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Rep. Dean Phillips on How the DNC Turns on Members Who Want to Give Voters Choice

Dean Phillips
Created: 19 December, 2023
Updated: 19 January, 2024
2 min read

Former Democratic presidential candidate and Forward Party Co-Founder Andrew Yang sat down with US Rep. Dean Phillips, who announced his presidential campaign in October and seeks to challenge President Joe Biden in the Democratic nomination process.

Much of the conversation centered around Phillips' campaign, but the congressman also talked about the DNC machine and how some prominent members of the party are skirting around running in 2024 because they know how the DNC turns on its own.

Phillips has hit roadblocks early in his campaign. Some state parties have denied him a place on the presidential primary ballot, despite his status as a long-time party member and sitting member of Congress, and have gone after him for challenging Biden's incumbency. 

The DNC has denied challengers a stage to present their case to not only Democrats, but voters in general -- many of whom have expressed a desire for new and different options from what the parties keep giving them.

But it is not just the DNC. While the RNC holds debates and has not canceled primary elections, the 2024 presidential contest is being treated by party leaders, pollsters, and the media like its general election candidates are all but set in stone.

And yet, not a single vote has been cast.

"I did not expect the wait, the antagonism, and frankly the delusion of a party (the Democratic Party) that should be focusing on debate, on competition, and participation," said Phillips. "Instead of promoting those things they are really working against it."

He said there are prominent Democrats like California Governor Gavin Newsom who understand how the DNC works. They understand what it will do if they throw their hat in the ring. So, while they talk about 2028, they won't do anything about 2024.

"The best way to fix [the 2024 primary] would be to join the race," he said. "Not just one, not just two. Let's have three, four, five of us do what you do in a democracy." Phillips is among a growing number of Democrats who believe the DNC needs to embrace new leadership.

He added that he is okay with the fact that his decision has torpedoed his career in Congress due to party backlash because he believes there needs to be choice and competition in the Democratic presidential primary.

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