Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Congratulations to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old Democratic Socialist and former Bernie Sanders campaign staffer who defeated the #4 Democrat in the House, Joe Crowley, in a New York primary yesterday. It was an impressive win.

But will it, as The New York Times says, "reverberate across the party and the country"? Is Time's dire warning accurate?
The Democrats may have found a new rising star on Tuesday night, but adding a socialist to the Democratic caucus is unlikely to help the Midwestern Democrats’ efforts to pick off the 23 seats the party needs to capture the majority this fall.
In other words, are Democrats now in disarray? No.

Right -- Dave Brat beat Eric Cantor, then Republicans went on to sweep the 2014 midterms. Did Brat's win influence other elections? To pick one example, Maine voters who preferred the Republicanism of Susan Collins went on to vote for her in large numbers. She cruised to victory. Moderate GOP voters in Maine didn't say, "Well, I was planning to vote for Collins, but that Dave Brat in Virginia seems so radical." I'm sure most of them didn't even know who he was.

Midwestern Democrats are going to vote for Midwestern candidates. Hell, voters a few miles north of Ocasio-Cortez's district are going to vote their way as well. In New York's 19th district, where the House seat is currently held by Republican John Faso, the Bernieite candidate, Jeff Beals, finished fourth in the Democratic House primary; the winner in the district, which includes left-leaning Woodstock but also a number of rural, right-leaning small towns, was Antonio Delgado, a solid liberal who's far from radical. Local elections are, um, local.

Assuming that Ocasio-Cortez wins in November -- which is likely, because it's a solidly Democratic district -- the seriously lefty platform she ran on is now within the Overton window.

It doesn't make the entire Democratic Party a band of radicals -- fortunately or regrettably, depending on your point of view. But it helps move our political discussion to the left. Nothing wrong with that. But no, it doesn't change everything.

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