DCCC is out of step with Democratic values

DCCC is out of step with Democratic values
© Greg Nash

The latest shakeup over a lack of diversity in senior leadership at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee shows that House Democrats’ campaign arm remains out of touch with the values of its grassroots Democratic voters. 

This first became evident in March when DCCC Chair Cheri Bustos announced a “blacklist” policy, which sought to stifle the people-powered democratic process by requiring political consultants to sign a loyalty pledge to incumbent Democrats. Recent comments from black and Latino lawmakers about a lack of diversity in senior leadership, as well as complaints about a tone-deaf approach to issues relating to race, show that the DCCC continues to refuse to evolve and change. Instead, there seems to be an implicit policy of silencing new voices and sidelining historically marginalized communities in order to protect the power of the status quo.

At a time when President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE is openly voicing racist rhetoric and seeking to divide us, the Democratic Party has to be a model of the America we are proud to be—an America that welcomes new voices, embraces diversity and opens the doors of power wide. 

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This spring, Our Revolution met with Rep. Bustos after holding rallies outside her office and delivering more than 30,000 petitions opposing the blacklist policy. After promising to follow up with us, Rep. Bustos has remained silent—and the blacklist policy has remained in place. The recent staff shakeup is another symptom of the same problem. 

Our nation is a diverse melting pot of hard-working Americans. Sadly, not all politicians are doing their best to serve all their constituents. Not all Democrats are created equally, and some are not aligned to the principles and morals of their congressional district. 

Congressman Daniel William Lipinski of Illinois’ third congressional district is one of the Democratic Party’s more conservative members. Lipinski voted against the landmark Affordable Care Act in 2010 and is anti-abortion. In 2018, he survived a close primary against author and small businesswoman Marie Newman. On April 16, Newman officially announced that she will challenge Lipinski in a rematch for the spring 2020 primary. 

Even though the party doesn’t need to fear losing a seat in this solidly Democratic area, the DCCC is trying to handpick its preferred candidate, rather than let Chicago-area voters decide which candidate is best for them without outside interference.

Democrats are a diverse coalition of voters seeking real change and a return to the ideals of shared prosperity with racial, gender, climate, social and economic equality for all. Democratic congressional candidates in Mississippi and California may not agree on everything, but voters deserve the right to choose an alternative if the current representative is not reflecting their values and morals or fulfilling their needs. 

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No congressional district is the same, and a one-size-fits-all candidate is not good for the Democratic Party. Banning vendors and consultants who help Democratic primary challengers is wrong. The blacklist policy deters all future leaders looking to make a difference. 

At Our Revolution, we are committed to fighting for the political change that is so desperately needed in American politics. We need an economy that works for everyone. We need health care for all. We need a political system that works for the people, not the deep-pocketed special interests. In 2020 and beyond, we need candidates on the ballot who make these issues their top concerns. We need candidates who are responsive to the people, who have said over and over again that the issues that they care about are affordable health care, fighting climate change, high-quality public education and so much more. 

Richard Rodriguez is an Illinois-based activist and community leader, former labor organizer and national board member for Our Revolution, a nonprofit organization working to reclaim democracy for the working people of our country by harnessing the transformative energy of the “political revolution.”