Getting rid of powerful Republican policy-makers is something the DCCC doesn't ever even try to do. Even though the NRCC ruthlessly– and sometimes successfully– targets Democratic leaders and committee chairs, the DCCC virtually never targets GOP leaders or committee chairs. A few years ago they had two opportunities to nip Paul Ryan's career in the bud and they steadfastly refused to get involved. That's the DCCC. This year their stinking Red-to-Blue program targets 43 seats. Not a single one is held by a Republican leader or committee chair. The closest they've come is when they were dragged into backing progressive Marine Colonel Doug Applegate running against former chairman Doug Issa. Other than that, their targets are all empty seats or faceless back-benchers.
Blue America and other progressive grassroots groups are targeting Republican Party arch-villains like Peter King (NY), Lamar Smith (TX), Sean Duffy (WI), and Fred Upton (MI), while the DCCC wastes tens of millions of dollars shadowboxing with inconsequential nonentities like Elise Stefanik, Mike Coffman, Mia Love, Carlos Curbelo, Steve Knight and Will Hurd. Don't get me wrong– I'm glad the DCCC is targeting creeps like Coffman Curbelo, Hurd and the rest, but it would be nice to see them make a move against someone as dangerous– and suddenly vulnerable– as House Science Committee chairman Lamar Smith or House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton, two people who are causing irreparable damage to the country every single day they show up for work.
That said, there's another factor to consider than just bad Republicans. How about some Democratic leaders worth the title “leader”– like Pelosi once was (many years ago) and Hoyer never was and never will be. The House Democrats are headed straight towards a self-inflicted garbage dump headed by either of the two worst corrupt careerists in the entire Congress, Joe Crowley or Debbie Wasserman Schultz, each an absolute ultimate in the worst sewer politics. Sure, there are decent Democrats in the House– but not many and not in positions of power. People like Barbara Lee, Raul Grijalva, Ted Lieu, Mark Pocan, Matt Cartwright aren't being groomed for leadership positions. Corrupt right-wing psychopath Kirsten Sinema is. Like Crowley. Like Wasserman Schultz. Three New Dem monstrosities who are just as bad as the worst Republicans.
Meanwhile the DCCC works hard to get rid of potential challengers to their status quo by supporting weak, corruptible, easy-to-control candidates in primaries. This year Blue America has a whole slate of extraordinary men and women who won their primaries and have a shot to win a week from today. Two especially have the kind of independent minds and the experience and records that indicate they could move up the leadership ladder rapidly and effectively: Zephyr Teachout (NY) and Pramila Jayapal. We talked about Zephyr's race yesterday and we've mentioned Pramila in terms of her proven leadership abilities several times over the course of the cycle. In neither case are we looking for merely well-behaved progressives who will vote right. Both of these women have far loftier futures ahead of them– hopefully before slime like Wasserman Schultz, Crowley and Sinema can obliterate whatsever left of the Democratic Party that's worthwhile. Over the weekend, Joel Connelly, writing for the Seattle P.I., made the case for Pramila and went right for the leadership thing. “Jayapal,” he wrote, “talks radical. But she acts practical. She is an immigrant who dreams big dreams. And she believes achieving those dreams requires a presence on the national stage.”
Jayapal took the stage last year at a rally boosting reelection of socialist Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, decrying “the 1 percent' and fearing that Seattle is “increasingly becoming a white city.”
“This is about the movement for justice in a system that is stacked against working people,” she argued. In the initial money appeal in her run for Congress, Jayapal declared: ”What Congress needs is a progressive voice who is unafraid to take on these powerful interests– who is willing to fight for all Americans, not just the wealthiest 1 percent.”
Yet, while backing Sawant, Jayapal also supported reelecting then-Seattle City Council president Tim Burgess. She delivered an exquisitely timed endorsement of Ed Murray in the 2013 Seattle Mayor's race, and was picked by Murray to help him pick a new Seattle police chief.
Ex-Gov., ex-U.S. Commerce Secretary, ex-U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke is a Democratic establishment pillar, yet he delivered a powerful pre-primary boost to Jayapal.
“As Governor, I saw firsthand how Pramila stood up for what is right when after the September 11th attacks, she founded Hate Free Zone, now OneAmerica, the largest immigrant rights group in the state,” wrote Locke.
The Democratic Party is divided– not with blood on the floor, like the Republicans– but on how to bring about change in America.
In 2008, Barack Obama's rallies featured mass chants of “Fired up, ready to go!” After his election, however, the Obama message seemed to be, “Thanks, but you can now go home.” Obama launched into a cerebral presidency that put mobilizing on the back burner.
Bernie Sanders, in his 2016 campaign, argued that a grass “movement” is needed to move America, and not just at election time. As a fiery warmup act at Sanders' rallies, Jayapal used Seattle's $15-an-hour minimum wage campaign as Exhibit A for keeping the heat on, from City Hall to Congress.
“I am a movement builder, a coalition builder,” Jayapal declared in one of the first 7th District debates.
In one early U.S. House debate, featuring “Seattle nice” talk, Jayapal made listeners sit up and take note when she said: “I think the best thing that's happened is Black Lives Matter, which was started by three queer women of color.”
Hell-raisers are often dismissed or put down.
…The thousands of all-age supporters who turned out for Bernie Sanders rallies across the state have undeniably exerted more influence on campaign '16 than wealthy donors who footed the five-figure admission price to break bread with Hillary Clinton.
The 2016 Sanders insurgency has pushed the Democratic Party and Clinton to address income disparity in America, and make restoring the middle class a centerpiece of its fall campaign.
…She helped design the majority-minority 9th District, although she's running in the 7th. She blew by multiple opponents in 2014 to win an open State Senate seat in central Seattle. She took 42 percent of the total vote in the August primary for the seat being vacated by “Congressman-for-life” Jim McDermott.
The House Progressive Caucus has endorsed Jayapal. A photo from her website shows two of its leaders, U.S. Reps. Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, and Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota. Both are known for step winding speeches at, say, NetRoots Nation, the annual gathering of America's progressive bloggers.
But they don't get much done. The Progressive Caucus needs Jayapal's presence more than she needs its endorsement.
She is a skilled close-quarters negotiator who helped create the city's Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, and tried to talk State Senate Republicans out of their obdurate stupidity to pass the bipartisan Washington Voting Rights Act.
Jayapal argues that she has already been a player who “helped negotiate parts” of an immigration reform bill that passed the U.S. Senate in 2013. ”I worked with Lindsey Graham and John McCain to get that bill passed,” she told one forum.
So, Jayapal does not fit the traditional mold. She elevates non-traditional causes, of the rights of transgender women and sex workers. She is blistering on the absence of women of color in the corridors of power.
She is a presence, a force, a mobilizer– look at Jayapal's volunteer organization– and promises to work on stuff like free college tuition, college debt relief, and a stable presence in America for immigrant families pursuing the American dream.
And, when she enters the “peoples' House,” nobody– I mean nobody– is going to keep Pramila Jayapal out of the corridors of power.
That's what we're counting on. She's defending his candidacy right up until Nov. 8 with TV ads responding to a massive last minute SuperPAC attack against her. Please help her respond by tapping on the thermometer below:
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis