Episode 5: When the Democratic Party Supports White Male Power

(Transcript, web links & credits below)

It’s Thursday, April 4 th and today I have a story to tell you about an egregious abuse of power. No, it’s not from Donald Trump, while those stories are indeed plentiful, they are already being

widely told. This story is about a horrible new policy from the Democratic Party designed to keep candidates of color from challenging powerful white male incumbents in Congress – which

is exactly what Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley each did in 2018. I’m going to unpack this new policy and for the very first time I’m going to give us all a few action steps we can take right away. I’m here to skip past the BS and tell you what you need to hear with the color, nuance, context, and passion that our news deserves. Every day I hope to tell you the stories that simply aren’t being told anywhere else. This is Shaun King and you are listening to (THE BREAKDOWN)


I don’t know about you, but the new Democratic Congress has actually encouraged me. And I say that has someone who has a serious side-eye for the Democratic Party – they habitually over-promise and under-deliver. But I am particularly excited about some of courageous new voices in the House right now. Right away I am thinking of course of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Ro Khanna, Rashida Tlaib, and others. They are different. First and foremost, they were each voted in to Congress because the voters in their districts expected them to be different, to be bold, to speak truth to power. And they’ve each done that right out of the gate. Alexandria, Ilhan, Ayanna, Ro, and Rashida speak truth to power every single day. They challenge injustice. They don’t hold their tongues. They propose brilliant, bold, substantive solutions to problems. They all have two feet on the ground, and are fully connected to everyday people, but also are imaginative dreamers who refuse to accept the status quo. They have big ideas, big visions, but also explain how they’ll be paid for and what implementation looks like. I love it. And I’ll tell you what, young people across the country love it. They are more engaged in the political process than ever before, in great part because of those men and women. They believe in them and I believe in them. And what we have seen is that instead of fully embracing them, instead of fully celebrating them, the Democratic Party, for the first time in the history of the party, has just announced a very troubling new policy. And I have to shine a light on this policy because its potential impact is stifling. And what I really you to understand is something that I just didn’t know until I started advising and managing political campaigns myself. Over the past two years I’ve advised or even helped to directly manage nearly 15 different political campaigns across the country. And what I’ve learned is that cities, counties, states, and political parties can create policies that either make grassroots campaigns enormously difficult – I mean nearly impossible – or they can create policies and systems that genuinely create a fair playing field for any citizen in our nation to run. And today I need to tell you about the DCCC – sometimes it’s called the D – Triple C – and that stands for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. I need to tell you about the D-Triple C and a destructive new policy they just announced. They tried to slip it into a larger document, and in a different time, that might’ve worked, but people caught on to this real quick.

(BREAK IT DOWN – DJ Scratches)

In 2018 two particularly badass women decided that they weren’t going to wait their turn to run for Congress. They weren’t going to wait for permission. They weren’t going to wait for a golden ticket or a special invitation – and when they stepped up, each of them, to challenge older white men who had been in office for a generation – the establishment was pissed from the very beginning. I’m talking about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – who challenged Congressman Joe Crowley in New York and Ayanna Pressley – who challenged Congressman Mike Capuano (Cap-yoo-ON-oh) in Boston. At first, Joe and Mike seemed to dismiss Alexandria and Ayanaa. Both men had grown so comfortable that they weren’t even used to having challengers. But Alexandria and Ayanna were as serious as a heart attack from Day 1. And they each out-organized and out-hustled their opponents. They knocked on more doors. They held more town halls. They won the debates. And they offered better visions that resonated with more voters. Alexandria literally walked and campaigned until her shoes had holes in them. And she won. And when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won, defeating Joe Crowley, she defeated the 4 th highest ranking Democrat in the House. And let me tell you – it shook up Washington, it shook up the establishment, and it shook up the Democratic Party. When Ayanna Pressley won, she defeated a Democratic congressman that had held that seat since he was elected in 1998. He was the ranking member on several c committees. And when she beat him, again, the establishment was pissed. And in an instant, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress and Ayanna Pressley became the first Black woman ever elected to Congress from the entire state of Massachusetts. You’ll hear me say this a lot, but it’s hard to know a moment in history when you are in it, but

