Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Dem Party Update - Bronx Machine Attacks Progressive Incumbent, Progressive vs Rhode Island Dems Srike at Heart of Center Right Dems in state,

Rhode Island Progressives Push for Takeover of State Democratic Party:  Progressive slates offer a state-level model for the left to overcome the stagnation of Biden’s presidency and the national Democratic Party... The Intercept

Finally Biden acted on abortion - what he should have done ten minutes after the decision was announced - instead of leading he looks like he's following due to pressure. He just doesn't have the DNA to fight back. Neither do the leaders of the party -- who do have the DNA to fight the progressive wing.
I've been tracking the oft unreported war inside the Dem Party where liberal (actually neo-liberal) mainstream media lines up against progressives. I heard another attack by Joe on Morning Joe the other day -- you lost, so just shut up about being critical of Biden. The progressive wing will not accept Biden or Harris or Pete B. There will be a primary in the Dem party -- and look for a 1968 LBJ type situation where Biden loses the New Hampshire primary to some Eugene McCarthy like figure and withdraws and the Dem Center tries to force Harris down our throats with cries of Bernie Bro like charges of racism and misogyonism against the progressive critics of possibly the worst politician we've scene. At least in 68 Hubert Humphrey was not horrendous and almost won.

For me if health (which is problematical) John Fetterman is my choice for 2024. The AFT/UFT will endorse Harris - you read it here first.

I'll get to the good news Rhode Island portion above at the end of this post. But first.....

Let me remind you as I do time and again --- the UFT Unity Caucus is firmly in the hands of the same neo-liberal center/right forces - no matter what Mulgrew and Randi say --- always watch what they do, not what they say - they are echoes of the incompetent Dem Party masters -- except they are both competent at maintaining control of their own party machinery.

David Sirota responded:
Liberals who have spent 20 years being a cheering section for Democratic Party betrayals of the working class & electoral failure — you’re part of the reason Trump won in 2016 & part of why fascism is on the rise. Actively encouraging Democrats to fail is part of why we’re here.
At least Brian Lehrer gives the progressives a voice as he did with The Nation's Elie Mystal the other day. https://www.wnyc.org/story/monday-morning-politics-bidens-executive-order-abortion-and-preview-jan-6th-hearing

Ross Barkan had a few analytical pieces about the left in NY -- which is in no position to take over the Dem party.

 In New York, he wrote about the Democratic Party’s Joe Biden problem, the Democrats’ refusal to deal with the housing crisis, the future of BDS, and the Left’s recent struggles in New York. In the Nation, he wrote about the outcome of the governor’s race for the Left.

Here are two more articles that fall into this mix.

I saw Gustavo Rivera in person at a live Sam Seder show in March and he's fantastic. He dared to call for Insulin prices in NYS to be capped at $30. So look at this NY Post (which is cheering the anti-progressive move) article. By the way, make some guesses as to what the UFT will do in this race.

Bronx Dems dump AOC-aligned Sen. Gustavo Rivera over far-left positions

he Bronx Democratic Party decided to part ways with a veteran incumbent amid a contentious power struggle between its left and far-left flanks.

In an unusual move, the leadership of the Bronx Dems snubbed state Sen. Gustavo Rivera and instead endorsed his rival, lawyer Miguelina Camilo, in the reapportioned 33rd district.

Even more surprising is that fellow state legislators who run the Bronx Democratic Party — state Sen. Jamaal Bailey, who is party chairman, and Assemblywoman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who is the party’s secretary — back the move to dump their colleague.

“Gustavo has aligned himself with the far left of the party. Defunding the police, that’s not going to sit well in the 33rd District,” said Dinowitz, whose Assembly District overlaps with the senatorial district, including Riverdale.

Rivera joined the left wing Working Families Party and socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in backing insurgent Jessica Woolford against Dinowitz in the June 28 Assembly primary. Dinowitz trounced Woolford.

Bronx Assemblyman Michael Benedetto also easily defeated primary rival Jonathan Soto, who was endorsed by the WFP and Ocasio-Cortez. Benedetto and Dinowitz were among the incumbents who beat back lefty insurgents on a good day for the establishment and a bad day for the political left.

About one-third of Rivera’s district is new under court-ordered redistricting, taking in the northwest Bronx neighborhoods of Riverdale and Norwood. The Senate primary will be held on August 23.

