Guy will have a more in-depth analysis on this later this morning, but it appears the progressive Left seems determined to overthrow its party establishment. Where Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) failed in the 2016 presidential election and DNC election chair respectively, the far left is eyeing red state Democrats, specifically Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), if they don’t start fighting back against Trump. Similar to the Tea Party, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party feels that only their agenda is the one that can usher the Democrats back into power, noting that Sanders scored just as good with Rust Belt voters as Trump did during the primary season.
Yet, facing a rather dismal 2018 Senate map Democrats have to decide whether mounting primary challenges against their red state brethren (who have proven they can win statewide) with hyper-left primary candidates is a step towards rebranding and rebuilding the party, or just making it easier for Republicans to pick up seats. Given the GOP’s strength with white working class voters, the Republicans who can pick off Manchin in West Virginia, Donnelly in Indiana, Heitkamp in North Dakota, and McCaskill in Missouri are probably going to stay there for a while (via The Hill):
Progressives are threatening primary challenges for Democratic lawmakers who don’t commit to full obstruction of President Trump’s agenda.
Democrats already face a daunting 2018 landscape, with 10 senators up for reelection in states that Trump won. However, the threat of primaries foes going up against vulnerable Democrats such as West Virginia’s Joe Manchin further complicates the party’s chances of coming out with a net victory.
But the party’s left flank is convinced that a full embrace of progressivism is the only way to return to power, and it is ready to fight for the party’s soul.
“We fundamentally reject the assumption that Democrats can only win in red states by pandering to racists and big bankers,” said Claire Sandberg, a co-founder of the progressive political action committee We Will Replace You.
“The way we beat Trumpism and take back Congress and statehouses is offering a coherent vision of our own to put people back to work. … We don’t need to completely compromise our own values and principles.”
We Will Replace You is the most visible effort gearing up to back primary challenges from the left.
Yes, that’s right. The state houses is one of the best ways to retake Congress and ultimately build a slate of candidates who can rise to governor, senator, congressman, and maybe even president. The state level is where the talent pool is made. The problem is that Democrats don’t have that right now, given that the GOP controls 69/99 state legislatures and two-thirds of the governorships. Also, the Left’s focus on identity politics, their dislike of rural voters, and the aura of condescension inherent within left wing politics haven’t faded. Yet, before we get into all that—the progressive Left needs candidates. Sanders can’t do it all. And right now—they have no one who will be able to mount challenges that any one has heard of. You saw that problem when Democrats picked former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to deliver the rebuttal of President Trump's joint address to Congress on February 28.
It seems Manchin is one of the most visible targets, especially since he voted for some of President Trump’s most controversial cabinet nominees. He broke with his party to vote for Steve Mnuchin for Treasury secretary, Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, and Jeff Sessions for attorney general; the latter being anathema to liberals. Right now, opposition to Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, seems to be the litmus test to this civil war that’s about to erupt. Guy will fill you in on the rest of that fight later today.
Stay tuned. Things could get messy for the Left, which means we should all probably grab some popcorn and watch the carnage.