Some folks are comparing this upset to the defeat of Republican minority leader Eric Cantor in 2014 by Dave Brat in Virginia. There have been few other upsets that are a good comparison. Even Brat was not outspent 18 to 1 by his opponent, as Ocasio-Cortez was.
Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democrat Socialists of America, a far left group inside the Democrat party that champions the policies of Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders. For anyone who thinks socialism is not fundamental to the modern Democrat party, consider this primary result and the continuing successful insurgence of the Sanders wing. Others may call them progressives, but they are socialists and proud of it! And she with a capital “S” at that.
Ocasio-Cortez will almost certainly be going to Congress from this heavily Democrat district in Queens; Republicans have no chance. So, Democrats as a party have suffered no setback with her election, despite the loss of one old warhorse. Her election also suggests Pelosi will return to the speaker’s podium if the Democrats can wrestle control from Republicans.
From an image perspective, the modern Democrat party should be quick to embrace her. She provides a youthful counterpoint to a decrepit party dominated by the likes of Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Joe Biden and Sanders. So, the Democrats should put this socialist right out front.
And she’s already attuned to the drift – dare we say evolution? – of Democrat policy positions anyway. Big time.
Today’s Democrats embrace “free” college tuition, “free” healthcare, open borders and hatred of President Donald Trump. All of these are embodied in the fresh new face of Ocasio-Cortez, coupled with Old Man Sanders in the Senate. In fact, she as much as anyone has pioneered their effort to abolish the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Pelosi, Sanders, and Waters all want the same things the Democrat Socialists of America want. They’re just afraid of embracing the “socialist” title.
But the modern Democrat party looks old and tired when two of their leading candidates for president are pushing 80, those being Biden and Sanders. Sure, Trump is over 70, but running someone who is older than Trump in 2020 is likely to yield the same result as in 2016.
Republicans and others should understand that saying one is progressive is just slapping lipstick on a pig; it really means socialist. Socialist plus a few other things. The roots of socialism go far back and mean coercive collectivism, whether the harsh brutality of Karl Marx or the misguided good (but still coercive) intentions of those from a religious bent.
Progressivism is less than 150 years old, and means socialism plus at least the conceit that progressives are our enlightened betters who should rule us peons.
Of course, as Hillary Rodham Clinton said, “At this point, what difference does it make?”
As a practical matter, Democrats should own it all now with this fresh new face as a party leader. We’re sure Ms. Ocasio-Cortez will perform admirably. They believe she has the message they need to gather and hold the youth of this country.
So what if she alienates older Democrats who are just hanging on hoping their team starts eventually to tack back toward the center. It’s not going to happen, so Dems might as well finish kicking them out the door. Eventually, Dems think, those folks will all be replaced by the younger generation that’s been heavily indoctrinated by the education system to socialism, and they’ll soon prevail anyway.
And in ten to 20 years, they’ll be winning elections by landslides.
Unless people start looking up from their smartphones long enough to realize we’re losing the precious constitutional republic, rights, freedoms, prosperity and hope previous generations left us. For our children, for our future, we need to turn things around. That’s what we’re about.
Ron Knecht is Nevada Controller. James Smack is Deputy Controller.