?
There are two ways the DCCC can go here. They can try to convince the electorate that, actually, this kind of shit is totally OK and they should be fine with it but also never bring it up again because awkward, or they can just not do this kind of shit. But if they think they can make the first thing happen, then they are far more "idealistic" than wacky progressives like me who think we can do better than an anti-choice, gay-hating Congressman in Illinois.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse