Ms. Pritchard, a former Democratic Party official, runs a political consulting firm called AP Campaigns. In 2018, she worked on the congressional campaign for Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
Over the next few months, candidates across the country will file papers so they can run for Congress. But we’ll never know how many talented women and people of color sit out, discouraged by a rule the House Democrats imposed in March that prohibits anyone working to oust an incumbent from doing business with the party.
The rule was meant to protect the Democrats’ fragile House majority, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee claims. But everyone knows the real reason. When Representatives Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York unseated popular, well-established male members of the Democratic caucus in 2018, it angered party insiders, beholden to corporate and special interests who are threatened by candidates like them.
In my 30-plus years of working in politics, I have never seen a more anti-democratic policy from my party. It even requires vendors to sign a loyalty oath. In June, I made a difficult personal decision to publicly oppose it. I knew the rule would harm women and people of color whose route to Congress is often only by challenging incumbents in blue districts who are out of step with voters. And I knew it would damage less established consultants who work on those races.
Afterward, I was flooded with hundreds of calls, texts, emails and social media posts. The public responses were all supportive, but the private ones were alarming. I heard stories from people who were terrified that signing — or not signing — would have a negative impact on their businesses, campaigns and values.