Is Axios kidding us, or is the Blogging Singularity only three years away? It might take that long to stock up on popcorn for all the passing that will ensue from a primary challenge by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez against Chuck Schumer. According to “top Democrat” sources, Mike Allen reports, expect Schumer to get targeted by the comic-book heroine in the next midterms:
Top Democrats tell “Axios on HBO” they expect Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may eventually primary one of the two New York senators — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in 2022, or Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2024.
Why it matters: AOC has instantly become one of the party’s most coveted endorsers (up there with Clintons and Obamas) — and has recently made common cause with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a pairing that could take off.
A Harris poll for “Axios on HBO” shows socialism is soaring in popularity, especially with women ages 18 to 54 (55%) and younger Americans.
That would be … wonderful. Can you imagine what that primary campaign would look like? Schumer would have to run to his left to squeeze out Ocasio-Cortez, and perhaps by that time answer for yet another electoral loss to “Cocaine Mitch” McConnell. AOC would attack Schumer over his lack of wokeness while Schumer dismantled AOC over her lack of basic comprehension. If New York had a Republican Party remaining that could win statewide elections, the fallout from such a primary fight could derail a safe Democratic seat for six years.
Alas, it’s not to be. Let’s be clear on this — no matter what “top Democrats” might think, there is absolutely zero chance that Ocasio-Cortez launches any meaningful primary against Schumer. That’s almost certainly true of Gillibrand too, unless she uses 2024 to run for president again. In that case, an open seat might be tempting for Ocasio-Cortez, much more so than taking on her party’s co-national leader. The party establishment won’t put up with it, and if they even get a hint that AOC’s plotting such a move, they’ll find a primary opponent for her House seat this year — which might happen anyway.
Ocasio-Cortez may not realize it, but she has the best of all worlds right now for a young socialist activist. Her NY-14 seat in Congress (Cook index: D+29) is safe as long as she doesn’t get primaried, and as one of 435 members, Ocasio-Cortez can act out as much as she likes without it mattering much. When she gets out over her skis intellectually or otherwise, she and her supporters can claim that the response is disproportional and therefore sexist, an argument that’s a bit tougher in the Senate.
Besides, “Cocaine Mitch” isn’t the only Senate leader with a reputation for ruthlessness. McConnell’s better at it, but don’t doubt for a moment that Schumer knows how to pull out the long knives. Ocasio-Cortez might want to win re-election at least once before considering a challenge to Schumer, and so might “top Democrats” apparently cheerleading the idea. AOC should notice that they’re not attaching their names to that project, which should be … instructive.