Mangled Meaning

Both D.D. Guttenplan [“Texas Showdown,” June 4/11] and Robert L. Borosage [“Why Primary Fights Are Good for the Democratic Party,” May 11, The] mischaracterize my April 23 article in The Daily Beast urging Democrats to avoid ripping each other apart or wasting money on distractions (e.g., Cynthia Nixon’s gubernatorial campaign) when protecting democracy demands a laser-like focus on winning back the House.

Contrary to Guttenplan’s critique, I never supported nominating “Rahm clones,” and I didn’t mention, much less back, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s ham-handed (and unsuccessful) effort to drive Laura Moser from a House race in Texas. I did write about a potentially serious problem in certain California congressional districts, where too many Democratic primary candidates might split the vote and allow Republicans to finish first and second in the state’s “top two” primary, squandering a chance to pick up seats there. Efforts to convince long-shot Democrats to drop out instead of being spoilers should be applauded.

Borosage writes that “energy and money in politics are a function of excitement and interest.” That’s true of energy—a critical ingredient in driving turnout and winning elections—but not necessarily of money. If progressive candidates can raise lots of small-donor money—as Beto O’Rourke is doing in Texas—that’s fantastic. But if they can’t, and a more moderate (but still progressive) candidate can attract big donors and help flip 24 seats, they should get the support of even those Democrats who don’t love everything about their politics. The sad reality is that, in House races, challengers must be financially competitive to beat incumbents. This year, when the Koch brothers’ network is pouring $400 million into state and local races, that requires large amounts of Democratic money.

“Money isn’t everything,” I wrote. Democrats need a strong progressive economic agenda to win. But this year, they don’t have the luxury of imposing litmus tests on their candidates. The stakes are too high.

Jonathan Alter
montclair, n.j.

Border Cruelty

I just recently noticed your magazine in my local library and borrowed three issues. One story in particular haunts me: “For Trump, Cruelty Is the Point,” by Julianne Hing [April 9]. I am ashamed that my country’s leaders would conceive of such a cruel idea: separating migrant children from their parents at the border. I cannot imagine the trauma these parents and kids endured at separation, and will continue to endure for as long as they remain separated.

We must continue to speak out and fight against this shameful policy until it is reversed! I ask you and your staff to commit to covering this story for as long as it takes. We cannot let this immigration policy go unchallenged. We have to commit to resistance.

Nancy Thorsen
fairfield township, ohio