I can’t believe that headline needs to be written but let’s cut to the chase: during the primaries, the House Democratic Central Campaign Committee meddled in some of the closest congressional races around the country by spending about $400,000 on ads supporting right-wing, Trump-aligned 2020 election-denying, pseudo-fascist extremist Republicans.
This is unbelievably bad judgment and here are three reasons why.
1. It further mainstreams what should be fringe beliefs.
Candidates who deny that the 2020 election results were false, those committed to the whims of a crazed reality television star in order to have a bit role in the reality television series that is contemporary American political theater deserve reality television punishment and ostracism: rotten vegetables thrown at them everywhere they go, a box of tarantulas falling on their heads every time they get on a microphone, locked in glass coffin away from the rest of America until they emerge to vote in the upcoming Eviction Ceremony.
All that to say, there are certain political beliefs that should remain on the fringes of political discourse. Denying valid election results is one of them. And every dollar spent to support these clowns, keeps the ideas alive.
2. It’s a phenomenal waste of resources.
The best case scenario for the HDCCC spending money on a Republican is that a Democrat wins this singular election. Even assuming that this is a guarantee (which it isn’t), the day after Election Day those resources offer no returns.
There’s a smarter way to spend money. The DCCC could invest $400,000 in its base. It could grow the party. I’ve been beating this drum for a long time, but there are rural and exurban congressional districts all around the country that have absolutely no Democratic infrastructure to speak of.
Every two years, for a three- to six-month window, millions of dollars are dumped into consultants and ad buys. And in those places where Democratic decision-makers don’t live, things stay more or less the same. $400,000 spent on four districts between now and 2024 could flip those districts for a generation. But it requires paying organizers with relationships—most often Black and brown—and being accountable to the communities they come from and represent—again, most often Black and brown.
3. It undermines democracy.
Let’s ignore the precarious ethical and existential democratic implications of doing something as stupid as supporting your opponents.
To support your opponents in a democracy is to break the rules of democracy, and you know what else is breaking the rules of democracy? Disenfranchising voters for, say, their race or gender. This system of governance only works if we all agree to participate in it. It requires earnestness and a great deal of faith. The more cynicism you pour into it, the more broken it becomes. It’s that simple.
If you don’t think you can win a campaign on the grounds of your best argument, trusted messengers and amazing organizing, you shouldn’t be running for office.