Cheri Bustos has come to the painfully belated realization that hosting a fundraiser for Dan Lipinski is an indefensible idea:
A top Democratic official on Wednesday canceled a planned fund-raiser for an anti-abortion congressman that had prompted an outcry among progressives, raising the question of whether there is room left in the party for lawmakers who oppose abortion at a moment when numerous Republican-controlled states are trying to effectively outlaw the procedure.
The decision by Representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, underscored the extent to which support for abortion rights has become a central litmus test for Democrats in the aftermath of President Trump’s two appointments to the Supreme Court. And the episode reflected the broader tension in the party between pragmatists who want to pursue a more cautious agenda ahead of the 2020 election and liberals eager to halt what they see as the right’s norm-breaking and extremism.
The dichotomy set up at the end of the second graf is really false, though. We’re not talking about running a statewide race in West Virginia or something here. This is a D +6 seat in which Lipinski effectively ran unopposed in 2018. Marie Newman is not only more in line with the party’s core principles — Lipinski voted against the Affordable Care Act! — but with her district. Whatever is motivating the full-bore defense of Lipinski, it’s not “pragmatism.”
I’m not someone to freak out every time an anti-establishment challenger fails to get the full ex ante support of the establishment. But for the DCCC to declare war on each and every primary challenger is just incredibly stupid and shortsighted. And while Dems will urge people to avoid consumer wank voting and remain unified against Trump in 2020, the message loses credibility when you preemptively declare all primary challenges illegitimate. Robust primary challenges are good for the party. There’s just no excuse for defending a candidate like Lipinski.
You can donate to Marie Newman’s campaign here.