Former Head of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: 'Socialism Won’t Win in Brooklyn, Iowa'


The Democrats are going so far left that even some other powerful Democrats feel they need to check themselves before they wreck themselves.

Sure, there was plenty of that attempt toward moderation on display during the debates last week, most notably with Montana Gov. Steve Bullock attacking the Democrats’ “wishlist economics.”

That got overshadowed by the vociferous comebacks from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (who finally managed to find some fire when the economically infeasible plans he supports were under attack). However, it’s not moderate candidates like Bullock who are sounding the alarm.

In a commentary piece for The Wall Street Journal published last week, former Rep. Steve Israel — a New York Democrat who also served as the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — lamented the turn his party seems to be taken.

The DCCC has often been a whipping boy for the left-leaning elements of the party because it tends to be more moderate than other elements of Democratic apparatus. In fact, the Justice Democrats — the leftist political action committee that’s responsible for giving us “the squad” — has been targeting committee pretty heavily of late, as The Washington Free Beacon noted.

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However, Israel says that a lurch to the left is the kind of thing that could cost the Democrats the election in 2020.

The article’s headline and sub-headline actually could have sufficed quite nicely in terms of getting the message across: “Socialism Won’t Win in Brooklyn, Iowa,” the piece was titled. “If Obama is too far right for Democrats, they’re too far left for swing voters.”

And that’s part of the left-lurch you may have noticed if you watched both rounds of the Democrat debates, particularly when former Vice President Joe Biden was involved:

Obamacare didn’t go far enough; the former administration’s immigration policy didn’t go far enough; pretty much everything Obama did wasn’t far enough to the left for candidates like Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. (Heck, even Harris got attacked for the fact that she was once an attorney general and, like, actually enforced the law.)

Do you think the Democrats are moving too far to the left to win the 2020 election?

Israel, who helmed the DCCC from 2011 to 2015, warned that an embrace of “socialist policies” would be the sort of thing that would turn off independent voters that the Democrats desperately need in 2020.

“Swing voters are, by their nature, centrists. They aren’t animated by extremes,” Israel wrote.

“They value a functioning government that moves them forward versus one that veers too far in either direction.

“‘Impeachment’ falls hard on their ears. A position that sounds like open borders without any rules is out of touch. Arguing that you’re going to ‘blow up the system’ doesn’t have much credibility against a candidate like Mr. Trump — who has, well, blown up the system,” Israel continued.

“Socialism may sound like a good voter-turnout strategy in Brooklyn, N.Y. It’s a recipe for defeat in Brooklyn, Iowa, which is in a congressional district flipped by a moderate Democrat in the 2018 midterms.”

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So, what’s the plan for winning Brooklyn, Iowa, in 2020? Heck if the Justice Democrats know, but they’re pretty busy hitting at the DCCC for not being diverse enough.

The Justice Democrats, for those of you unaware, is the group responsible for recruiting the far-left candidates who made it into Congress this last term, including the four members now collectively known as “the squad” — Democrat Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. The Justice Democrats are trying to recruit more candidates of that ilk, and that effort includes primarying Democrats whose leftist bona fides they find unsatisfactory.

According to the Free Beacon, the PAC launched an attack on the DCCC after a controversy this past week in which a minority outreach staffer for the committee was revealed to have sent a series of racist, homophobic tweets.

Tayhlor Coleman, who is black, tweeted things like, “The vending machine at my center only has Mexican snacks and bebidas. I’m hungry but I’m concerned about safety.” Coleman wasn’t forced out, but a lesbian Iraq veteran — Allison Jaslow, the group’s executive director — was, along with five other staffers. The ousters were spurred, in part, by two Hispanic congressmen from Texas who demanded a person of color for the executive director spot.

The Justice Democrats decided to make hay of the controversy through a series of Facebook advertisements.

“The Democratic Party has attacked progressive leaders in Congress for ‘making the party look bad,'” one of the advertisements reads. “However, just this week, multiple members of the DCCC leadership have resigned over issues of diversity within the DCCC’s ranks.”

While the Free Beacon notes the ad buys were small, a sign this could be an attempt to see how the message does rather than a full-out assault on the DCCC, this should tell you exactly what you need to know about the drift of the party.

None of the Justice Democrats were on the debate stage last week, but their philosophy certainly was. With every candidate who attacked the Obama administration as being too pusillanimous in its liberalism, for every candidate who felt that Obamacare was insufficient, you could tell who was running the show. If you don’t believe me, just hook Nancy Pelosi up to a polygraph and ask her about that.

Steve Israel is right. This may play in the Brooklyn that’s on the western tip of Long Island. In Brooklyn, Iowa, this sort of thing doesn’t fly. In the borough of Brooklyn, there’s no doubt who’s going to win in 2020. In the Brooklyn, Iowas of America, that’s an open question.

If things keep on going the way they are, the Democrats aren’t going to like the answer.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture