For years, Republicans have been predicting that Nancy Pelosi’s embrace of the so-called “squad” would lead to a political backlash, and that backlash appears to have arrived. Democrats are now lamenting the fact that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, and Ayanna Pressley have been allowed to define their party at such a high level.
From the Green New Deal to the “defund the police” movement, Democrat radicalism is becoming a major liability heading into the midterms, per Axios.
🚨 🚨 Squad politics backfire: The push to defund the police, rename schools and tear down statues has created a significant obstacle to Democrats keeping control of the House, the Senate and the party’s overall image. https://t.co/83JgBoO0Fm
— Jim VandeHei (@JimVandeHei) February 18, 2022
The hard-left politics of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and the so-called “Squad,” once a dominant theme for vast numbers of elected Democrats, is backfiring big-time on the party in power, top Democrats tell us.
Why it matters: The push to defund the police, rename schools and tear down statues has created a significant obstacle to Democrats keeping control of the House, the Senate and the party’s overall image.
“It’s what we’ve been screaming about for a year,” said Matt Bennett, co-founder of center-left Third Way, which launched Shield PAC to defend moderate Democrats.
Democrats certainly can’t claim they weren’t warned that this would happen. Going back to 2019, the first year “the squad” existed in office (Cori Bush didn’t come along until 2021), Joe Cunningham penned a piece here at RedState discussing how Nancy Pelosi was losing control of her party and what the consequences of that would be. In early 2020, Jeff Charles published an article discussing AOC’s Marxist ideology and how it would spread among Democrats. More recently, in a theme I’ve repeated many times, I noted that had Pelosi missed her opportunity to rein in AOC and her radical allies.
Yet, politics does ultimately come down to political influence. That means a politician who doesn’t actually do anything can hold great power over the rest of their party. AOC may not be the smartest tool in the shed, but she has a group of people around her who have expertly built up her brand and are now taking advantage of it. Pelosi had a chance to put AOC in her place early on. Instead, Pelosi stroked the young member’s ego, appeared on magazine covers with her, and insisted she was the future. That can’t all be put back in the bottle now.
AOC is the future of the Democrat party, not the whatever “moderate” members Pelosi wants to try to prop up. Congrats?
Now, those chickens are coming home to roost, and there’s nothing the Democrat Party can do about it. AOC was just in Texas, of all places, spreading her socialist message and whipping Democrat base voters into a frenzy. She’s not going to fade into the background ,and neither are Omar, Tlaib, and the rest. The time to put constraints on them was early in 2019 when it became clear “the squad” had every intention of gaining major influence over their party’s direction. Instead, they were promoted as the future — at the expense of far more palatable moderates who were also swept into power after the 2018 election.
If Pelosi or anyone else attempts to marginalize “the squad” now, internal divisions will eat the Democrat Party alive, something its leadership obviously wants to avoid, with 2022 already looking like a bloodbath for the left. This was all so predictable, though. Were Democrat leaders really under the impression they could control the monster they chose to create for short-term political gain? And even that political gain is questionable in its value.
Yes, embracing AOC and her cohorts earned headlines, but I’m struggling to see any evidence it actually helped expand the voting base of the Democrat Party. If anything, it appears a major contraction is now underway. And while that’s no doubt linked to Joe Biden’s failures, the radicalism of the party at large is the other part of the equation. Who could have guessed giving voice to quasi-communists would have negative political consequences?
Unfortunately for the concerned Democrats cited by Axios, the horse is out of the barn, and there’s no getting it back in. That makes all the hand-wringing about needing to change messaging rather pointless. The message is already set, and “the squad” set it.
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