Tuesday, July 03, 2018

How Will Alexandria Ocasio's Big Win Manifest Itself Inside And Outside The Democratic Party?


First some good news: bear with me for a second while I mention the results of the new Quinnipiac poll that came out yesterday. Democratic candidates running for House seats are 9 points ahead of Republican candidates in a generic ballot survey. 50% of voters said they would vote for the Democratic candidates and 41% said they'd vote for the Republican. Critically, 49% of independent voters said they would back the Democratic candidate, while just 35% said they'd vote for the Republican. If that holds and doesn't change by November, Democrats will take over the House and possibly the Senate.

Now some bad news: When you go to the polls in November, most of us will be offered a stark choice: vote for a right wing rubber stamp Trump enabler or vote for an ineffective establishment Democrat, either an incumbent or a challenger. It's too bad about those challengers. The overwhelming majority are pretty horrible-- just like the majority of the incumbents. In fact the terrible incumbents have a lot to do with picking the terrible challengers and they want them to be just like themselves. Yes, of course there are exception-- but that's exactly what they are: exceptions.

Whether positive or negative, the media has been loving putting 28 year old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the spotlight. She's smart and very telegenic... and the media doesn't have much to fixate on other than Trump, who's become a bit of a johnny one note and is getting kind of predictable, worn and boring. Yesterday, Lisa Mascaro had one of those wishful thinking reports for the Associated Press, Era of Resistance Defines New Generation of House Democrats. I wish but... gimme a break. The establishment almost always gets it's centrist way. There are very few like Ocasio winning-- and lot like her polar opposite: Blue Dogs, New Dems and other crap from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. Read the DCCC red to blue page. No Ocasio's; lots of garbage like Clarke Tucker (Blue Dog-AR), Ann Kirkpatrick (New Dem-AZ), Jason Crow (New Dem-CO) and Jeff Van Drew (Blue Dog-NJ). Let's take Crow. With very aggressive undermining of the progressive candidate-- Levi Tillemann-- including a robocall with a Bernie Sanders impersonator claiming he had endorsed Crow, the DCCC got their crap candidate over the finish line. Crow, an attorney, made his living representing pay day loan companies that prey on poor people. But that's all you get-- either Crow or the Trump enabler. Pick one!

Anyone like Ocasio on that DCC red-to-blue page? Not really. There are a few, a very few, solid progressives-- like Jared Golden (ME-02), Katie Porter (CA-45), Scott Wallace (PA-01), Susan Wild (PA-07), Lisa Brown (WA-05) and Randy Bryce (WI-01) but... that's it; and none of them are candidates the DCCC recruited or nurtured, just popular men and women they got "stuck" with. "Ready or not," wrote Madcaro, "change is coming to the House Democrats." Aside from that there always has been some change-- and candidate here a candidate there-- what change is she talking about? More than when Pramila Jayapal (WA), Alan Grayson (FL) or Ro Kanna (CA) were elected to Congress? "Across the country," she wrote, "a new generation is making its way to Washington. It’s not just that some of the Democrats, like 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are young and progressive. They are. Or that many are women entering politics who want to fight President Donald Trump. They do. Or even that some of them live in Trump country. They also come to politics steeped in an era of resistance and revolt, like the tea party Republicans who rose against President Barack Obama and the so-called Watergate babies elected after President Richard Nixon." Ummm... Poppycock! Count them on the fingers of one hand. One!

"If the newcomers provide the numbers to give Democrats control of the House, or even fall short and end up in the ranks of the minority, they will be a force to be reckoned with upon arrival. That holds especially true for Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the longtime House Democratic leader."

Unfortunately that VAST MAJORITY of "the newcomers" will have more in common with the old comers than with Ocasio. Let's hope Kaniela Ing and Randy Bryce win. That will help validate what the AP is reporting but most of the new comers will be... at most, better than the Republican they're replacing.

"There is a hunger for generational change, for a new generation of leadership," said freshman Rep. Ro Khanna of California. "I think we’re going to see some of the most impressive young people being elected across the country, and it’s going to be, in my view, an extraordinary class, like the Watergate Class." Ro's great and, in this case, he's probably incorrect. The DCCC has made sure that most of the new members will be the opposite of "impressive, the opposite of "extraordinary" and the opposite of progressive.

