Club for Growth
|Hail to the Chief?|
|Persons of interest|
The Club for Growth successfully grows the Democratic Party by clubbing sitting Republican incumbents over the head with primary challenges from the far-right. Congressional seats in states as diverse as Maryland and Idaho have swung to Democratic control after Club for Growth-backed candidates won their Republican primaries. In 2009 an impending primary challenge from a Club for Growth leader drove center-right Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania to switch to the Democrats.
It could be argued that the left-wing of the Democratic Party has its own equivalent of the Club for Growth, in the form of the "better Democrats" campaigns on purity troll sites like Open Left and Daily Kos, which may do for the Democrats what the Club for Growth has done for the Republicans, i.e. drive the sensible center out and leave only the fringes in charge. They have been notably less successful than the Club for Growth, in that they have only managed to flip one seat from Democrat to Independent (Joe Lieberman). Moreover, most of the Democrats doing this focus on left-wing districts with center-left to moderate representatives and Senators, and thus more likely to support a more liberal politician; Club for Growth went after the Senators from Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, two moderate to liberal states that were not going to support a more conservative politician anyway. Oddly, the closest thing the Democrats have to Club to Growth in terms of damage done are the PUMAs, who tried to use Birtherism against Barack Obama, and which would later inspire right-wingers to do the same.
The slogan "New York Times-reading, latte-drinking, National Public Radio-listening, Volvo-driving, body-piercing freak show" comes from a Club for Growth-sponsored ad from 2004. Because trashing coffee and reliable cars are great conservative traits.