Democrats Must Punch the (Alt) Left - and Hard - To Win

Real Democrats are ready to punch back at the alt-left, and it is making both activists/elected far-left 'leadership' and the faux-left press nervous.

The announcement of the creation of a political action committee led by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the Chair of the House Democratic Conference - and by some accounts the Speaker-in-waiting when Nancy Pelosi retires - aimed at defeating far-left fringe candidates who primary mainstream Democratic incumbents has set off some pretty bad reactions from the far left.

Then came the endorsement by Kingmaker Rep. James Clyburn of Shontel Brown in the special election for Ohio's 11th Congressional district, in which former Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein campaign surrogate Nina Turner is also running. The coalescing of the mainstream Democratic support behind Brown - she's been endorsed by Hillary Clinton, and several members of the Congressional Black Caucus held a fundraiser for her - has, evidently, for the first time raised the prospect of Nina Turner's loss in the minds of her far-left backers who had counted on her national celebrity to carry her to office.
As if the memory of how Clyburn's endorsement of Joe Biden ended Bernie Sanders's White House hopes last year wasn't enough, Brown also landed the endorsement of Marcia Fudge's mother. Fudge, who had held the seat since 2009, joined the Biden-Harris administration in March as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

This coalescing of mainstream national Democratic figures with Brown's deep well of support among local leaders has the far left convulsing with rage. Socialist Twitter - or rose twitter as it is commonly referred to - is awash with comments ripping into the "establishment's" support for Brown, including an invitation by a Turner-supporter for Fudge's mother to "eat [their] entire ass."

But as much as we live in the era of social media influencers, the firebreathing rage doesn't really feel official until someone in the mainstream press does it.

This is why socialists across the board were ecstatic when Turner received the endorsement of Ohio's largest newspaper, Cleveland Plain Dealer. But the people who purport sacrosanct belief in workers' rights and single-payer Medicare for All bristled past the fact that the endorsement hinged on Turner's record of sticking it to the teachers union as a state senator and her current campaign's willingness, for the sake of winning, to deprioritize eliminating health insurance companies. In fact, the Plain Dealer's endorsement places a bet that the Turner who shows up to Congress should she be elected would be one who "moves to the center." Yet, there's not a peep from alt-leftists who view political pragmatists and centrists as their number one archenemies.

But mainstream Democrats, who, after being clobbered in the social media space by the far left for years have now assembled a formidable spontaneous social media response network, quickly pointed out not only those inconvenient facts but also that Turner and her Berniebro network of supporters were touting as their biggest boost yet a Congressional endorsement from a paper that, until very recently, endorsed Jim Jordan for Congress.

The alt-left is very, very hot and bothered that real Democrats are smartening up to their antics and rising up to counter them. Their first experience with real pushback was with supporters of then-presidential candidate Kamala Harris, and the KHive has since continued to be a thorn on the side of Rose Twitter.

This group is one that can dish it out, but it certainly can't take it. No sooner than real opposition had galvanized, they began to scream and pout that the very survival of the Democratic party depends on their ability to tar and feather mainstream Democrats, unchecked.

Take, for example, a column penned by the Washington Post's Digital opinions editor James Downie officializing the alt-left's grievances at the slightest sign of being challenged, particularly in the Brown-Turner race.

Downie, ahistorically and bizarrely, asserts that sloganeering by the alt-left about defunding the police and socialism were not responsible for down-ballot Democratic losses in 2020 despite President Biden's commanding victory over Donald Trump. Quite the opposite, Downie claims, that blunting the momentum of alt-leftists (who have had success in commandeering the word 'progressive') is the higher-risk position from the vantage point of Democratic electoral prospects.

Downie follows a kind of a rabit-hole logic that posits that since few, if any, Democrats ran explicitly on defunding the police or socialism, claims made by the likes of Clyburn that those issues cost Democrats is invalid. Yet, not only did members of the Squad - amplified by the Bernie Sanders campaign - write and support legislation to defund the police, activist PACs backing them and claiming an exclusive right on who can be called a progressive loudly and proudly advocated for police abolition right in the middle of election season.

They can deny it all they want, but it is a documented fact that socialists and far-left candidates, as well as officeholders, did real damage by feeding into the Republican echo chamber that sought to link Democrats, as a party, to the fundamentalist leftist elements of this country. By asserting their radically destructive views, they made it much more difficult for Congressional Democrats to coalesce the public around unifying issues like police reform, building on effective health care reform, vastly expanding access to higher education for poor and middle class families, beating back gun violence, and once and for all, addressing climate change through a green economic revival.

And if mainstream Democrats don't stand up and fight back hard, they will do it again.

The fundamentalist alt-left is as much of a threat to the prospect of Democrats protecting or expanding what are now exceedingly thin majorities in the House and the Senate against the midterm curse that usually stings the president's party as are insurrectionist Republicans.

In fact, disowning and "punching" - as Downie put it - the alt-left must be an essential element of both Democratic governance and Democratic campaigns to convince voters if we are to have any hopes of retaining either house of Congress next year.

Bet on it.

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