Desperate Dems forming a circular firing squad as House of Representatives polling worsens

In a normal political year, being chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) would be a political plum, but in 2022, it is more like being the captain of the Titanic.  And the "passengers" (Democrats in the House seeking re-election) are starting to grumble that the captain is commandeering his own lifeboat.

That's roughly the situation facing Sean Patrick Maloney, chairman of the DCCC, which allocates party funds to incumbents seeking re-election.  Polling voters on their support for a generic Democrat running against a Republican yields horrific results for Dems.

In a normal year, Dems have an advantage in the generic polling, even in years where Republicans are able to earn a House majority.  To be down 8 points five months before an election predicts a bloodbath.  That's an uncomfortable position for the head of the DCCC, to say the least.  But in the case of SPM, it is far worse, because the court-imposed redistricting plan for New York's 26 congressional districts has added Republican and independent voters to his own district, making it "competitive."

In a year with an 8-point GOP generic ballot preference, this means that a Democrat incumbent faces a high chance of losing his seat.  

But instead of using his own peril as a motivating factor, telling rest of the beleaguered Democrats to follow him into battle no matter what the odds, Rep. Maloney has decided to move to another safer district, New York 17.  The only problem: a Democrat already represents NY-17, and he is a lefty and...Black.

Politico explains:

House Democrats could find themselves picking sides in a deeply uncomfortable primary this summer: their campaign chair versus a Black freshman. And a growing swath of the caucus is blaming its midterm chief, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, for the predicament.

Maloney's decision to abandon a newly redrawn version of his current swing district — and instead run for a seat that includes most of Rep. Mondaire Jones' turf — is raising private concerns from across the party that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chief has put himself in an inappropriate scenario: leading the party's midterm strategy while potentially battling a fellow member.

There is an escape hatch for Jones, if he wishes to use it, but there is a problem:

While the map is not final and Jones hasn't yet said whether he'll take on Maloney, his other option if New York's current maps hold is challenging Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), another Black progressive freshman. Many of his colleagues are now bracing for the prospect of a freshman being forced to go up against the member who controls the party's campaign coffers — a scenario they describe as completely avoidable.

Either way, there's an intra-party battle, but it is a question whether two Black progs are the scorpions in the bottle, or whether an influential White guy takes on the younger, greener, more leftist representative to save his own skin.  It's not a good look either way.

At least a dozen members, mostly from swing districts, are even raising the prospect of trying to depose Maloney from his post as DCCC chair, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions. Several are so determined that they have sent messages to members of leadership, including Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), making a doomed push for Maloney to step down. (snip)

"You cannot have the chair of the DCCC involved in a Democratic primary with an incumbent colleague and expect that person to remain objective about their No. 1 job, which is incumbent protection," said Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York, who is retiring this year and has been outspoken at times in critiquing her party's leaders.

Rice can speak out because she is retiring and doesn't need SPM to allocate funds to her campaign.  But you can be certain that plenty of others are keeping their mouths shut as they seethe over his self-preservation instinct pushing a younger, leftier Person of Color out of his way.

Left versus far left, White versus Black: these are fault lines that tend to make Democrats hate each other.  A party riven by such tensions is in no shape to come up with an appeal to voters that is convincing.

A reckoning is visible ahead, just like that iceberg ahead of the Titanic.


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