Most Americans live in gerrymandered House districts where the outcome of the general election is pre-determined in almost every cycle. This leaves most votes with almost no choice, reduces civic engagement and drives down voter participation. This is a fundamentally undemocratic system. The only thing keeping politicians from becoming completely unaccountable is the threat of a primary challenge.
Ayanna Pressley was elected to Congress thanks to exactly such a primary challenge. She beat a 20-year incumbent, Michael Capuano to win the Democratic nomination for MA-7. So it’s understandable that she would take it a little personally when the DCCC revealed this new policy:
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Friday that it will not hire any private political vendors that provide services to Democratic primary challengers, and it will discourage individual House Democrats from doing so as well.
It’s not just Rep. Pressley, another young woman who defeated a long-term incumbent in a hard-fought primary also takes the DCCC’s blacklist personally.
In a way, it’s good the DCCC has made clear what it stands for. If we go with the DCCC’s strategy, we will have fewer Ayanna Pressleys and more Dan Lipinskis. Lipinski represents IL-3, a district he literally inherited from his father, who was the representative till 2005. Lipinski owes his seat to his father’s control over machine politics.
Lipinski did face a primary challenge this year, from Marie Newman who is far more progressive. He managed to squeak out a narrow victory by 2%, barely 2,000 votes. Newman accused him of deploying a smear campaign in the final days of the primary:
Newman blamed machine elements in Lipinski’s campaign as the forces behind disparaging text messages — including on St. Patrick’s Day, a major Chicago holiday when early voting was underway — that hurt her campaign among 3rd Congressional District voters.
While Lipinski is known for his mild-mannered demeanor and low-key political style, the 11th-hour texts accused Newman of running an abortion clinic, of wanting to put the Little Sisters of the Poor out of business and of being a Holocaust denier, she said.
“They did do all of those things,” Newman said, pinning the blame on Lipinski’s camp. “Just to be clear, my husband is Jewish, two of my family members are nuns, and my family volunteered for Little Sisters of the Poor, including my mother. My mother was so outraged they made that comment about Little Sisters of the Poor, she literally got sick one night. As far as my family is concerned, they’ll never forgive that comment that Mr. Lipinski put forth on me.” — www.politico.com/…
Let’s be clear about what the DCCC’s rules are, they are a mechanism to protect a host of Dan Lipinskis.
— @subirgrewal | Cross-posted to TheProgressiveWing.com