The Democrats apparently didn’t learn any lessons from their defeat in the 2016 elections. Instead of realizing their defeat as the loss of politics as usual, they preferred to simply point the finger at pretty much anything else, from fake news to bigotry, to ignorance, to you name it. Corporate owned politics in the Democratic Party is now realizing another defeat as a millennial has managed to upset a major congressional election by defeating one of the Democratic Party’s finest, Joseph Crowley.
In cheating Bernie Sanders out of the Democratic nomination, the Democrats ensured that they would not get the needed support of voters who were sick of the political game that the Clinton’s had been playing for decades. Now, one of Sander’s campaign organizers has brought that back to haunt them by ensuring that the Democrats would reap what they had sown.
Danielle Ryan, over at RT, reports:
A 28-year-old socialist has shaken up New York politics and sent shockwaves through the Democratic Party by defeating 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley in the party’s congressional primary.
The political newcomer, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was working as a server in a New York restaurant just nine months ago, is a former volunteer for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign and comes from a Puerto Rican family. She won the primary with 57.5 percent of the vote in a largely ethnic-minority district.
Crowley, an establishment Democrat, who had been whispered about as a future leader of the party, had not faced a challenger from the left in 14 years — and his defeat will surely have come as a major shock.
This is the start of a movement.
Thank you all.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) June 27, 2018
In fact, Crowley was so assured of his victory that he made what was perhaps his fatal mistake: He skipped two debates with the millennial candidate and on one occasion sent a surrogate in his place — moves which came across, naturally, as arrogant snubs to both his opponent and to voters.
Since the defeat of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, progressives in the Democratic party — and outside it — have warned that this kind of complacency would hurt the party in the long run. They argued that the party needed to put forward more truly progressive candidates if it wanted to regain control of the House of Representatives in the November midterm elections.
Impervious to common sense and unwilling to learn the lessons from Clinton’s loss, the top dogs in the Democratic party were still reluctant to listen. In April, a secret recording was leaked, of House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer telling progressive candidate Levi Tillemann, who was running in Colorado’s Sixth District, that he should get out of the race to make room for Jason Crow, the candidate favored by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Tillemann ended up losing his primary to Crow, but the real lesson for Democrats is in New York.
“No one is safe,” one Dem strategist tells ABC News in response to Crowley loss. https://t.co/RovnwqVtYQ
— Ben Siegel (@benyc) June 27, 2018
Ocasio-Cortez’s victory sends a resounding message to the Democratic establishment: Progressives are demanding change — and the party can’t afford not to listen to them.
The Sanders-style Democrat ran on a socialist platform far to the left of Crowley. Her policies included abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), medicare for all, free university education, criminal justice reform, and a federal jobs guarantee.
She also challenged the conventional wisdom that Democrats need to take massive donations from corporations in order to win. She took no corporate donations. Instead, she managed to raise more small donations than any other congressional candidate in New York, which allowed her to campaign sincerely on a platform for economic justice, while exposing Crowley as a centrist who does not represent real change.
Ocasio-Cortez’s victory should be seen as a test for Democrats. Are they, finally, willing to learn the lessons from Clinton’s defeat and the growing movement towards real progressive politics — or will they bury their heads in the sand?
The triumph of a 28-year-old socialist against one of the top figures in the Democratic party should be a wakeup call. It’s time for Democrats to ask themselves what could have been if they had had the foresight to nominate a likeable, less-divisive and more progressive candidate to run against Trump in 2016. Surely it is beginning to dawn on them that doing everything in their power to thwart Sanders and rig the primary against him was akin to shooting themselves in the foot.
Ocasio-Cortez will face off against Republican candidate Anthony Pappas in the November midterm elections and, if she wins, she will become the youngest woman ever to be elected to the US Congress.
But that’s not the only thing that is being upset by Ocasio-Cortez’s victory in New York. American foreign policy is witnessing its unpopularity amidst America’s growing number of Democratic Socialists and largest demographic, the millennials, who are not quite as beholding to politically driven ideologies as lens through which to perceive the world, tend to look at the situation as it is. Take Israel’s recent genocidal behaviour in Gaza, for example. Israel came out guns blazing, literally, shooting unarmed protesters, journalists, and nurses and millennials like Ocasio-Cortez are calling it what it is, a massacre.