Dinowitz noted that Rivera now resides in the 31st District but insisted on running again in the 33rd. Camilo, following redistricting, decided to run in the 33rd instead of the 34th district, an open seat after state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi opted to run for Congress.

But Rivera, first elected in 2010 after defeating convicted crook Pedro Espada, has the backing of the Working Families Party and a slew of powerful unions. He has been associated with leftist causes such as defunding the police and instituting a government-run public health insurance system.

Rivera, the Senate health committee chairman, also has pushed controversial policies, such as providing comprehensive benefits to illegal immigrants and pushing legislation to open “safe injection sites” to give drug addicts clean needles to shoot up drugs.

The leadership of the state Senate — Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins (D-Yonkers) and Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) — are also backing Rivera’s re-election.

“I always endorse my sitting members and I want all of them to come back to the Senate. Senator Rivera has always been a valuable member of the Senate and I look forward to continuing to serve with him,” Stewart-Cousins said.

Rivera’s response to the Bronx party snub? Bring it on!

“Senator Gustavo Rivera has been representing the working people of the Bronx for over a decade. He is a labor candidate and advocate for his community,” a campaign spokesperson said in a statement.

“The Senator has already amassed support and endorsements from 1199 SEIU, CWA, NYSUT and PSC l. He will continue to fight and deliver for his community. He represents over 70% of this district and looks forward to the spirited primary election,” the Rivera camp said.

 Camilo formerly headed the Bronx Women’s Bar Association and served as a commissioner on the city Board of Elections, an appointment that goes to people with close ties to the party leadership.

“Immensely proud to have the endorsement of @bronxdems, an organization that has seen me grow as a young lawyer and dedicated member of our Bronx community,” Camilo tweeted Tuesday.

Bailey, the Bronx Party leader, said Wednesday night that party officials sought to avoid a primary by urging Rivera to run in the 34th district or 32d districts instead. Rivera refused.

“We were not looking to primary Gustavo. We tried to avoid a primary. We were not able to figure it out,” Bailey said.

“We believe in Miguelina,” he added.

On the good progressive news dept, is this story from Rhode Island - maybe a model for other states - you won't take the Dem party away nationally, so do it state by state:

Rhode Island Progressives Push for Takeover of State Democratic Party:  Progressive slates offer a state-level model for the left to overcome the stagnation of Biden’s presidency and the national Democratic Party

July 8 2022, 6:00 a.m.

Rhode Island is the latest state where, with approval ratings falling for President Joe Biden and other national Democrats, progressive groups are mounting challenges to take over the state-level Democratic Party. With Biden failing to enact his agenda and Republicans stripping basic rights from people across the country, Rhode Island progressive candidates are pushing to build a majority with the power to govern in local and state-level politics. Similar slates are running progressive candidates in 11 other states this cycle, part of recent attempts among organizers to find smaller-scale wins despite the party’s national-scale failures.

The group, the Rhode Island Political Cooperative, is seeking to capitalize on the moment of weakness for conservative Democrats and backing 30 candidates in the state this cycle, for offices ranging from governor to state legislators. The group supports candidates who have committed to backing a Green New Deal, a $19 minimum wage, single-payer health care, and not taking money from lobbyists, fossil fuel companies, or corporate PACs.

“The left has been losing in states for 50 years.”

“The left has been losing in states for 50 years,” organizer and Rhode Island Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Brown, of the cooperative, told The Intercept. “There are a lot of people on the left who have been resigned to that state for a while and are so used to the role of the left being pushing and pulling and pleading and pressuring bad governments to throw some crumbs to the people.”

The Co-op, as it is known, was formed in 2019 by state Senate candidate Jennifer Rourke — whose Republican opponent punched her last month at a protest following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — along with Brown and state Sen. Jeanine Calkin; the goal was to oust the state’s conservative Democratic leaders. In the 2020 cycle, the group elected 10 of its candidates and has since gained additional momentum following the assault against Rourke and several high-profile resignations within the state Democratic Party.

The Co-op is part of the Renew U.S. coalition, a progressive group that seeks to build local multiracial, working-class coalitions and scale them to establish governing majorities in states across the country in the near term. “One or two cycles, not 20 years,” Brown told The Intercept.

