If you’re a progressive like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Justice Democrats—the group who picked her to challenge Joe Crowley in the 2018 midterm race that sent her to the House of Representatives—it’s only logical that you view those Democrats who won’t support Medicare for All, or the Green New Deal, as obstacles. Further, it’s only logical that in a time of such political urgency, you want obstacles out of the way as fast as possible. And further still, it’s only logical that you would target those “obstacle candidates” in districts where it’s possible to get a true progressive into the House, including urban areas.
Enter the Congressional Black Caucus, who are “furious” that the Justice Democrats are planning to challenge black House members in upcoming primaries. Per The Hill:
Justice Democrats is backing primary challengers to eight-term Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), a Hispanic Caucus member, and 10-term Rep. Wm. 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.).
“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.
Okay…okay…now, let’s see if we can parse this narrative. If you were a Justice Democrat strategist, and you were challenging a candidate of color in a Democratic primary, what sort of candidate would you recruit for that challenge?
If you guessed “another person of color,” well…ding ding ding!
Who’s their candidate to oppose Cueller, the Hispanic Caucus member? “Jessica Cisneros, a 26-year-old Hispanic woman.”
Who’s their candidate to oppose Clay, the CBC member? “Cori Bush, a registered nurse and Black Lives Matter activist.”
@scottwongDC I am a black woman challenging Rep Clay so there is no racist agenda. @justicedems did NOT target him, his community did. We desire authentic, effective representation, not just the long-term kind. Let’s put a stop to a false narrative.— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) July 12, 2019
Why are they trying to primary Cuellar? Because he votes with Trump 69% of the time, because the NRA loves him, because he wants to ban federal funds for abortion, because he takes money from private prisons and the Koch brothers. It’s all right there to be read!
Meanwhile, they’re supporting candidates of color like Jamaal Bowman against white representatives, and famously got behind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley in their victories over white male incumbents.
Clearly, this is a “narrative” manufactured from thin air by a group of lawmakers who refuse to endorse progressive legislation and don’t want to be held accountable. So instead, they’re implying that women like Ocasio-Cortez aren’t “real” people of color:
A senior House Democratic aide called it “ironic and funny” that Ocasio-Cortez is accusing Pelosi of attacking women of color, when Justice Democrats is targeting minority lawmakers.
“She’s only a woman of color when it’s convenient. None of the things she’s fought for aligned with communities of color and her group is funded only by elitist white liberals; she’s a puppet,” the top Democratic aide told The Hill in a phone call.
The aide then texted an image of a Goomba puppet from the Super Mario Bros. videogame.
While all this is happening, the majority leader, Nancy Pelosi, refuses to take a single risk in challenging Trump and spends a good chunk of her time attacking her own left flank.
This is clearly the new strategy: Feed stories to the media about racial motivation even when there’s zero evidence for it, and when the media reaches out, give quotes like “It does make you wonder what’s going on,” and “it just seems strange.” You can always count on the media to leave the rest of the story out, or to bury it so far down that the simple facts—Justice Dems are challenging on the merits of policy, and not color, which is obvious since their candidates are almost all people of color—are obscured.