The Jerusalem Post reports:
WASHINGTON — A 28-year-old progressive Democrat and former organizer for Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid ousted a ten-term party boss from his perch in Congress on Tuesday, touting a new era in Democratic politics that would shift the party, in her image, sharply to the left.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Joseph Crowley in the Tuesday primary race in New York’s 14th Congressional District by campaigning largely on radical changes to immigration and welfare policy, such as abolishing US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and securing Medicare and federal jobs for all. Crowley has been Chair of the House Democratic Caucus since 2017.
But she drew attention from foreign policy circles upon her upset victory for a single tweet on Israel she published during her campaign, in which she characterized the killing of over 60 Palestinians on the Gazan border last month as a “massacre” and demanded congressional attention.
This is a massacre.
I hope my peers have the moral courage to call it such.
No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters. There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else.
Democrats can’t be silent about this anymore. https://t.co/wJGATOtDsR
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) May 14, 2018
In an interview with Glenn Greenwald, a pundit with the Intercept, conducted earlier this month, Ocasio-Cortez explained her position in greater detail. Greenwald opened the discussion referring to “peaceful, unarmed protesters” killed on the Gaza-Israel border in the mid-May protests, although Israel and Hamas both note that 50 of the 62 killed were members of Hamas– categorized by Western governments as a terrorist organization– and were attempting to breach the border.
“My background is as an educator, an organizer and an activist. And I think I was primarily compelled on moral grounds, because I can only imagine if 60 people were shot and killed in Ferguson, or if 60 people were shot in killed in the West Virginia teacher strikes,” Ocasio-Cortez said, referring to civil rights and labor rights protests held in the US in recent years. “The idea that we are not supposed to talk about people dying when they are engaging in political expression just really moved me. And running for office, seeing ,like, the silence around this issue, has been a little interesting to me.”
Ocasio-Cortez noted that her family is Puerto Rican, a US territory “that is granted no rights or civic representation,” she said. “If 60 people were shot in protest of the United States’ negligence in FEMA and kind of keeping us on that island, I couldn’t even imagine if there was silence on that,” she added, referencing the slow federal response to devastation wrought to the island after Hurricane Maria hit last year.
The Democratic candidate also noted the diversity of her congressional district, and said that many Jewish and Muslim constituents had thanked her for the stance she took on Twitter. According to the Berman Jewish Data Bank, a project of the Jewish Federations of North America, roughly 29,000 Jewish residents live in the district– or 4% of the district population..
“People say in New York City this is political suicide, and so on, but I had a lot of my own constituents thanking me for taking that position,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “I think that in the same lens that I looked at it, people, I think, are separating the actions and the status of the Palestinians from the greater geopolitics of the area. I think people are starting to just look at the humanitarian state of the Palestinian people through a humanitarian lens.”
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez’s former boss, has taken similarly hard lines against the Israeli government. He referred the violence in May, around the Palestinian commemoration of the “disaster” (Nakba) of Israel’s birth and the opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, as a “tragic overreaction” by the IDF.
At the time, Sanders said the solution was a US-led response to the growing humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip, currently controlled by Hamas.
“I don’t even see this as a political issue, especially through the frame of that one incident, and especially coming from the background of an activist,” Ocasio-Cortez added in her interview with Greenwald. “I just think that we need to talk about these things, and we need to talk about the basic humanitarian rights that should be afforded to all people, including the freedom of political expression.”
That’s not the same political rhetoric that the Israel lobby has been circulating in Washington. As far as the traditional right and left are concerned, protesters were protesting and the bullets just came and the casualties just happened, as if the Israelis, who were claiming that they knew just where every one of their bullets was landing, had nothing to do with those killings.
As the millennials finally gain a foothold in American society, lots of things are going to be changing, including politics, and Ocasio-Cortez is showing how that happens in way that is going to require some political adjustment. Maybe it’s all that avocado toast and kombucha that millennials are into.