TL;DR — The Democratic party hand-picks centrists over progressives, has no vision​, doesn’t give a shit about actual democracy.

“They squash progressive candidates. They destroy the diversity of ideas in their caucus. They keep ideas like ‘Medicare for All,’ free community college, or impeaching Donald Trump from having a significant role in the national conversation,” says Tillemann. “The issues that resonate most with voters are not the issues that the DCCC is telling candidates to focus on.”

The secretly taped audio recording, released here for the first time, reveals how senior Democratic officials have worked to crush competitive primaries and steer political resources, money, and other support to hand-picked candidates in key races across the country, long before the party publicly announces a preference. The invisible assistance boosts the preferred candidate in fundraising and endorsements, and then that fundraising success and those endorsements are used to justify national party support. Meanwhile, opponents of the party’s unspoken pick are driven into paranoia, wondering if they are merely imagining that unseen hands are working against them.

In races in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Texas, Nebraska, California, and beyond, progressive candidates are finding that the DCCC has mobilized support for moderate candidates with access to early campaign cash at the expense of progressives. As we’ve reported, many first-time candidates are told by the DCCC that before they can even be considered, they have to perform the “rolodex” test to show they can raise $250,000 or more from the contact list on their phone.

58 thoughts on “TL;DR — The Democratic party hand-picks centrists over progressives, has no vision​, doesn’t give a shit about…

  1. I know the nation as a whole is very, very right-leaning, (to the point where pro-war, pro-corporate media is considered “too far left”), but I’m shocked that the US hasn’t evolved a Progressive Party yet.

  2. It’s not possible to have more than two parties viable at the national level in our winner-take-all, first-past-the-post voting scheme. If we had some sort of parliamentary system, we’d be much better off in some ways–but we’d probably also have an unmasked Nazi Party in operation.

  3. Trotting out the usual rhetoric villifying third-party voters goes a long way towards that. I agree that the current voting system provides a barrier to new parties emerging, but it’s by no means absolute like people would have you believe.

    And it’s rather interesting how perpetuating the idea of only two viable parties benefits both parties involved.

  4. What Dems need is a benevolent version of the Koch brothers to shovel money at progressive candidates so they can out the existing party leaders.

    Pushing more centrists is the worst idea ever. That’s what got us Trump.

  5. I’m more than happy to vilify third party voting in crisis situations like the 2016 general election. I care too much about the consequences (which time has borne out) to feel otherwise.

    If there’s a path to a thriving third party, it’s likely to be a bottom-up one, starting with local elections and building from there. Throwing national elections to fascists in a scorched earth temper tantrum doesn’t help anyone but the fascists.

    (This is admittedly a digression from the OP, which is indeed reprehensible behavior from the DCCC. I can get freezing out Sanders, who isn’t a Democrat, but this? Ugh.)

  6. Party leadership pre-empting regular party members choices for candidates may not be small d democratic, but it does server to filter out demagogues. It is also mostly how it has been done in this country since we’ve had political parties.

    However I would like to see us evolve a better system. I am for anything that weakens our two party system.

    – Instant runoffs/ranked voting
    – Fairly drawn districts, independent of political control
    – Proportional representation for legislative bodies
    – Either public only campaign finance or severely restrictive private financing (Like $20 per person/corporation per candidate per race)
    – No more filibuster
    – No more midterm elections, elect executive and legislative bodies on the same 4 year cycle
    – Mandatory voting – you vote or get fined

  7. Oh yeah – No more publicly financed primaries – parties can caucus, hold a lottery, duel with pistols, or whatever else they want to do to pick their candidates. Public primaries only server as an additional barrier to third parties and independents.

  8. Progressive remains a misleading term.

    Trump and buddies also consider themselves “Progressive”.

    Instead of that term, a better term for the opposite side of the spectrum is ‘Innovative’ to avoid confusing one for the other.

    The country, as a whole, is suffering from PTSD and doesn’t realize it. 17 years in a state of war of one type or another will do that.

    The Democratic leadership is trapped itself in a similar state…. and is failing to do what is best as it is stuck in the ‘status quo’. It is so focused on regaining power in some form (as it was during the entire second term of Obama’s administration) that is way too willing to compromise or delay taking any actions that may fix major problems.

    The Republicans are playing them like a violin, known that even if they take the senate or the house or both in November that they will spend a year or so undoing what they can of the damage Trump and the Republicans have done and in the process find themselves tied up in knots the next presidential election so that they either lose or lose all that they will gain in November in regards to seats while the nation continues to be trapped in a conflict and PTSD cycle while never getting the therapy it needs.

  9. I’m comfortable with the idea that the people who bothered to build the structure of the party (the moderates) have power in it. That means the liberals have to get in, become part of the DNA of the place, and change it. But whining that the people in control won’t let you win isn’t really gonna get you anywhere.

  10. Robert Bohl I don’t think this is whining at all. This is the wealthy subverting democracy. The whole point of primaries is giving the public a voice. The DCCC doesn’t get a pass just because the Republicans are facist shitheads.

  11. Robert Bohl Then consider the release of this recording — and what it reveals — part of their work to change things.

    Honestly, the DCCC are, at best, rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The party can either embrace the progressives or die.

  12. I was like “oh, a headline attacking the Democratic Party from the left! Must be The Intercept!” Yep, it’s the Intercept. Just like they did throughout 2016.

    It’s probably a coincidence but they were also skeptical of Russian interference in the election as long as they possibly could be while retaining any shred of plausibility.

    Basically fuck The Intercept.

  13. I haven’t listened and don’t see any reason to. I’m hearing centrists play hardball to advance their agenda. I think leftists should be doing whatever it takes to take control and back the kinds of candidates who have positions I’m more likely to agree with (as you know, I’m significantly left of the Democratic left).

    What unconscionable thing was done, here? I’m asking sincerely. Intraparty politics is dirty. I already knew that.

  14. Also, centrists are useful. I don’t think a candidate I’d cook up in a wish factory would have a chance to win in conservative areas. Control of a body of Congress gives you a lot of power, and that power is stronger the bigger the margin.

  15. It’s journalism and whining both. The article isn’t neutral. It’s all “OMG, look at what the evil Party is doing!”

    I’m all, “Meh.” Yeah, the Party is being a party. Move on, article. Did the Party break any laws? Oh, it said one thing publicly and another privately?