Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York appeared to warn Sunday that Democrats could be heading for a 1980s Reagan-style drubbing at the hands of President Donald Trump in November, if they do not wake up.
AOC spent several minutes of her remarks at a Bernie Sanders rally in Ann Arbor, Michigan, ahead of the state’s primary Tuesday, discussing the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s decision to endorse the Vermont senator over the weekend.
Ocasio-Cortez lauded Jackson for being ahead of his time in arguing for the “economic justice” causes Sanders now champions.
She went on to draw parallels between Jackson’s attempt to build a coalition to defeat Reagan in the 1980s and Sanders’ and the Democrats’ push to win against Trump.
“In 1984, Reverent Jackson delivered a speech, known as the ‘David and Goliath speech,’” Ocasio-Cortez told the rally crowd.
“Now, listen to this, this was his analysis back then in 1984 that Reagan won, not by genius, he won while we were asleep,” she continued.
“‘He won by the margin of despair,'” AOC said. “‘He won by the fracture of our coalition, by the margin of racial division. He won by default.’ Does that sound familiar, Michigan?”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “This was [Rev. Jesse Jackson’s] analysis back then in 1984 that Reagan won not by genius, he won while we were asleep… Does that sound familiar?” pic.twitter.com/7NxO67VeaV
— The Hill (@thehill) March 9, 2020
It was a clear reference to Trump’s victory in 2016 and appeared to be a warning that just like Reagan in the 1980s, the current president could prevail again this fall.
Jackson — in his January 1984 “David and Goliath speech” at the Tendley Baptist Church in Philadelphia — argued that Reagan’s blowout win against Jimmy Carter in 1980 was due to Democratic apathy and the Republican nominee fostering racial division.
Jackson’s is a common refrain. For decades, Democrats have been calling Republicans racists, particularly Republican presidents, though the GOP’s record on promoting racial equality is strong.
Ocasio-Cortez, reminiscent of Jackson’s old charges, called Reagan a racist last spring.
For the record, African-Americans overall saw major economic advances under Reagan.
In his 1984 speech, Jackson listed a few states, like Massachusetts, where Reagan’s margin of victory was relatively tight in 1980, to try to argue that, but for a little harder push, Democrats could have beaten him.
Americans voted in 1980 for change.
Reagan defeated Carter 44 states to six, with an Electoral College tally of 489 to 49. That’s what you call a blowout!
The former California governor ran primarily on economic issues, along with rebuilding the nation’s military and restoring the American spirit.
One of Reagan’s most defining lines leveled against Carter during the campaign came on Labor Day 1980.
“Well if its a definition he wants, I’ll give him one,” Reagan said. “A ‘recession’ is when your neighbor loses his job. A ‘depression’ is when you lose yours. ‘Recovery’ is when Jimmy Carter loses his.”
In the 1984 election, Reagan would go on to best Carter’s vice president, Walter Mondale, in one of the greatest landslides in U.S. history: 49 states to one.
Trump, of course, did not win 2016 in the same resounding fashion Reagan did in 1980, but he did carry 30 of the 50 states.
Trump may or may not do better this time around, but it seems prescient for Ocasio-Cortez to make the comparison, especially as former Vice President Joe Biden shapes up to be Trump’s likely rival.
Democrats are as lost in the wilderness now as they were in the 1980s in terms of providing realistic solutions that truly allow Americans to rise up and exercise their God-given talents to fulfill their dreams.
Here’s to four more years of Trump.
I believe the Gipper would approve.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.