I spent some time last week with Alex Morse, the 30-year-old mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, who has just announced his primary challenge to Ways and Means Chair Richie Neal, 70, the most corporate of congressional Democrats.
Neal’s constituents in western Massachusetts are rather more liberal than he is. Morse has gained national attention for running his own home-grown Green New Deal in the depressed factory town that he has governed since first winning the election at age 22.
This will be one of at least a dozen such challenges in 2020 that stand a decent chance of succeeding. Justice Democrats, the group that recruited AOC, has already announced endorsements of six challengers to incumbent Democratic members of the House.
Some of this is salutary. But if a hundred insurgents and incumbents are competing to raise money, organizer volunteers, and take down each other, Democrat against Democrat, in the most important election year of our lifetimes, that’s not so good.
One other useful bit of collateral damage is that these races could force the House Democrats’ fundraising arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to mend its ways. The DCCC has been notorious for backing corporate Democrats over progressives.
I did a deep dive into all of this. Here’s my full story.