October 13, 2015

House Democrats To Liberal Allies: Stop Attacking Us!

As Congress gears up to take a vote on President Obama’s historic trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, House Democrats are desperately hoping to avoid the intra-party squabbles they endured this summer, when traditional allies bombarded them with attack ads and publicly pressured them to oppose the deal.

Democratic members of Congress are asking labor unions and liberal groups to “stop the fratricide” and are calling the groups’ attacks against them “misguided” as they try to add numbers to their historically low House conference.

On the other hand, unions and liberal groups have doubled down on their opposition to Democrats who support the deal. During the summer’s trade battles, the AFL-CIO ran ads against Democratic House members and cut off funding for the Democrats’ campaign arm, the DCCC. The Government Affairs Director of the union even said certain Democrats had “burned bridges” by voting against the activists who got them elected.

The liberal group Democracy For America has been particularly harsh in its criticism of pro-trade Democrats:

DFA’s Chairman Jim Dean said of this summer’s trade vote: “We will not lift a finger or raise a penny to protect you when you’re attacked in 2016, we will encourage our progressive allies to join us in leaving you to rot, and we will actively search for opportunities to primary you with a real Democrat.”

DFA Communications Director Neil Sroka: “It’s absolutely absurd to ask anyone who cares about income inequality… to ignore a very clear betrayal like this vote for fast-track authority… They’re living in a fantasyland if they think organizations like ours are just going to ignore these votes.”

Sroka: “Demo­crats would be best served by vot­ing like Demo­crats and ac­tu­ally stand­ing up and fight­ing for work­ing fam­il­ies.”

Sroka: “If Democrats fail to retake the House, they need to seriously look at [trade] as one of the reasons they failed to do it. … If Ami Bera is defeated, it’s not because progressives didn’t stand up and defend Ami Bera. It’s because Ami Bera took a vote that makes it impossible for anyone who cares for working families in this country to support him.”