Brown is one of five candidates running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, including incumbent Gov. Dan McKee. Brown ran for the nomination in 2018 against then-governor and now-Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and got just under 40,000 votes to Raimondo’s 67,370. Two years later, Brown helped launch Renew, which backed more than 200 candidates in six states that cycle. The 129 Renew candidates who won across the country have since gone on to help pass legislation, like a bill passed last month in Massachusetts that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license and a modest Rhode Island climate justice bill that was signed into law last April.

This year, Brown is running again for the governor’s seat. And Renew is recruiting and backing 400 state and local candidates in Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Vermont.

In Rhode Island, the Co-op has mounted the challenge at a time when the state Democratic Party, like the national party, is undergoing a major upheaval. Top officials, including the Democratic state Senate majority leader and state Senate Judiciary Committee chair, have announced their retirement in recent weeks. The party’s chief strategist, whom the Providence Journal has described as its de facto executive director, resigned late last month, less than three months before the upcoming September 13 primaries. Elections for governor and the state legislature could dramatically change the political balance in an election cycle where issues like abortion, guns, and the climate crisis are at their most urgent, and some of the party’s most conservative Democrats are being pushed to clarify their positions.

Democrats have long struggled to overcome the stranglehold that Republicans have on the majority of the country’s state legislatures. Republicans hold more than 54 percent of the country’s state legislative seats and fully control state government in 23 states, whereas Democrats have trifectas in 14.

And while Democrats control both the White House and Congress, Biden has abandoned several of his campaign promises on oil and gas drilling, student debt, and gun control, with conservative Democrats in the Senate blocking the bulk of his agenda. Republicans are poised to make major gains in the upcoming midterm elections.

Organizers like those involved in the Co-op see these problems as linked. With no compelling local message, Democrats lose state-level elections. Then with no powerbase or bench in the states, they are unable to win in national elections — or unable to get things done when they do win.

“This will build the pipeline for federal power. The way I put it is, members of Congress don’t go home and run for the state legislature, it’s the other way around,” Brown said. “So if we build multiracial, progressive power in 25, 30, 40 states over the course of this decade, we’re gonna have a pipeline of federal candidates for decades to come.”

Rhode Island, where conservative Democrats dominate the party’s majority and block popular legislation, is a microcosm of the problem — and it isn’t unique, said D├ílida Rocha, the executive director of Renew. “We see that that is the case in a lot of states, where the Democrats are the majority and we’re still not getting the legislation that we need to get done to meet this urgent moment.”

Insurgent, grassroots slates have reshaped recent elections in other states: a progressive slate took over the Nevada Democratic Party last March, ousting acolytes of the machine built there by former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. In 2020, progressives seeking to oust establishment Democrats up and down the ballot in New Jersey put up the first organized challenge in recent memory to the state’s notoriously corrupt Democratic Party. This year in West Virginia, a new slate of candidates put together after more than six years of organizing took control of the state Democratic Party to oust its leadership and weaken the grip that conservative Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has held on politics in the state.

As with Manchin, conservative Democrats in Rhode Island are facing stronger opposition. Rourke, who had challenged the incumbent in her race twice before and slowly chipped away at his lead, losing by 31 percentage points in 2018, and 16 points last cycle.

This year, unexpected events cleared Rourke’s path to a victory. Rourke’s Republican opponent, Jeann Lugo, a Providence police officer, dropped out of the race after video surfaced of him punching Rourke during a protest against the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Two days later, Rourke’s Democratic opponent, Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey, announced he would not seek reelection after 28 years in office. McCaffrey and other Democratic leaders in the state, which has been solidly blue since 2014 but is home to some of the country’s most staunchly conservative and anti-abortion Democrats, had faced criticism in the past for failing to codify Roe and again more recently by their opponents in the wake of the decision to end protections for abortions.

Rourke will face Michael Carreiro, the president of the Warwick firefighters local union, in the September Democratic primary. Carreiro announced his campaign late last month and filed paperwork on Tuesday with the state board of elections. Until recently, his Facebook page featured a photo of him in blackface, dressed, per the caption, as James Brown. Some time since last month, the photo was longer publicly viewable on the page. (Carreiro did not respond to a request for comment.) Before Carreiro joined the race, Rourke was running unopposed and set to face Lugo, the former Republican candidate, in November.

