I’m not exactly a big fan of establishmentarian politics, but I do have a suggestion for those who want to change the system from within the system: If you go after your party establishment with both your hands in the air and a finger outstretched that isn’t your thumb, you also can’t go back and expect their help.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, for instance, is discovering why this isn’t a fantastic idea.
Even as he gathered momentum after Nevada, it was clear the Vermont socialist senator likely wasn’t going to get a majority of delegates. His take was that the Democratic National Convention should honor the candidate with the highest number of delegates and nominate that person. The superdelegates who might determine the nominee think otherwise, particularly because they loathe Sanders and what he stands for. Thus, if he doesn’t have enough delegates by the time he arrives in Milwaukee, he’s done.
A similar problem might be faced by Sanders’ younger comrade, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
Ocasio-Cortez may be the new, young face of the Democratic Party, but she too hasn’t endeared herself to the party firmament. Heck, she’s trying to primary several of them out of office. According to the New York Post, two of the seven House candidates her Courage to Change PAC will be supporting are challenging other Democrats. Justice Democrats, the group that got her elected and that she supports, are challenging even more incumbents in 2020.
And then there’s her low-level feud with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“[We don’t have a relationship] that’s I think distinguished from anyone else,” AOC said of Pelosi last summer. “Like, if there’s a legislative need, you know. The last time I kind of spoke to her one-on-one was when she asked me to join the Select Committee on Climate Change. … I said no.”
In the same interview, she said she felt that her committee assignments were unfair and she “wonder[ed] if they’re trying to keep me busy.”
Pelosi, of course, can give as good as she gets. “While there are people who have a large number of Twitter followers, what’s important is that we have large numbers of votes on the floor of the House,” she said last April, a clear swipe at Ocasio-Cortez.
But Pelosi is going to have to deal with her for the foreseeable future, right? Not necessarily. In fact, her seat could be redistricted out of existence by the same establishment figures Ocasio-Cortez has worked her hardest to alienate.
According to Politico, New York is one of 10 states on track to lose a seat in reapportionment after the 2020 Census is completed. Where does that seat get lost?
One suggestion, according to the editorial board of the Post, could be to phase out Ocasio-Cortez’s Bronx/Queens district.
The short editorial, published Feb. 23, mostly focused on AOC’s war on her own party.
“It’s time to elect a progressive majority in Congress accountable to strong, grassroots movements that push support for issues like Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, racial justice, & more,” she said in a tweet announcing Courage to Change’s first endorsements.
It’s time to elect a progressive majority in Congress accountable to strong, grassroots movements that push support for issues like Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, racial justice, & more.
It’s time to elect public servants with the Courage to Change: https://t.co/K6JXmCH2Vh
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 21, 2020
“While I think sometimes a lot of people see this as a huge amassing of influence or power or money or what have you, my personal experience does not feel that way — it can feel very lonely,” she said in an interview with The New York Times.
“I think my ambition right now is to be a little less lonely in Congress.”
“But she may not last in Congress: Already in hot water for refusing to pay dues to her caucus’ fundraising arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, she’s now devoting her resources instead to defeating Democrats,” the Post’s editorial read.
“Don’t be surprised when the established Democrats who’ll control redistricting after the 2020 Census do their best to eliminate her seat.”
Now, the question is what information the editorial board has to that effect. If lawmakers are telling the Post they will do that, AOC is in real trouble. If this is just a guess, there still could be trouble for her in 2022.
Granted, it would be difficult to eliminate a seat for one of the more popular members of the Democrat caucus. Difficult, but not necessarily impossible.
The reason is that the Democrat establishment has clearly tired of Ocasio-Cortez’s act. Sure, she may make great copy, but she’s also declared all-out war on the people who are running the very party she derives much of her power from. Remember: If she’d run against incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley as an independent, she’d have gotten creamed. Clearly, then, this is someone who’s biting the hand that feeds her.
If the district is eliminated, she could obviously run in the successor district — although it’d likely be a great deal more conventionally Democrat, not quite as radical as her current district is.
Now, will Ocasio-Cortez complain about what the establishment did? Absolutely. But you don’t take on the establishment without a plan as to how to effectively beat them, this is what you get.
Like Bernie Sanders, whom she has endorsed, she didn’t realize that you can’t attack them with everything you have while still expecting them to treat you with the utmost civility.
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