Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
There are those, this writer among them, who have said that conservatives should pay less attention to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (S-NY 14th District)¹, because it is simply giving her the publicity she craves. It seems like the more sensible Democrats² are worried about it as well. From The Washington Post:
By Michael Scherer and Mike DeBonis | March 1, 2019 | 8:10 PM
From the halls of Congress to the presidential campaign trail, Democratic moderates are beginning to push back against the wave of liberal energy and shoot-the-moon policy ideas that have captured the party’s imagination over the last two months.
They worry that the sweeping proposals and hardball tactics of liberal firebrands could alienate centrist voters in the 2020 election, even as they hold out hope that Democratic primary voters, focused on defeating President Trump, will check the party’s move to the left.
The moderates’ concerns came to a head this week when one of the newest Democratic stars appeared to threaten her colleagues if they did not toe the liberal line, raising the specter of a cleave in the party between moderates and purists similar to a long-standing divide in the Republican Party.
It seems that Niss Ocasio-Cortez has threatened those Democrats who voted along with Republicans to add a provision requiring the applications of illegal immigrants applying to buy weapons to be reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement; enough Democrats voted for that provision to amend the majority’s gun control legislation, which the Democrat-controlled House then passed. For the hard left in the Democratic Party, anything that could be seen as an attack on illegal immigration is anathema, but if you are naïve enough to believe that the gun control legislation will actually reduce illegal firearms usage then you must concomitantly believe that illegal firearms usage among ‘undocumented’ immigrants should also be reduced.
Miss Ocasio-Cortez’s threat? That her Democratic colleagues who voted for the provision might find themselves “on a list” of primary election targets, presumably by the Democratic Socialists of America, the group of which she is a part, and the establishment Democrats don’t have to look too far into the past to note what the TEA Party insurgency did to the Republicans: it won some primaries, and got some of its adherents into Congress, but it also cost the GOP some Senate seats, notably in Missouri, Indiana and Delaware, where establishment Republicans who were favored to win lost primaries to TEA Party candidates who were not ready for the prime time of the general election.³ That Miss Ocasio-Cortez won her House seat following her primary upset over incumbent Joe Crowley was almost guaranteed, due to the heavily Democratic nature of the district; a Democratic Socialist who might upset a ‘Blue Dog’ Democrat in the next primaries might not fare nearly as well in moderate districts.
Less spoken is that some establishment Democrats see Miss Ocasio-Cortez as the left’s version of Donald Trump, blessed with charisma and campaigning, perpetually, with bombast. Mr Trump devastated the Republican establishment, forcing elected Republican officeholders who might not like him much — see: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — to either go along for the ride, or give up their Senate seats without even a fight, as Jeff Flake and Bob Corker did. Miss Ocasio-Cortez cannot run for President in 2020, due to her age, but her bombast is emboldening the actual Democratic candidates, to move further to the left and couch their language in more aggressive terms. Hillary Clinton blamed at least part of her unexpected defeat on “41% of Democrats (being) socialists or self-described socialists,” making her economic policies being more of a hard sell among them, but pandering to the socialist impulses among poorer, less educated and, quite frankly, stupider Democrats costs Democrats votes among the more intelligent members of the party.
Miss Ocasio-Cortez is blessed with charisma, tons of it, much like President Trump. The Democrats running for President? Some have it, some don’t, but none of them are in “AOC’s” league. Like Mr Trump, she sucks the oxygen out of whatever room she’s in, leaving none for anyone else. That’s what the establishment Democrats fear the most, that eventually she could lead the party to victory, but that they’ll be left behind when she does.
Cross-posted on The First Street Journal.
¹ – I have started to identify the self-proclaimed socialists or ‘Democratic Socialists’ with an S, rather than a D for Democrat, because I find it to be absolutely correct.
² – ‘More sensible Democrats’ does not imply that they are actually sensible, just not quite as batguano crazy as the outright socialists.
³ – The TEA Party movement certainly produced some great results, notably Ted Cruz defeating the favored, more establishment candidate Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, and went on to win the general election. Erick Erckson, then of RedState, supported Mr Cruz’s upstart candidacy.