By D. Kevin McNeir, Washington Informer Editor
With several Democratic presidential hopefuls bowing out of the race following lackluster results in Iowa and New Hampshire, those who remain have set their sights on scoring big in primary elections or caucuses in Nevada, South Carolina and the delegate-rich “Super Tuesday” showdowns (March 3) in their bid to challenge the Republican incumbent, Donald Trump, for control of the White House and Congress.
But their ultimate success, both in the primaries and General Election, may rest on the ability of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee [DCCC] – the official campaign arm of the Dems in the House – to rack up enough victories in pending or future voting rights litigation awaiting rulings in courtrooms throughout the U.S. so that voters backing the Democratic agenda can cast their ballots free of recent voter suppression tactics fueled by Republican legislators in Congress.
Cheri Bustos, who in her role as DCCC chairwoman, heads what serves as the sole official campaign arm of the Democrats in the House of Representatives, says their mission remains clear: to support Democratic candidates every step of the way, up and down the ballot, in their efforts to both fortify and expand the newly-forged Democratic Majority.
“[We] know that voting is an essential right and that expanding access to ballot is good for our democracy,” she said. “This legal strategy is only more urgent as Republicans have been emboldened by President Trump’s baseless and disproven claims of voter fraud. We are working to remove barriers to the ballot box and throughout the cycle we are going to keep pushing this work forward. That means devoting serious resources to engaging voters, inspiring them and then making sure they turn out to vote in November.”
Bustos notes that when it comes to the litigation, winning ballot access and similarly-related lawsuits which protect early voting days yield positive consequences well beyond the current election cycle of 2020, particularly for Blacks – still disproportionately disenfranchised despite both record-breaking numbers of Blacks elected to Congress and the landmark, two-term victory of Barack Obama as the nation’s first African-American president. Thus, their efforts serve as critical civil rights work with the Democratic party leading the way.
Initiatives Launched to Foster Dems’ Success in 2020
Last Spring, the DCCC unfolded a multi-million dollar program, “March Forward,” which began with 60-plus field organizers in battleground states across the U.S. ahead of November 2020 – the earliest they’ve ever begun to engage Democratic coalitions as they attempt to take grassroots organizing to the next level. Following on the program’s positive results in 2018, field managers receive training in communications, digital, research and field tactics – all aimed toward executing more modern campaign strategies.
Since its inception, March Forward looks bring more Americans, in cities big and small, into the Democratic Party while continuing the DCCC’s heralded “Cycle of Engagement” – a program designed to foster greater voter registration drives within communities of color.
Bustos says March Forward continues to be an important step in the path to solidify and increase the Democratic Majority.
“As Democrats, we’ve always drawn our strength from the people we fight for each and every day… and our first major investment of the 2020 cycle [March Forward] puts boots on the ground in dozens of communities across America,” she said. “Whether it’s tackling the high cost of health care or fighting for fair wages, we believe in an America where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.”
As an example of their hard work, the DCCC recently celebrated a legislative victory in South Carolina, just ahead of the upcoming State primary, which opens access to the ballot for nearly one million unregistered voters, 400,000 of whom they estimate to be people of color.
A spokesperson for the DCCC said the next several weeks should be viewed as crucial in the organization’s year-long efforts to both solidify and increase the Democratic Party’s base of voters of color.
Late last month, Bustos, along with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and DCCC General Counsel Marc Elias, held a press conference during which they highlighted a legislative victory that should be celebrated by all Americans.
A collaborative effort initiated by the South Carolina Democratic Party and the DCCC recently led to the elimination of South Carolina’s requirement – one which they deemed as unconstitutional – that potential voters provide their full nine-digit Social Security number when registering to vote.
The lawsuit served as part of an eight-figure investment from the DCCC and DSCC in their collective battle to fight voter suppression laws across the country.