Earlier this year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced a policy to blacklist firms that work with candidates challenging Democratic incumbents in primaries. The move was seen as a way to keep up and coming progressives from challenging establishment Democrats in primaries. Low and behold, Nancy Pelosi has broken from that policy, but for the opposite reason.
The House Speaker endorsed Joe Kennedy III yesterday in defiance of her party’s own policy as he faces off against incumbent Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts. If you’re expecting Pelosi to be blacklisted, you’ll be waiting awhile.
The double standards of the DCCC policy isn’t lost on anyone. No one paying attention anyway. Especially Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who has been chastised by Nancy Pelosi in the past for endorsing progressive challengers. “No one gets to complain about primary challenges again,” she said.
“So @dccc, when can we expect you to reverse your blacklist policy against primary orgs? Because between this & lack of care around @IlhanMN’s challenger, it seems like less a policy and more a cherry-picking activity,” Ocasio-Cortez added. She was referring to the primary challenge against progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar which saw the establishment wing of the party rally around her opponent.
The reasons behind Pelosi’s endorsement are typical of establishment Democrats. First and foremost, Kennedy raises a lot of money. According to a Pelosi aide, Kennedy was extremely helpful in raising money in 2018 “which was essential to Democrats’ successful efforts winning back the majority,” It’s all about the money.
Kennedy, up until May, had nearly two million dollars invested in the fossil fuel industry. He was all but pressured into divesting, probably because of who his opponent is. Sen. Markey was the guy who co-authored the Green New Deal along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
It looks bad at any given time, even in 2020 when climate change takes a back seat to Covid-19. But a Democratic leader endorsing someone whose family has benefited from fossil fuels over someone with Markey’s record? Even as hundreds of wildfires once again burn California to the ground, it’s hard to deny that this looks absolutely terrible.
The primary, set for September 1st, is a dead heat. Although Kennedy didn’t ask for an endorsement, Pelosi saw an interest in trying to put him over the top. It’s just another attempt by Nancy Pelosi and the corporate wing of the Democratic Party to undermine the progressive left. It’s been going on since 2016 and shows no sign of abating.
Justice Democrats, who helped progressives like AOC win her primary in 2018 said in a statement that “This move reeks of hypocrisy. The party is setting one standard for progressives and one entirely different standard for the establishment.”
They are right. If Democrats aren’t careful it can come back to haunt them. I don’t just mean in 2022 when a possible new Biden Administration will have to answer for the party’s policies. I mean this November. Victory isn’t certain and progressives, including environmentalists, are paying attention.