Liberal groups take aim at Dem lawmakers who support entitlement reform

There's a lot of this going around on both sides. Some conservatives are threatening to primary Republicans who support the gun bill or immigration reform.

Now we have the spectacle of liberal interest groups threatening the same consequences for Democratic lawmakers who support the entitlement reforms in President Obama's budget.

Politico:

A trio of liberal groups is warning Democratic lawmakers who back cuts to entitlements programs that they could face a challenge from the left in the next election -- but it's unclear how serious the threat is.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, and MoveOn.org have released sharply worded statements putting Democrats on notice that support for President Barack Obama's budget - which proposes cuts to Medicare and Social Security - would be tantamount to betrayal.

PCCC, a prominent liberal group, also launched a website called NoBenefitCuts.com. It asks supporters to sign a petition pledging to "support primary challenges to congressional Democrats who support benefit cuts."

"We're very serious," Adam Green, PCCC's co-founder, said in an interview. "Any Democrat who votes to cut Social Security benefits shouldn't call themselves a Democrat ... It's not in our minds an empty threat."

 

But threatening to unseat a Democratic incumbent and actually unseating them are two very different things.

One challenge is money. At the end of last year, PCCC reported having slightly more than $215,000 on hand, while MoveOn.org had more than $2.3 million. Democracy for America, meanwhile, had just short of $1.4 million through the end of February. Those sums could allow the groups to play in a handful of races but aren't enough to make them a major force in the 2014 elections.

There's also the fact that most of the primary drama in recent House and Senate elections has been on the Republican side.

Still, those involved with the groups say crossing them on entitlements will energize a liberal base that holds Medicare and Social Security programs near and dear. And after last year's redistricting process, many Democratic House members find themselves in districts that become more liberal.

Obama's budget is DOA, but the entitlement reforms he proposes will probably be resurrected later this summer when the debt ceiling talks get serious.

Those few Democratic Senators who are vulnerable next year won't help their chances by voting to change Social Security and Medicare, and will certainly hurt them in any primary that might arise. They fully realize that so I think the liberal groups making these threats probably have little to worry about.

No Democrat is going to get elected because they voted to cut Social Security, but might be defeated if they do. That's a calculus that cries out for caution - something politicians from both parties are experts at.

There's a lot of this going around on both sides. Some conservatives are threatening to primary Republicans who support the gun bill or immigration reform.

Now we have the spectacle of liberal interest groups threatening the same consequences for Democratic lawmakers who support the entitlement reforms in President Obama's budget.

Politico:

A trio of liberal groups is warning Democratic lawmakers who back cuts to entitlements programs that they could face a challenge from the left in the next election -- but it's unclear how serious the threat is.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, and MoveOn.org have released sharply worded statements putting Democrats on notice that support for President Barack Obama's budget - which proposes cuts to Medicare and Social Security - would be tantamount to betrayal.

PCCC, a prominent liberal group, also launched a website called NoBenefitCuts.com. It asks supporters to sign a petition pledging to "support primary challenges to congressional Democrats who support benefit cuts."

"We're very serious," Adam Green, PCCC's co-founder, said in an interview. "Any Democrat who votes to cut Social Security benefits shouldn't call themselves a Democrat ... It's not in our minds an empty threat."

 

But threatening to unseat a Democratic incumbent and actually unseating them are two very different things.

One challenge is money. At the end of last year, PCCC reported having slightly more than $215,000 on hand, while MoveOn.org had more than $2.3 million. Democracy for America, meanwhile, had just short of $1.4 million through the end of February. Those sums could allow the groups to play in a handful of races but aren't enough to make them a major force in the 2014 elections.

There's also the fact that most of the primary drama in recent House and Senate elections has been on the Republican side.

Still, those involved with the groups say crossing them on entitlements will energize a liberal base that holds Medicare and Social Security programs near and dear. And after last year's redistricting process, many Democratic House members find themselves in districts that become more liberal.

Obama's budget is DOA, but the entitlement reforms he proposes will probably be resurrected later this summer when the debt ceiling talks get serious.

Those few Democratic Senators who are vulnerable next year won't help their chances by voting to change Social Security and Medicare, and will certainly hurt them in any primary that might arise. They fully realize that so I think the liberal groups making these threats probably have little to worry about.

No Democrat is going to get elected because they voted to cut Social Security, but might be defeated if they do. That's a calculus that cries out for caution - something politicians from both parties are experts at.

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