the elections of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley were historic. They were ground-breaking. And then, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee just announced a new policy meant to penalize anyone who even works with candidates like Alexandria & Ayanna. Here’s the policy. To work with the D-Triple C, as a contractor, as a service provider, as a

consultant, as a fundraiser, as a strategist, you have to agree to their brand new terms of service, and guess what the terms say:

The terms say this: If you want to do any business with the D Triple C, you must agree that you will not work with or advise any candidates who may be challenging incumbents. And if you do

work with those candidates, you will be blacklisted and will no longer be able to work with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. And let’s be clear – The Democratic Party is the oldest political party in the United States. It’s 227 years old. And for 227 years, they never had this policy banning contractors or partners or strategists from working with people who challenge incumbents. Then, after 227 years, two women of color defeat two well established white men, and NOW, after all of these years, you need this policy? This policy is a direct response to the elections of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley. Period. And they’ve both spoken out about it. In fact, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez took it a step further, she just tweeted to all of her

nearly 4 million followers on Twitter that she wanted them to pull their donations from the D-Triple C and instead give them directly to the candidates who needed the donations the most. That was a bold power move from her. And it was warranted. It’s fundamentally and categorically wrong for the primary gatekeeper of the Democrats in the House to create such a list. What is ultimately going to happen is this: The overwhelming majority of contractors and consultants and strategists who need to sign this D Triple C contractor agreement are now going to be barred from working with candidates like Alexandria and Ayanna. The policy is not just racist and sexist – it’s a naked power grab designed to keep new people out of Congress and keep the old established members in. We must all reject it.

And today, for the very first time, we are going to introduce a series of actions that each of you can take to show the D-Triple-C how you feel about this new policy. They are digging in their heels, but we need to show them how everyday people all over the country and around the world feel about what they are trying to do. Today’s action – and listen – you can take this action if you listen the day we launch this episode or if it’s weeks or months later – today’s actions are timeless. We will also post these in our show notes at TheNorthStar.com, but I’ll spell these out for you

very clearly here, too ok? And we’re going to take actions like this often. Again, we’re not just here to change the news, we’re here to change the world.

  1. I need you to make a phone call, ok? I need you to call the DCCC, and in your own words, let them know why this policy bothers you. Be respectful. But let them know that you disagree with this approach and tell them why. Here’s their number: 202.863.1500. And I’m not going to give you a script because I want this to come from the heart. Let them know that you are firmly against their new policy of banning contractors who work with candidates like Alexandria and Ayanna – and that you want to see more Alexandria’s and Ayanna’s.

  2. I need you to go to https://dccc.org/contact/ and send the staff there and a real email. Use your real name and give them your real honest thoughts about this policy. Start a conversation. But keep it honest with them.

  3. Then lastly, I want you to pick a current Congressperson that you love and respect and give to their campaign. I won’t even tell you which one to support today, but I need you to understand that they need our support. Google it. Go to the personal websites or campaign websites and you’ll see the links. Later we’ll create some specific ways for you to support specific candidates, but today we want you to find your favorite and take that leap. But today, let’s take these three steps. And let me tell you what I’ve learned. These steps, which the public will never see, they work. I’ve taken them before. I’ve had teams of hundreds of thousands of people take them. And they make an impact. Let’s try them out and let the D-Triple C know how we feel, ok?


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Produced by Willis Polk II

Additional Instrumentation by: Christian Idris “Idrys” Shannon, Lance "Lance Fury" Powlis & Markeith Black

Additional Engineering by Amond “AJ” Jackson for Salem Psalms Library

Additional Vocals by Garnett “Natti” Bush

Scratches by Kenny “DJ FlipFlop” Vanderberg