"Last Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez pulled off a stunning primary election romp in New York, toppling 10-term congressman Joe Crowley of Queens. He was once thought of as a possible successor to Pelosi, but has now become a symbol of how the party is being transformed in the Trump era." True-- and Kara Eastman did a similar thing in Omaha. The DCCC can't do anything to harm Ocasio, but they're undermining Eastman with all their might. Most of the other candidates who will face Republicans in November... blecchhhhh. Same ole same ole, nothing more. A new face, sure, but the same stale vomit.

There's still a chance some good candidates will win primaries, but the chances are long shots-- which is what Ocasio was-- but Ocasio won. Anti-Choice far right incumbent Blue Dog, Dan Lipinski, beat Marie Newman, his progressive challnger. Newman exemplifies what's par for the course far more than Ocasio, unfortunately. Ocasio is serving up hope and inspiration right now for other Berniecats still in the running-- Kaniela Ing in Honolulu, Sarah Smith in the Seattle suburbs, Tom Guild in Oklahoma City, James Thompson in Wichita, Rashida Tlaib in Detroit, Jess King in Lancaster, Brent Welder in Kansas City and a few others I'd bet that Lisa Mascaro has never heard of. Randy Bryce is likely to win his Wisconsin district. Others? Some. But enough to live up to live up to AP's report? I hope so, but I sure wouldn't bet on it.

Ro Khanna sounds very optimist. Maybe he's right and I'm wrong. "Tuesday was an incredible victory," he wrote to his supporters-- "but not just for Alexandria. Winning this primary was a win for progressive candidates nationwide that are willing to run on bold, unapologetic policies that fight for the wellbeing of the working class. It was a victory for volunteers and activists everywhere, who see that if you put in enough ground work, and engage the communities that our democracies are supposed to embolden, you can pull off the unthinkable. Alexandria’s victory is a win for the future of the Democratic Party... When Alexandria gets to Washington, I’m looking forward to working with her on a slate of progressive policies designed to ensure affordable housing, education, and healthcare for all-- and we’ll need as much support as we can get to defend them." Ro Khanna was the only member of Congress to have bucked the establishment and endorse Ocasio. And he's made a point of endorsing others the DCCC is ignoring as well. I wish he could talk some of his colleagues into being so courageous.

In Wisconsin the Cap Times put an interesting spin on a post yesterday. Lisa Pasque wrote that Like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Randy Bryce says he is an "everyday, working" candidate that can get voters excited. OK, but Bryce has been saying it for years now and certainly since the beginning of his campaign. Maybe Pasque should have phrased it "Like Randy Bryce, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she is an 'everyday, working' candidate that can get voters excited." Doesn't matter, though. They're both in it for the same reasons. "That’s what everyday candidates are trying to do, we’re trying to get that enthusiasm, get people to the polls," Bryce told Mike Gousha Sunday. "We’re one of them, we understand the struggles of everyday people." Bryce reminded him that he's also an advocate for Medicare for all, abolishing ICE, and supporting free state colleges.

Colin Bradford, a senior fellow at Brookings, isn't on a deadline or writing for a tabloid looking for clicks. His look at what Ocasio's win means makes a lot more sense. He wrote, also Monday morning, that Alexandria's "stunning victory in the primary race for New York’s fourteenth Congressional district heralds the rise of a political voice for the dignity of each individual. 'It is about championing the dignity of our neighbors,' she states on her website. Her victory is not only an upset of the Democratic establishment in the House-- it is potentially a transition to a new moment in American political discourse. Ocasio-Cortez’s emphasis on the dignity of each person is simultaneously a reaffirmation of the centrality of the individual, individual rights, liberty, and freedom in American political history as well as an embrace of a social fabric in which respect, trust, fairness, and responsibility loom large." I like it. And it's neither hysterical nor pie-in-the-sky.
America has long-championed individualism as the foundation of our democracy and the free market economy. Such values form not only the bedrock of conservativism, but also the pillars of the post-World War II global order, which is under assault from a backlash against globalization and the rise of populist nationalism, both here and abroad.

