To the casual observer, it might have looked like the Democratic Party was sitting pretty at the moment, having just won the majority in the House in 2018 and with a large field of candidates engaged in a spirited debate to see who would take on the mutually-despised President Donald Trump in 2020.
But it has been surmised by some that the Democrat Party’s inordinate obsession with “diversity” and identity politics would eventually come back to haunt it by forcing an internal reckoning on those issues — and based on the massive upheaval that just occurred within the top leadership ranks at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), that appears to be exactly what happened.
Top staffers out
Politico reported in the past about growing dissension among some Democratic lawmakers — particularly in the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucuses — about the lack of diversity among the top tier of leaders and staffers at the DCCC, meaning there were too many white faces and not enough that were black and brown.
That dissension boiled over this past weekend and resulted in a “spirited and pointed” meeting on Monday that lasted nearly two hours and included the unexpected resignation of the group’s executive director, Allison Jaslow, who had been a close ally of DCCC chair Cheri Bustos, a representative from Illinois who has faced plenty of criticism of her own for failing to fulfill a number of promises.
Following the meeting and Jaslow’s sudden — and reportedly tearful — resignation from the DCCC, several other senior staffers also tendered their resignations from the organization that is focused on winning and maintaining a Democratic majority in the House.
The top staffers who exited the DCCC included: Communications Director Jared Smith, top communications aide Melissa Miller, Political Director Molly Ritner, Deputy Executive Director Nick Pancrazio, and Director of Diversity Van Ornelas.
Rebuilding process for DCCC
“Today has been a sobering day filled with tough conversations that too often we avoid,” Bustos said, according to Politico. “But I can say confidently that we are taking the first steps toward putting the DCCC back on path to protect and expand our majority, with a staff that truly reflects the diversity of our Democratic caucus and our party.”
An interim executive director — Jacqui Newman — has already been named, and other staffers have scrambled to cover or fill the now-vacant senior staff slots while a “national and open search” is conducted to find permanent replacements, a task made somewhat more difficult given the ongoing 2020 campaign season and the fact that much of the top “talent” among Democratic staffers and advisers has already committed themselves to the various presidential campaigns.
“Complete chaos” ahead of shakeup
The Hill reported that the DCCC led by Bustos had already been described as being in “complete chaos” prior to the sudden shakeup, which undoubtedly only made the chaotic situation even worse, as was made clear by the remarks of anonymous Democratic lawmakers who were disturbed by what had taken place.
“It’s the Monday Night Massacre at DCCC,” one lawmaker said. “Cheri campaigned as all things to all people, telling (moderate) Blue Dogs one thing, telling progressives another. So inevitably once in office she would disappoint them.”
Another House Democrat argued that now isn’t the time for this sort of talk.
“The idea of all DCCC staff sitting around for hours on Friday and again today to talk about this internal s*** enrages me… Shut the f*** up about your feelings and just focus on winning,” they said. “You know how NRCC [National Republican Congressional Committee] spent their day Friday and today? Not sitting around talking about diversity and their feelings.”