Normally it wouldn’t even be a footnote to a story about a big House vote that a first-term backbencher chose to oppose her party’s bill. But this was no random bill; it was a bid by House Democrats to end the shutdown. And Ocasio-Cortez is no random member, needless to say. She’s already almost as well-known as Nancy Pelosi and she’s filling (or creating) a niche as the hardline progressive purist in the House willing to vote with the base against leadership, not unlike tea partiers on the right circa 2011. This is her biggest show vote yet.
But there will be more, and plenty of them will be useful to the right in showcasing the radicalism of the left to the voting public. I’ve made this point before but it bears repeating: Short-term and maybe long-term, she’s a bigger problem for Democrats than she is for Republicans.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the lone House Democrat to vote against a bill to fund and re-open the government on Wednesday because it funded Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which she supports abolishing…
“Most of our votes are pretty straightforward, but today was a tough/nuanced call,” she wrote in an Instagram story. “We didn’t vote with the party because one of the spending bills included ICE funding, and our community felt strongly about not funding that.”
A poll taken in July found the public split 25/54 against abolishing ICE. Another poll taken a month later found them 24/40 against. There’s hostility on the left to the agency, to be sure — we don’t call ’em the “open borders party” for nothing — with a plurality of Democrats (43/34) in favor of abolition in the first poll. But the fact that even Dems can’t get to 50 percent to dismantle America’s lead deportation agency, to say nothing of independents, tells you how eager Pelosi and Schumer must be to have AOC promoting this idea to her audience.
Although is Ocasio-Cortez pushing this on the left or is the left pushing this on her? She voted for other Democratic bills this month to re-open the government that would have funded ICE and heard grumbling afterwards. She’s in a sweet spot politically in commanding a large movement of populist ideological purists against the dreaded establishment, but that spot has its own headaches. If you’re going to be the base’s id, you need to fill that role 24/7. Start compromising and you’re just another politician who’s gone native.
Ask Trump, as that’s exactly the dilemma he’s facing right now with the shutdown. Or better yet, add that to the many parallels between POTUS and AOC:
A senior GOP source observing Ocasio-Cortez on Capitol Hill put it more bluntly: “They are the same f–ing person. Think about it.”
“She’s about the extremes of her party: free college, free health care, jobs for all. Trump is about being tough on borders and pro-life policies,” the source said. “They are the bases of their parties and the loudest voices of their parties.”…
“It’s a very fair comparison,” said one Democratic lawmaker, who is no fan of either Trump or AOC. “Some in [the media] are doing a disservice because you’ve lifted her to such heighty lofts. Here’s someone who’s never been in a legislative position or an executive position — that’s gonna cause her to fall. She’s 29 years old and has no concept of what being an effective legislator is all about.
“Let’s see who she gravitates to for president. Hopefully, she’ll want to run herself and get her ass out of here,” the lawmaker said just off the House floor.
A Twitter pal made me laugh with this graphic:
— Death to Tyrants 🐍 (@Death2Tyrants84) January 24, 2019
That’s not even a complete list. They both whine regularly about the media; they’re both thin-skinned and seem to believe “counterpunching” is always the right response to criticism; they both appear to view ideological opponents in the worst possible light, not just politically but as people. We should amend the Constitution so that she can run in 2020 and fully embrace the worst election in history. She could call for open borders forthrightly, Trump could debut Muslim Ban 2.0. Heighten the contradictions.