AOC to lefties: If the DCCC is going to oppose primary challenges, you shouldn't donate to it

I keep half-joking that she’s a bigger asset to the GOP than she is to her own party, but if she’s actually going to lead the charge to choke off grassroots funding to the DCCC then it’s not even a half-joke anymore.

If you missed the background on this, pause and read this post from 10 days ago. The DCCC is the Democratic Party’s chief fundraising and organizational arm for House races nationally; they pile up cash and then dole out the money as needed in the thick of election campaigns to candidates who look like they have a shot at winning. You can donate to each of those individual candidates yourself, of course, but no one has a bird’s-eye view of the entire map and the institutional knowledge about which races are good investments and which aren’t like the DCCC. Cutting a candidate a check is a small way to ensure that candidate wins his or her race. Cutting the DCCC a check is a small way to ensure that Democrats hold, or even expand on, their House majority.

In the interest of protecting that majority, the DCCC has decided this year not to do business with consultants and other outside vendors who choose to work for a candidate engaged in a primary challenge to a current Democratic incumbent. Which is … awkward, considering (a) progressives are gung ho to primary some centrist-y party dinosaurs in blue districts and (b) the breakout political star of the House freshman class successfully primaried Joe Crowley to win her own seat. So now here she comes to tell lefties not to donate to the DCCC until they change their policy.

Again: To which party is she more of an asset?

In fairness, what else could she say? To switch in the span of nine months from successful primary challenger to anti-primary incumbent would be one of the most comical cases of a new public official going native in Washington in modern American history. Ayanna Pressley, another successful primary challenger last fall, is also naturally against the new DCCC policy:

Ro Khanna, yet another progressive freshman, told reporters that he and two colleagues met with DCCC chair Cheri Bustos this week to make their unhappiness known.

“This unprecedented grab of power is a slap in the face of Democratic voters across the nation,” Khanna told reporters. “Voters are sick of the status quo holding on to power and stifling new voices. They are sick of D.C. politicians who care more about holding on to power than a true competition of ideas.”

Khanna said they stressed to Bustos that her predecessor, Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), had never advanced such a restriction, nor had House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

“It’s something even Rahm Emanuel would not have done,” Khanna said, referring to the Chicago mayor and former Illinois lawmaker who served as DCCC chairman from 2005 to 2007.

“Let’s be clear,” he added. “If this policy remains in place it will mean that we will not allow new Ayanna Pressleys or AOCs to emerge. It’s simply wrong.”

This is quite a jam for Bustos, who’s been in Congress just six years and has already risen to the prestige position of DCCC chair. She’s a potential successor to Pelosi as Speaker but she’s stuck having to operate from the center: Trump won her otherwise reliably Democratic district by a point in 2016. (Bustos went as far as to suggest some “give and take” with Trump on wall funding during the shutdown.) If Bustos caves to progressives on this, she’ll look weak to the centrists in her caucus who are counting on leadership to help protect them from left-wing tea partiers eager to throw them out of office. If she doesn’t cave to progressives, she’s inviting a backlash from the left that might damage the DCCC’s fundraising and her own chances to rise further in leadership. There are no good options.

Which makes this a fun story for righties. And a sneak preview of the sort of dissension the Democratic caucus will deal with regularly once Pelosi is eventually replaced by a figure with less authority. It’ll be Boehner and the Freedom Caucus all over again. Maybe worse this time.

Here’s Ocasio-Cortez last week demonstrating her history chops. I think we give her a pass on this one. Yes, it makes no sense that a country that had just elected Roosevelt for a fourth term would suddenly turn around and bar him from reelection via a supermajority, but she’s at least in the zip code of the truth. Often she’s not even in the same state as it. Besides, don’t let your instinct to dunk on her for a botched fact make you miss her point here, which is that the further left the Democratic Party goes, allegedly the more popular it becomes. I think this is why she has such a hard time believing that her polling is poor: If socialism is super-popular, as she’s convinced herself, she must be super-popular too. Exit question: Speaking of primary challenges, are we sure AOC shouldn’t be worried about one?