Democrats may be on the verge of throwing away an election they could easily win, the Associated Press warns this morning. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may do a victory lap for her win over Amazon in New York, but the leftward drift of the party has turned into a full stampede. In doing so, they risk not just electoral loss but also significant economic damage to the communities they claim to champion — as even some Democrats point out:
On Thursday, newly-elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led a chorus of cheers as Amazon announced it was abandoning plans to build a sought-after headquarters in New York City. Activists berated the online giant for a $3 billion package of tax breaks she said the city could better invest in hiring teachers or fixing the subway.
This is not the Democratic Party of yesteryear. Or even last year.
“The Amazon New York fight is an illustration of how power is moving to the left,” said Ben Wikler, of the liberal group MoveOn. “One of the world’s most powerful organizations doesn’t want to pick a fight with progressive activists.”
As the liberal flank celebrates its sudden ascendance in the party, energized by the new House freshmen pushing the party toward bold policy solutions, others wonder if the Democrats are veering so far left they’re about to fall off a cliff. …
The big questions for 2020: Will Democrats move beyond the center-left policies that have dominated the party since Bill Clinton’s presidency? And if so, will they find the electorate is repelled, as Republicans claim, or will they discover that a country long described as “center-right” is receptive to a return to liberalism?
Not liberalism, but progressivism bordering on outright socialism. There is a difference between the two. The Clintonian, Democratic Leadership Conference-esque navigation of policy relied significantly on the former while keeping the latter at bay. Democrats did well with that strategy; they ran aground when they got too aggressively progressive after the 2008 election. They went all-in on ObamaCare rather than taking a more incremental, free-market approach to health-care reform, and ended up destroying the party for a decade because of it. Their House win was more due to Donald Trump than a resurgence of support for a progressive agenda.
The main quality of the progressive agenda being pushed by Ocasio-Cortez is knee-jerk nihilism — the unthinking destruction of the status quo for destruction’s own sake. Even the win over Amazon is more evidence of progressivism’s nihilism than its sustainability. Ocasio-Cortez may be dancing on the grave of 25,000 jobs in Queens, but even her fellow Democrats in New York understand what actually happened. She didn’t save New Yorkers tax money — she likely cost them millions in tax revenue:
This may be the most economically ignorant statement I have ver read. https://t.co/6iURWXEaq9
— Steven Rattner (@SteveRattner) February 15, 2019
Rattner was one of Barack Obama’s economic advisers and now manages Michael Bloomberg’s assets. Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget explains at a bit more length:
Yes, except there IS a “bad guy” here. The NYC politicians who apparently don’t understand how tax subsidies work. (NYC would not have “paid Amazon $3B.” We would have collected gigantic pots of tax revenue, as well as the spending power of 25,000 well-employed people.) https://t.co/Xz8J33HQ5k
— Henry Blodget (@hblodget) February 15, 2019
If one wants to see the epitome of progressivism’s nihilism, look no further than Ocasio-Cortez’ Green New Deal. It explicitly calls for the elimination of our current energy industry, the airline industry, and the reworking of every building in the country to fit its still-TBD standards.
Veronique de Rugy deconstructs the deconstruction of the GND at Reason. “In attempting to be all things to everyone,” Peter Suderman asks, “would the Green New Deal end up being nothing to anyone?” Nothingness is its main draw. The only connecting thread between all of the disparate elements of the GND is destruction of the status quo.