The Thinker: Rich Galen

  
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The Socialist Envelope

Rich Galen

Monday July 15, 2019

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  • I have a theory. Another theory. This theory goes:
    If, as a transformational figure, you want to stay in the national conversation, you have to keep expanding the rhetorical envelope.

    However, if you keep expanding the envelope, sooner or later it will tear open and your ideas will spill out and be lost.

  • All right, it may not have the elegance of E=MC2, but there you are.

  • The person who is currently running the risk of having her ideas spill out into the political universe is U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

  • Some background.

  • Ocasio-Cortez is better known by her initials, AOC, I think because no one can remember her name. When you consider she has been in public office for a total of 193 days, having famous initials is not such a bad benchmark.

  • AOC (it is also easier to type, which might have a lot to do with it) beat the incumbent, Joe Crowley in the 2018 primary.

  • As to that primary, according to the NY Times, AOC beat Crowley by 15 percentage points 57.5 - 42.5. Lost to the mists of political history is there were only about 27,600 votes cast so Crowley's loss was numerically less crushing than it was politically.

  • New York's 14th Congressional District, located in the Bronx, is heavily Democratic. According to the Cook Voter Index it is a +29 Democrat district. It happens to be next door to the MOST Democratic district in the nation, NY-15 which is, according to Charlie Cook's Index +44 Democratic.

  • In the 14th Democrats outnumber Republicans by about six to one, which happens to be just about the margin by which AOC beat her Republican opponent.

  • The reason for making that point is that, as Joe Biden has said, "She won a primary." There was no general election to speak of.

  • AOC and her posse - three other freshman women who have embraced the name "The Squad" - have garnered so much publicity that they have forced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) to, effectively, send them to a time out.

  • After Pelosi tagged them in a Democratic caucus meeting, saying that airing the family laundry in public Tweets was unacceptable. AOC responded in a WaPo interview saying of the Speaker's hand slapping:
    "It got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful ... the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color."

  • Thereby playing both the race card and the gender card in one turn.

  • This constant desire to be in the news is taking a toll - and might, according to a recent poll, cost Democrats their control of the House.

  • Over the weekend, Axios.com ran an article quoting senior House Democrats saying that "Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become a definitional face for the party with a crucial group of swing voters."

  • AOC will, doubtless, see this as continuing to advance her (and her Squad's) Socialist agenda.

  • But, the poll also shows that the voters who are most likely to see AOC as the face of the Dems are:
    "'White, non-college voters' who embraced Donald Trump in 2016 but are needed by Democrats in swing House districts."

  • According to the poll (which was taken in May before this current dust-up with Pelosi), "Ocasio-Cortez was recognized by 74% of voters" but only "22% had a favorable view."

  • Along those same lines, Socialism, among these voters "was viewed favorably by 18% of the voters and unfavorably by 69%."

  • In addition to Socialism, AOC and her Squad are battling against charges of anti-Semitism largely based on a Tweet by Squad member Ilhan Omar (D-Mn) that House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca) was under the influence of the pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC, because "It's all about the Benjamins, baby."

  • That Tweet has since been deleted and Omar had to apologize but it left the scent of anti-Semitism hanging over the Democratic caucus.

  • If Republicans were smart, they would continue to push AOC out in front of the rest of the House Democrats. They would make the point - especially to voters in those Districts that voted for Trump in 2016 but elected a Democrat to the House in 2018 - that AOC is the future of the Democratic party.

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would see that as success in her continuing to expand her envelope.

  • The other 234 House Democrats should be ducking for cover for when it explodes.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring Page today: AOC's Bio, Cook's Voter Index, the Axios piece on that poll, and the WaPo's interview with AOC.

    The Mullfoto is of another of those out-of-place street signs.

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