Hey, come on now. Just like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Congressional Black Caucus is only asking questions. If AOC wants to know why Nancy Pelosi is singling out four “women of color” for criticism, the CBC wants to know why her allies at Justice Democrats are singling out black men and women to kick out of Congress. Might it be … racism?
Congressional Black Caucus members are furious at Justice Democrats, accusing the outside progressive group aligned with firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) of trying to oust lawmakers of color, specifically African-American lawmakers.
Justice Democrats is backing primary challengers to eight-term Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), a Hispanic Caucus member, and 10-term Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). The insurgent group also made noise this year about challenging Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), a CBC member seen as the heir apparent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
And CBC leaders are fretting that Justice Democrats may target other black lawmakers in the coming weeks and months, including Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), Emanual Cleaver (D-Mo.) and Anthony Brown (D-Md.). Brown said the group has been making calls in his district, actively trying to recruit a challenger to run against him.
They’re not quietly putting this out, either. One CBC member went to The Hill to make the point on the record and as bluntly as possible. New York’s Gregory Meeks sidled almost all the way up to the R-word:
“It just seems strange that the social Democrats seem to be targeting members of the Congressional Black Caucus, individuals who have stood and fought to make sure that African Americans are included and part of this process,” Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), a senior CBC member, told The Hill.
“I don’t know what that agenda is, but if they want to come after members of the Black Caucus, it’s two ways,” warned Meeks, the Queens Democratic party boss who clashed with Justice Democrats in a local district attorney race last month.
It does seem strange, doesn’t it? Why might the Justice Democrats target African-American lawmakers, most of whom are progressives themselves? Hmmmm. As Ocasio-Cortez put it yesterday, “it’s really just pointing out a pattern, right? … I think it’s worth the asking why.”
Actually … that isn’t a bad question about Justice Democrats when it comes to targeting CBC members. It’s tough to identify a subcaucus in Congress that isn’t more consistently progressive than the CBC. They have allied themselves with Pelosi for all of the normal political reasons, but they still have plenty of influence on policy and — as AOC and Justice Democrats are finding out — a lot more credibility on identity politics than hipsters in Brooklyn. The real reason for the attacks likely has nothing to do with racism; it’s the fact that the CBC controls most if not all of the seats where socialists like Justice Democrats have a prayer of winning a primary. CBC members are simply roadblocks to real progress, man.
That shouldn’t let the CBC refrain from attacking Ocasio-Cortez and her allies on the same basis she attacked Pelosi, though. We still have lots more popcorn to pass.