Could Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., become the voice of the Democratic Party? Or will Party members begin to believe her three-initial moniker, AOC, stands for "all out crazy"?
The answer may likely depend on who wins the Democratic nomination in 2020 and whether that person can defeat President Trump. If the relatively moderate former Vice President Joe Biden, the choice of establishment Democrats, becomes the nominee and wins the general election, even the hard-left wing of his party will have to concede that electability may trump ideological purity.
If Biden or another mainstream Democratic loses to Trump, AOC will undoubtedly claim that the loss was the result of failing to nominate a “burn down the house down” candidate in the fashion of Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., or Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., either of whom may have motivated the base enough to tilt the balance.
A loss by a far left candidate to Trump would douse the AOC flame. Yet, were Sanders or Warren to become the next president, it would be AOC‘s party in Congress.
No matter the outcome in 2020, the Democratic Party will have to coexist with its two factions, just as Republicans had to do upon the advent of the Tea Party in 2009. That anti-Obama movement led to the rise of the Freedom Caucus. While their numbers are in the minority within the party, they have many times become the tail that wagged the dog, as when they blocked establishment Republicans from granting amnesty to illegal aliens.
Though unscientific, and conducted by an agenda driven entity, a poll released this week by the political action committee opposing AOC, showed that only 21 percent of individuals contacted in a door-to-door campaign rated AOC favorably.
Likewise, it’s unlikely AOC’s minions will secure a majority bloc within the Democratic Party. AOC gets the headlines, but in 2018, it was moderate Democrats, often with military backgrounds, not the AOC backed uber-leftists, who flipped purple suburban seats.
Yet, AOC’s wing will drag their more moderate brethren further to the left than these mainstreamers ever thought possible. They already fear her wrath as establishment Republicans fear Trump’s.
As rapidly ascending as AOC is, she must be careful that she doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the man she vanquished, Joseph Crowley, the would-be future Speaker of the House. Despite her unpopularity in the heartland, a Sienna poll showed AOC enjoyed an early honeymoon with favorability ratings at 52 percent within her district in March of this year.
But her over-the-top antics may be taking a toll back home. Though unscientific, and conducted by an agenda driven entity, a poll released this week by the political action committee opposing AOC, showed that only 21 percent of individuals contacted in a door-to-door campaign rated AOC favorably.
This informal poll shows at least an anecdotal vulnerability for AOC. Establishment Democrats under the leadership of Congressman Gregory Meeks, the new Queens County chair, could indeed initiate a stealth primary against AOC as a counter to her continuous threats of taking out fellow Democrats she believes have not consumed the socialist Kool-Aid.
According to radio personality and longtime observer of New York City politics, Curtis Sliwa, the path to defeating AOC lies in a partnership between older Irish working-class voters in the Sunnyside and Woodside parts of Queens, with Puerto Rican voters in the Bronx. Sliwa maintains that a mainstream Puerto Rican Democrat could siphon votes from AOC due to her policies, which, ironically, are harmful to the same working class for which she professes to speak.
Working class Puerto Ricans are not enamored by AOC’s obliteration of potential high wage Amazon jobs or how her Green New Deal will negatively impact their present positions, which may be dependent on non-renewable fuels. Moreover, says Sliwa, the average Puerto Rican is pro-law-enforcement, opposed to illegal immigration and against Puerto Rico independence, which is espoused by AOC.
Interestingly, AOC‘s largest chunks of donations come from outside her district, while her biggest bloc of voter support comes from white hipsters in upscale Astoria and Long Island City.
AOC is redefining the value of social media, including Instagram, and gaining swaths of young adoring fans in Illinois and California. But her reliance on viral constituent contact neglects to include the old dinosaur voters. Those may one day die off, but they are still alive enough for now to cast crucial votes.
At least one Puerto Rican Democrat’s name, New York's Bronx Councilman Fernando Cabrera, has been discussed as a possible primary opponent. Republicans have floated names that include Rich Valdes, who coined the "all out crazy" slogan, to wage a general election challenge.
Then again, no challenger will be necessary if party leaders maneuver to eliminate the AOC district to comply with their need to shrink the New York delegation after the 2020 census.
As AOC grabs national headlines in Trumpian fashion, she best stay tuned in to her district, or she'll suffer the same fate she bestowed upon her predecessor.