Rich has a good post up arguing that Democrats shouldn’t primary Tim Holden in the new 17th District. There are a number of persuasive points here, but my bottom line is that Blue Dog Democrats should always face primaries. In my view, a primary is almost always preferable to no primary, because it makes for more competitive politics. We need more choices in the political market, not fewer. If Tim Holden is really the best fit for the district, he’ll win. If Democratic primary voters like his opponent better, he’ll lose. But in every election, I think people should have a clear choice in the primary and again in the general.
The problem with the Democratic Party in the Obama era is that the leadership acts like they’re more afraid of losing general elections to Republicans than losing primaries to progressives.
Almost everything the party did wrong the past 3 years can be attributed to Democrats in Congress failing to get to the left of Obama. On issue after issue, Obama’s pre-compromised position became the left anchor of the debate, and then things got steadily shittier as they got closer to passage. I am getting real tired of that!
I want a House that gets out on Obama’s left in his second term and makes his campaign positions look like the moderate centrist positions.
The only way that can happen is to make sure every Dem seat is held by the most progressive candidate who can win in that district. And the only way to do that is with more primaries. If Rich thinks that a Blue Dog like Holden is the most liberal guy that can get elected in the new 17th, I don’t necessarily disagree, but we should find out with a competitive primary in 2014.