If establishment Democrats thought they were going to go coast after a possible Joe Biden victory, which notably hasn’t actually happened yet, they may want to think again. The radical left-wing base they coddled for years isn’t going quietly. They feel entitled, and they are going to get their pound of flesh, or at least they are going to try to get it.
Enter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (but don’t you dare call her AOC), who has decided that she’s not going to wait for the next president to be sworn in before starting the next stages of her political revolution. Today’s target was Sen. Joe Manchin, one of the last blue dog Democrats left. His crime? That he dared to suggest a crazy, socialist agenda was bad news for his party.
Defund the police? Defund, my butt. I'm a proud West Virginia Democrat. We are the party of working men and women. We want to protect Americans' jobs & healthcare. We do not have some crazy socialist agenda, and we do not believe in defunding the police. https://t.co/EIFHX5OQ37
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) November 11, 2020
That comment came among a broader assertion by Manchin that he would not be the tie-breaking vote to kill the filibuster in the Senate. While it’d be nice if he were really just speaking out of principle and preserving norms, the more likely reason Manchin is saying this is to try to help the two Democrats in run-offs in Georgia. If the West Virginia politician says he won’t blow up the filibuster, then that theoretically lowers the stakes of a 50-50 Senate. The goal here being to make electing two radical Democrats in these run-offs not so scary. To be frank, no one is buying this.
But AOC has never been one to understand basic political strategy. That lead her to respond in typical fashion.
— The Hill (@thehill) November 12, 2020
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 12, 2020
Anti-Semitic Rep. Rashida Tlaib also chimed in via the above article at The Hill.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), another member of “the Squad” of progressive congresswomen of color, expressed similar sentiments, noting that her constituents were key to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Michigan.
“We’re not going to be successful if we’re silencing districts like mine,” Tlaib told Politico this week. “Me not being able to speak on behalf of many of my neighbors right now, many of which are Black neighbors, means me being silenced. I can’t be silent.”
Meanwhile, Politico put out a less than glowing review of AOC’s latest antics. These are the kinds of pieces that get written when the party leadership is unhappy.
Ocasio-Cortez, on some occasions, counts as one of the party’s freshest and most-appealing new voices. Her sour interview Saturday with the Times’ Astead W. Herndon was not one of these occasions. She said moderate lawmakers who blamed the left for losing their seats or having uncomfortably close calls have only themselves to blame for being “sitting ducks.” She plausibly asserted that she knows a lot more than most members about effective use of social media. She implausibly suggested that if more members had used Facebook effectively, and accepted her help when she was practically begging to give it, the Democrats could have avoidedthe losses which leave Pelosi clinging to a narrow majority. “Every single [member] that rejected my help is losing,” she complained, “and now they’re blaming us for the loss.” She gets so frustrated by the lack of support from fellow Democrats, she said, that she considered not running for reelection.
The problem for Democrats is simple. Their rabid left-wingers play really well in heavily blue urban areas. They go over a turd in a punch bowl in more moderate, suburban districts. Put that together and you get all the “surprise” losses in the House this year among the more middle of the road part of the Democrat caucus. AOC isn’t content to just play the long game, building stronger majorities and retaking the Senate. Instead, she wants “change” and she wants it now. That the change she wants is impossible with the current political makeup seems to not even dawn on her as she continues to try to build her brand. Perhaps what this is really about? While many peg her as just stupid, it’s possible she’s really just this cynical and self-absorbed. Either way, it’s not going to help the Democrats heading into 2022, where the GOP are now favored to retake the House and expand their lead in the Senate.
What does Nancy Pelosi do now? Does she tamp this down? I don’t think she can. She made a deal with the devil and those wanting to de-fund the police and end the oil industry want their payment. That’s going to lead to lots of angst once it becomes clear Pelosi can’t deliver. If Republicans do indeed retake all of Congress in 2022, the civil war will only get hotter.
Democrats can’t say they weren’t warned though. They made this bed, and now they get to lie in it.
(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)