Prioritizing fundraising, as Democratic Party officials do, has a feedback effect that creates lawmakers who are further and further removed from the people they are elected to represent. In 2013, the DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] offered a startling presentation for incoming lawmakers, telling them they would be expected to immediately begin four hours of “call time” every day they were in Washington. That’s time spent dialing for dollars from high-end donors.This is also a telling glimpse at democracy in a system of campaign contributions as legalized bribery:
In Congress, one man or woman can be more than one vote. Leaders of both parties exploit the donor habits of major industries by sticking the newest and most vulnerable members on key committees like Financial Services or Ways and Means. Veteran members have come to call the new arrivals “the bottom two rows,” a reference to their junior position in the amphitheater-style committee rooms. Their voting habits are distinguished by the centrism they believe brought them to office. A simple majority is only as strong as its weakest member, and giving those weak members outsized power dilutes legislation. That’s what happened in the 2009-2010 session, as then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who was in charge of the DCCC, as well as committee assignments, packed key panels with centrist and conservative freshmen and sophomores.And the Democratic establishment really wants to stick to the same old same-old for the 2020 Presidential nomination process:
Those centrists were there not because the nation demanded moderation, but because Democrats had recruited them in 2006 and 2008 and put them there. [my emphasis]
This time around, the DCCC doesn’t want a replay of the 2016 presidential primary, with a big, roiling debate over the party’s fundamental values swamping warmed-over talking points about party unity and opposition to the GOP. (“End Citizens United” is one such example of unifying and progressive-sounding but ultimately toothless rhetoric.) The D-trip’s solution, though, amounts to asking the candidates on the Bernie Sanders side of the equation to play nice.This basically conservative orientation is a big reason that the Democratic Party comes off looking so week in its stance as the Kinda-Sorta Resistance Party.
One of the co-authors, Lee Fang, talks about this problem in this interview with The Real News, Centrist Democrats Are Undermining Progressive Candidates 01/25/2017: