As difficult as it might be to imagine, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would not, in fact, be a “big improvement” over Chuck Schumer, not even from Donald Trump’s perspective. She would most certainly not beat the incumbent Senate Minority Leader, who might find himself the sudden recipient of some conservative support if this primary challenge ever came to pass. In fact, there’s at least some reason to suspect that Ocasio-Cortez might not be in position to challenge Schumer in the first place after November.
Count this as part of Trump’s ever-present trolling impulse, part of what makes him Twitter’s biggest asset:
Actually, that would be a big improvement – and she would win! https://t.co/EzmOjNtYJS
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2020
The idea of an AOC challenge to Schumer has floated around for a while, and apparently is still percolating — at least on Twitter:
The sacking of Rep. Joe Crowley two years ago and the prospect of giving Rep. Eliot L. Engel the boot Tuesday in the New York Democratic primary has far-left activists dreaming big about the future.
So big, in fact, that liberals are kicking around the idea that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could launch a 2022 primary challenge against a titan of the Democratic Party establishment: Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.
“Just going to say something out loud that should be obvious: The fastest way to speed up the process of changing the corrupt, do-nothing, status-quo-protecting culture of the national Democratic Party is for @AOC to defeat @ChuckSchumer in a Democratic primary in 2022,” David Sirota, a senior adviser to Sen. Bernard Sanders’ presidential campaign, recently said in a post on Twitter.
That might work … if all of the state of New York was AOC’s Brooklyn neighborhood. Outside of New York City, though, the state tends to run more center-rightish. They are less of a one-party state than California, for example, although they are trending in that direction. New York isn’t a hard-Left state yet, and AOC would likely get her clock cleaned if she tried to challenge Schumer. Crowley got caught napping about his constituency and got Eric Cantored for it; Schumer wouldn’t make that mistake.
As John Fund points out in his look at the 2020 primary, this time it might be AOC’s turn to get Eric Cantored:
Now, in Tuesday’s primary, AOC faces a moderate challenger who says it’s AOC who has become a distant figure to her poor Bronx and Queens constituents, one more interested in superstardom and her 7.3 million Twitter followers than in bringing jobs to the district.
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former business-news anchor on CNBC, says AOC should have backed Amazon’s proposed second headquarters in her district, with its 25,000 new jobs. Instead, AOC was the project’s loudest opponent, and she took credit for its demise in 2019.
“You voted against your community,” Caruso-Cabrera told AOC last week, during one of their few debates, noting that AOC is such a rigid ideologue that she was the only Democrat to vote against the Payroll Protection Plan, which includes funds for hospitals and COVID-19 testing. Caruso-Cabrera says that “Medicare for All is not the answer,” and she calls AOC’s Green New Deal “divisive policy.”
During their last debate she also accused the incumbent of being a “divisive” and “polarizing” figure within the Democratic Party — one who wouldn’t even commit to voting for Joe Biden in the fall.
Plus, there’s this development in the race:
Some kinda curious developments in #NY14: @AOC launched a negative ad on her primary opponent @MCaruso_Cabrera over the weekend, and MCC recently kicked her campaign $1 million of her own money. I'm NOT saying AOC is gonna lose, but interesting spending! https://t.co/Dt38y1ifbe pic.twitter.com/PF7X2lV23Q
— Zach Montellaro (@ZachMontellaro) June 22, 2020
It’s tough to knock out an incumbent in a primary challenge — not impossible, clearly, but not easy. Ocasio-Cortez hasn’t been napping, at least; as Fund notes, she has a 40-person staff and has raised a whopping $6.3 million in this race. However, the lost Amazon deal stings especially hard now in the COVID-19 crisis, where a center might have made up for a lot of lost jobs for furloughed retail workers. If voters remember that in NY-14 when they go to the polls tomorrow, AOC might not be in position to challenge for any statewide office in 2022, let alone Schumer’s Senate seat.
The last thing we need in the Senate is a Bernie Sanders clone anyway. So how would that be a “big improvement,” especially for a president who derides AOC’s socialism? It wouldn’t be, of course; Trump’s just trolling Schumer and having some fun. Let’s hope the last laugh isn’t on us, though.