The Co-op hopes to build this year on its success last cycle, when it won eight seats in the state legislature and two on the city council, and ousted several top Democrats including the powerful chair of the state Senate Finance Committee, former state Sen. William Conley Jr. The legislature has since passed bills that raised the minimum wage to $15 and legalized recreational marijuana with automatic expungement of past convictions.

“They immediately had to cave on things that they had been white-knuckling for a while,” said state Sen. Cynthia Mendes, who ousted Conley Jr. in 2020 by 23 points as part of the Co-op’s slate. “If this can happen with 10 people on the first try, [who] never did this before, what can happen now?”

“We have to do federal politics, and we finally have to do what we should have done a long time ago, which is deep state politics.”

Last Friday, the Co-op announced that three new candidates had joined its slate: Senate candidate Jenny Bui, a mother and first-generation Vietnamese American; House candidate and nurse Jackie Anderson; and Pawtucket City Council candidate and homeless outreach worker Nicole LeBoeuf. Bui is challenging an anti-abortion Republican; Anderson is challenging the Democratic state House Speaker; and LeBoeuf is running for one of three at-large seats on the city council, alongside two incumbents and at least one other candidate.

The model slates aren’t just concerned about winning seats in local and state elections; they’re testing theories of change that could help rebuild a Democratic Party that has struggled to define itself for the last seven years. They hope to chart a path forward for the left.

“Democrats, the left are kind of in a panic death spiral, politically,” Brown said, remarking on the party’s failure to field an adequate response to the rise of Donald Trump and the rightward lurch of the Republican Party.

“People are just panicked. And so, in that panic, are just consumed only with Washington,” he said. “What we’re saying is, yes, we have to fight it out as best we can to win power in Washington. But given the level of crises, given that our democracy is at risk, given that the planet is at risk, given the suffering that people are going through in this country, we have to be able to do two things at once now. We have to do federal politics, and we finally have to do what we should have done a long time ago, which is deep state politics.”




  1. I like you personally.
    I've liked your spirit even if we didn't always see eye to eye on all issues.
    But since we are talking history, what happened after the 1968 primary process?
    SCOTUS is a disaster now.
    What will happen if we repeat history and give the GQP control of the White House for 20 of the next 24 years?
    I understand that you never cared for Joe Biden & Kamala Harris, but the result of a primary challenge will make The Handmaid's Tale + 1984 look like a Disney movie.
    We have exactly one shot to avoid repeating that nightmare.
    And that is a united party to re-elect Joe & Kamala.

    1. I find it interesting how you don't attribute blame to the Dems for Trump and are willing to risk putting Biden/Harris against a more serious threat than Trump -- one of the Victor Orban wannabees. You actually can conceive of Harris as president? Just watch her - and she had to drop out in 2020 before even entering a primary. Black people didn't support her. Running them is precisely the most likely scenario of handing the Republicans a massive victory. Despite all his failures Trump actually was in contention with Biden in 2020 and Biden has shown to be less popular than he was -- actually showing incompetence politically and a failure to act on so many issues -- a weak voice when we need a vibrant one.

    2. Show me any other Democrat who can win PA MI WI.
      And if you say Sanders or Warren I will laugh my @$$ off.
      Bernie couldn't be elected President of my temple.

    3. And yes, I can see Harris as President- certainly before AOC.
      Because she actually got things passed. AOC has passed bupkas! Same with the rest of The Squad.

    4. Biden is Conner Lamb. How'd that work out? Biden won by an inch. If it's not Trump Dems are dead in the water. I'd take my chances on Bernie like candidate any day in 2024. You are left with Manchin.

    5. You mean the same Harris who polled 3% even among black people and dropped out before being tested in any primary? That Harris? What did she pass exactly? AOC can't pass anything with the fossils running the Dem party.

  2. As for Manchin, he drives me nuts.
    But he is the last Democrat who will win for the next generation in WV.
    He votes with Joe at a higher rate than AOC & The Squad.
    Knock him out or force him to caucus as a Republican and neither of us will see another Democrat hold that seat.
    I don't give Sinema the same latitude.
    But worry about her primary AFTER we hopefully re-elect Sen. Kelly this Fall.


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