A divided party: Progressives threaten Democratic lawmakers

MoveOn.org is sending out emails today seeking more contributions for its campaign to defeat any Democratic senator who does not fully  support Obamacare. Yesterday the left-wing activist group asked members to contribute “to a primary challenge against any Democratic senator who helps Republicans block an up-or-down vote on health care reform.” Today, MoveOn reports that it has received $2 million in pledges in less than 24 hours. “It's a clear sign of how angry progressives would be at any Democrat who helps filibuster reform,” MoveOn executive director Justin Ruben writes in the new email.

“The larger the war chest we can offer a potential challenger, the stronger the signal we'll send to conservative Democrats,” Ruben continues. “So we're setting a huge new goal: $3 million in total pledges by the end of the week. That's plenty to launch a serious primary challenge.”

MoveOn is already planning radio ads targeting Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln over the health care issue.

MoveOn's new campaign comes amid much discussion in the political world of divisions among Republicans, with many analysts reading the presence of third-party candidates in New York's 23rd District and in New Jersey, and coming primary battles in Florida and elsewhere, as proof of deep, and perhaps disastrous, divisions inside the GOP. One publication recently dubbed it a “nightmare scenario” for Republicans. But MoveOn's new threat of primary attacks on Democratic lawmakers suggests that the story might be a bit one-sided. Democrats who stray from progressive orthodoxy might be in for big trouble — and the divisions inside the Democratic party might be just as big a deal as the problems inside the GOP.
 

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