Great news for the GOP and RNC, that is. This comes from a Sunday morning conversation between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and CNN’s Jake Tapper caught by our colleague and pal Guy Benson at Townhall today, in which the progressive firebrand pledged to personally campaign in Georgia in the senatorial runoff elections. Ocasio-Cortez wants to personally explain that Democrats shouldn’t need to talk to nasty Republicans while governing the country, or something:
TAPPER: Biden is planning a wave of executive orders to roll back some of Trump’s policies once he takes office, on everything from climate to the so-called Muslim ban. As of now, however, it looks as though Republicans, at least until January, will hold control of the Senate. That’s going to complicate your desire and the desire of other progressives for bold, sweeping, progressive legislation.
I mean, theoretically, you can pass anything you want in the House, but it doesn’t matter if it goes to die in the Senate. How are you going to negotiate that? Are you going to work with more moderate Senate Republicans to try to pass something in the House that can get through the Senate?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I’m going to be spending my next couple of months doing everything that I can to extend help and offer support to the work of fantastic leaders that we just heard from like Stacey Abrams to make sure that we don’t have a Republican Senate majority, that we win these races in Georgia, that we secure a Democratic Senate majority, so that we don’t have to negotiate in that way.
Yes, that will be a winning message … in a red state where both senatorial campaigns got more Republican votes than Democrat, and underperformed Joe Biden in both cases. Both Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have tried dodging progressive agenda items and connections to the left wing of the party in the general election. Nothing would help David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler more than having Ocasio-Cortez on the stump in Georgia explaining how electing Ossoff and Warnock would enable a leftist takeover in Washington DC.
Can we raise funds to make sure AOC sticks around the entire seven weeks?
Actually, Loeffler’s already on the case:
— Kelly Loeffler (@KLoeffler) November 10, 2020
We’re not the only people wondering what color the sky is in Ocasio-Cortez’ version of political reality. Politico’s John Harris asks today, “What planet is AOC on?”
Ocasio-Cortez, on some occasions, counts as one of the party’s freshest and most-appealing new voices. Her sour interview Saturday with the Times’ Astead W. Herndon was not one of these occasions. She said moderate lawmakers who blamed the left for losing their seats or having uncomfortably close calls have only themselves to blame for being “sitting ducks.” She plausibly asserted that she knows a lot more than most members about effective use of social media. She implausibly suggested that if more members had used Facebook effectively, and accepted her help when she was practically begging to give it, the Democrats could have avoided the losses which leave Pelosi clinging to a narrow majority. “Every single [member] that rejected my help is losing,” she complained, “and now they’re blaming us for the loss.” She gets so frustrated by the lack of support from fellow Democrats, she said, that she considered not running for reelection.
Self-referential commentary is hardly unusual for a politician of any stripe or any generation. More striking about AOC’s interview was that she sounded less like a political visionary and more like a campaign operative, boasting for reporters at some hotel bar as last call nears. This from the primary sponsor of the Green New Deal? This is the transformative future of the Democratic Party?
In its own way the interview was emblematic of Democrats’ larger post-2020 challenge. It was often said that this election was about “mobilization” — stimulating turnout among people whose minds are made up — rather than “persuasion,” growing the pool of potential supporters through arguments to people whose minds are open. True enough. There has never been a better mobilization politician, or one whose style left fewer open minds in his wake, than Donald Trump.
But 2020 showed the limits of mobilization politics. There is a near-term problem, and a long-term one.
Indeed. In fact, this is one of the highest-turnout elections in decades in terms of percentage of the voting-age population as well as sheer numbers. And yet, counterintuitively, that favored Republicans in this cycle, at least those not named Trump. Mobilization is one part of politics, but only a part. Negotiation and persuasion are also key, and it’s clear that AOC is on another planet when it comes to those components.