To conservatives who laugh and say, “Go ahead, progressives, vote for the socialist,” I’d urge caution. Plenty of progressives said, “Go ahead, conservatives, vote for the guy with the arguably racist rhetoric.” As the old saying goes, who’s laughing now?
The greatest fear conservatives should have about Ocasio-Cortez is that she will normalize Marxism in a way that even Sanders never could have dreamed of. Sander’s socialism is also something of a different breed, one that at least nominally places value on individual rights. Ocasio-Cortez has not been clear about any fidelity to the Constitution and its protections. She may well believe in a central government that makes Sander’s vision look like an Ayn Rand novel.
As I learned in New Hampshire, what feels like several decades ago now, the appeal of Trump, Sanders, and Ocasio-Cortez is based less in a belief that they have the answers, and more in a belief that the status quo is broken beyond repair and we need something — anything — new. This is a dangerous attitude that makes little sense given the peace, prosperity, and wellbeing most Americans enjoy today.