The media's endless hunger for intra-democratic conflict and a continued recovery of the primary campaign for 2016 strikes again. During…
The media’s endless hunger for intra-democratic conflict and a continued recovery of the primary campaign for 2016 strikes again. During the weekend, news sites promised breathless high drama and a major conflict between the newly elected New York Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the alleged stodgy and frightened democratic establishment.
“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib are not ready Challenging Incumbent Democrats Who Come Up Short” shouted a title at The Intercept.
The story is quite simple: Ocasio-Cortez joined a group called the Justice Democrat’s Saturday Night and urged progressive Democrats to run for offices and not shy away from primary challenges to masters.
“We all have to run on all levels of government, but I really hope many of you come here with me in Congress,” said Ocasio-Cortez on the conversation. “All I’m asking you to do is throw the hat in the ring, say what it is.”
This was backed up by Tlaib, a new newcomer Husmember (from Michigan) issuing a press release that asked supporters: “Help lifting women like us at all levels of government. “
Despite this unpretentious rhetoric, this conversation was framed as a major threat to democratic establishment. Daniel Marans at Huffington Post wrote that “Ocasio-Cortez showed that she has no interest in adhering to the traditional congressional norms of comity and reputation.” Aida Chávez and Ryan Grim of the Intercept write that this pipe solves the issue of Ocasio-Cortez “will continue the practice of endorsing the main challenges of sitting members of the congress or if she will work to intervene with the institution she comes to join. “
It’s an exciting David and Goliath story, by young start-up propressives who embark on the democratic establishment. The evidence that there is widespread democratic establishment antipathy for this candidacy recruitment program is unfortunately missing. Huffington Post, Intercept and Daily Beast, who ran a similar story, had no quotes from democratic politicians or co-workers who tried to discourage primary challengers.
And while Indivisible’s Leah Greenberg went a little viral with a tweet, said “the thought that the once-elected democrats should worry about a primary challenge is actually * much * more radical than the idea that primaries are good and healthy “it is unclear that exactly argues against The main challenges, other than some low followers-democratic voters on Twitter.
Certainly, individual politicians are people, and tend to become grumpy when challenged. However, there are both ways with supporters of both the existing and the challenger who lobbing insults and snoring each other when things get heated. Antagonism is a natural result of competition, and can not be attributed solely or even to most masters who feel prepared to run without challenge.
Competition-based primaries are in fact good and healthy. It is twice the time when the Republican party has been abandoned to run political ideas in favor of racist trolling, which means that democratic primaties remain the only space in the electoral policy for meaningful political discourse. For strong blue districts like the one in New York City who chose Ocasio-Cortez, democratic primaries are the only place where voters can make meaningful choices.
More to that point, while this move to recruit new candidates is framed as a threat to the Democratic Party, it is actually a big advantage. If the effort recruits young, exciting candidates and it leads to candidates joining people who previously had little or no participation in electoral politics, it is a big win for the party. If the primaries get attention, the party gets attention. This can only increase commitment in the long run.
When people start knocking on doors, giving money or telephone banks, they tend to be involved in party politics – and that investment will help the party in the long run. Getting people who do not often vote to appear in a certain primary choice will likely lead them to vote in more choices overall. Competitive primaries can help bring more voters aboard and lead them to stay a week, which is a positive matter no matter who wins any individual contest.
Because of this, there is reason to be skeptical of proposals as the democratic establishment rejects the very idea of primary challengers. Yes, established masters are more likely to receive support from PACs and unions and other major players in the democratic organizational world. Nobody denies having a few wins in your pocket attracts people who are keen to invest in your future success. But it should not be confused with a direct rejection of the concept of competitive primaries, something more than a baseball team that buys a lot of good players, rejecting the idea of putting these teams on the field.
(Certainly, in some states and especially in New York, the chosen democrats have engaged in tactics to protect themselves from the primary challenges. It is regrettable and it must end. But it is also an artifact of power systems in the individual states. Think that it can be extrapolated to say something meaningful about all democratic commanders.)
Ideally, we would have more competitive primaries so people can bring a lot of ideas to the table to be hardened from outside their actual content. Unfortunately, the media’s story reduces this to a conflict between the socialist hippies and Centrist Grinche’s opposite effect. It encourages people to choose a team and a thoughtless mess for them instead of really engaging in ideas on the table – ideas that often do not match the “law” that any politician has been assigned based on factors that are undesirable, aesthetic or influenced.
It’s time to let 2016 go first. It’s a long way past the time. This story is not about David vs Goliath or any dualist struggle between two fractions that probably has no overlap. It is a misconduct of different people in different districts with different ideas, and tries different tactics with different levels of success. Certainly there should be more candidate recruitment and more primary challenges, but not because of a semi-baked story of an epic battle for the party’s soul. It should be about putting back political ideas and advocacy at the heart of party politics, hoping to make real progress in the future.
Amanda Marcotte is a political author of Salon. Her new book, “Troll Nation: How the Law Became, Trumpet-Worshiping Monsters, Who Lived on the Rat Liberal, America and the Truth itself” is out now. She is on Twitter @AmandaMarcotte