12/19/21

Huffington Post reporter Daniel Marans said the Rhode Island Political Cooperative, a progressive organization that provides campaign services to candidates it endorses, is creating a rift within the state’s Democratic party.

Marans told Hill.TV’s “Rising,” that the Co-Op, which in recent years contributed to a paradigm shift from center-left to more progressive legislative activity in the traditionally blue state, may now be splitting progressive votes and helping more conservative candidates succeed.

“There was a special state Senate election where there was a co-op candidate and there was another candidate from the left. Arguably, they may have cannibalized some of their own votes and one of the established candidates won,” Marans said.

Despite the fact that Co-Op-backed candidates successfully ousted a number of “old guard,” “pro-labor,” and “socially conservative”  Democrats in recent years, he said, the tide in the Ocean State is shifting.

“In 2022, I suspect that the centrist to conservative Democratic machine will try to unseat some of these [Co-Op backed] members,” Marans said. 

“Even Republicans will try to make inroads because, when you think about the demographics of Rhode Island, it is a very working class state with a large working class white population and a large and growing working class Latino population — one demographic that has swung hard against democrats for decades,” Marans said.

Marans said that Co-Op infighting has caused many candidates to distance themselves from the organization that includes some on their own accord and others ousted by leadership. 

He named Tiara Mack, a progressive activist turned state Senator who was backed by the Co-Op during her campaign and later left the group, citing a lack of confidence in leadership.

Marans said other lawmakers that were formerly associated with the Co-Op left due to the group’s hard line tactics that made it difficult for them to work with more moderate colleagues to accomplish common goals.

“You can play hardball, but can you sustain those gains if you over play your hand?” Marans said.

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