Frustrated by the party's performance on Capitol Hill and emboldened by the mass protests against President Donald Trump, a coalition of progressive groups say they are open to supporting primary challengers next year against Democratic members of the House and Senate – even if many inside the party believe that intra-party races might ultimately only help the Republican Party gain more power.
The organizations, many run by former members of Bernie Sanders' insurgent presidential campaign, say they haven't drafted a list of targets just yet. But they vow to recruit, fund and support intra-party challengers if Democratic lawmakers don't start doing more to oppose the new president and his congressional Republican allies.
But not to worry: the party can just abandon primaries wherever they matter.
South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison called for the Democratic Party to anoint incumbents in states that Trump won, thereby avoiding primaries under the false pretense of "purity tests." On top of being necessary to American democracy, primaries provide incumbents the opportunity to engage their base and bring new voters into the party. Under Harrison, South Carolina Democrats suffered their biggest losses in the State House since Reconstruction, and Democrats have failed to gain other elected offices across the state.
Harrison and other establishment Democrats calling for blind loyalty do so to exploit Trump and Republicans as political weaponry. The consensus among DNCchair candidates is that party unity-i.e., progressives falling in line-is a more effective opposition than making reforms to facilitate unity
My take is that they are in a serious crisis. It looks as though the establishment wants to select Perez, and if he gets DNC chair, the Ellison faction may revolt.
Rick Moran adds:
Editor Lifson is correct – to a point. The Dems have to decide what form their total opposition to Trump will take. Choosing the radical-left Ellison would send a far more powerful anti-Trump message than selecting Perez, who is pretty much what passes for a mainstream Democrat these days even if he's Hispanic.
Since the DNC is largely made up of "mainstream" Hillary-supporting Democrats, I don't think the party is quite ready to commit suicide and choose Ellison. Whether they revolt, as Thomas suggests, depends on Ellison himself and how he would take his defeat.