By highlighting individual dignity and the dignity of our neighbors, Ocasio-Cortez is advancing a new social value-- one which sees the individual as both a solitary being with certain inalienable rights and as a citizen and member of society. This duality could de-polarize American politics by introducing 21st century social values into today’s political discourse while upholding long-held individualist values.

The tension between individualist and communitarian values has fostered binary choices between American conservatives and liberals, the market and the state, right versus left, red versus blue, and “us” versus “them.” This dichotomy assumes a left to right continuum in which compromise in the middle is the modality for public choice. The idea of binary choices on the spectrum from left to right is threatening our democracy.

...What is at issue and more starkly evident in the 21st century is that the individual is vividly embedded in the social fabric and is connected with neighbors, near and far. This web of engagements and entanglements in our globalized era invites a new outlook, one that embraces complexity, contradiction, and conflicting viewpoints. Those with such open mindsets can adopt blended mixes of contrarian perspectives to reach inclusive agreements about the way forward rather than simplistic middle ground compromises.

The key is that Ocasio-Cortez founds her formulation on both the idea of the individual and social responsibility.

The truth is that individualist values of liberty, property rights, freedom and sovereignty worked well in the 20th century as the foundations of competition, free markets, democracy and the nation-state. Yet today, well into the 21st century, globalization in the broadest sense has penetrated and transformed our individual lives in ways that make clear our inter-connectedness.

Today, we need to add to these bedrock American principles new values that embody and honor this connectivity, including by upholding respect for others, fairness for all, trust in one another and a sense of personal (and mutual) responsibility. Adding these social values to the American political discourse would help prioritize actions that could achieve greater social mobility, public access, economic security, and systemic sustainability.

Goal ThermometerThese actions, which would seek blended, mixed economy, pluralistic approaches, could lead to better social outcomes from the market economy, greater social cohesion, more inclusive markets, less polarization, and greater effectiveness of policies, politics, and governance. These would restore confidence in markets, faith in institutions, and trust in government.

Thank you, Ocasio-Cortez for bringing America face-to-face with the new understanding we need and the new narrative required to transform American politics for the 21st century.
Amen! Now please check out that 2018 congressional thermometer on the right and remember how important it is, not just to shut down Trump, but to shut down conservatives and corporatists still working to take over the Democratic Party.

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At 5:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...about those challengers. The overwhelming majority are pretty horrible-- just like the majority of the incumbents."
"The establishment almost always gets it's centrist way." if by 'centrist', you mean fascist/Nazi... um... yeah.

Holy crap! kilobytes dedicated to 'splaining how the democraps are shit and will be shittier even if the BA slate wins... then pleas to support the BA slate.

"Getting hit with a bat hurts... so hit me with a bigger bat please"

"(Ocasio's) stunning victory in the primary race for New York’s fourteenth Congressional district heralds the rise of a political voice for the dignity of each individual."
It means no such thing. Her victory is PROBABLY simply the latino district preferring one of their own (and she *IS* telegenic, which never hurts in this shithole's celebrity-worship society). But it does not mean shit anywhere else. Drop her in AL or MS or KS and she's unelectable. Drop her in DC and she'd have to keep her hands low to prevent being groped by the ruling Nazis (the straight ones).

Nobody in DC gives one flying fuck about the dignity of each individual. Neither party has done one thing toward that meme in decades.

Rich white male individuals... ok. but not anyone else.

If she wins, she'll be firewalled along with Bryce and the others while Pelosi and scummer continue vacuuming up the money and repaying with favors. She and the other tiny minority (see first quote) will be ignored, shunned, impotent to affect any of their issues.

At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Party leaders still have plenty of time to torpedo any and all progressives no matter how many races they lose to the GOP. One wonders just what the going rate is for doing so per seat.

At 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember the prescient words of DWT hisself: "the 'craps would rather lose a winnable race than have a true progressive seated in the house"... or words to that effect.

Yes, I've been saying this since 2006. But DWT says it also. We're both correct. However only one of us can connect dots and discern the only effective way to fix this.

At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Until we stop voting for crap candidates, crap candidates will be what we get.

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:33, been sayin that for almost 40 years. I've extended your quote to say P A R T Y instead of candidate since the democraps passed the lege that led to 2008's crash.


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