Powerful House Democrat Knocked off in Primary by an AOC Clone

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP featured image
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., talks to reporters as before he meets with fellow House Democrats at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A sixteen-term House Democrat and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee lost his primary election to a middle-school principle (that’s prima facie evidence that he’s a totalitarian right there) and AOC clone.

Jamaal Bowman has scored a stunning victory over Representative Eliot L. Engel of New York in a Democratic primary, defeating the 16-term incumbent and overcoming the efforts of the Democratic establishment in a profound show of progressive political power.

Mr. Bowman, a middle school principal from Yonkers, was declared the winner on Friday, after a count of absentee ballots verified what seemed clear on Primary Night, when he emerged with a commanding lead over Mr. Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The victory came with the help of an array of stars from the Democratic Party’s left wing, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

As a first-time candidate with a fiery anti-establishment message, Mr. Bowman’s victory has echoes of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s own stunning win in 2018 over another entrenched incumbent in New York, Representative Joseph Crowley, then the No. 4 Democrat in the House.


A lot is going on here. Engel is an old-school machine pol who seemed to think that showing up was good enough. Increasingly, it isn’t. This video is Engel showing up at a Black Lives Matter rally and begging to speak:

While Engel brought pudding, Dulcolax, and a BarcaLounger to the fight, Bowman brought fire and energy. Mind you, it is the kind of fire and energy that turned Venezuela into an unlivable sh**hole, but it was more than Engel had to offer. Engel outraised and outspent Bowman, but only 2% of Engel’s donations were from small donors while 44% of Bowman’s were. Engel’s unique selling proposition was ‘seniority counts.’ Not as powerful as Hillary Clinton’s first slogan, ‘It’s Her Turn,’ but damned close.


There is a lesson here for politicians everywhere. The day of showing up as the incumbent and boat-racing your opponent may be drawing to a close. In a lot of ways, this election is very close to a replay of the Eric Cantor loss in 2014.

The second lesson learned is just what kind of a dog’s breakfast vote-by-mail is. The primary was held on June 23. It has taken nearly a month to count all the votes. That is absolutely insane. You can bet the Democrats will try to inflict this idiocy on the nation in November…thank you, Dr. Fauci, for your role in unraveling the republic…and we need to fight it tooth and nail.


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